Kyu Shiba-rikyu Garden Hamamatsucho

An urban oasis & a birdwatcher's delight

By Jasper Wilkins    - 3 min read

Kyu Shiba Rikyu Garden is one of two gardens surviving from the Edo period (1603–1868) and has been considered one of the most beautiful gardens in Tokyo. Throughout history various families have owned this garden but it is now available to visit for the public. There are various park benches and shelters situated around the park for visitors to sit and ponder.

In 1979 it was ‘granted a nationally significant scenic and historical treasure’ and it’s not hard to understand why, this park is a serene quiet escape from Tokyo, filled with Japanese Black Pine and Camphor trees. The park is open from 9 until 5 every day and costs 150 yen to enter, which in my opinion is worth the money. The garden is immaculately maintained and the entrance staff are friendly with a basic level of English.

I walked through the busy streets of Hamamatsucho at rush hour and was presently surprised to enter this peaceful garden. Next to the entrance is a cloak room, where they offered to keep hold of my large backpack in the office and gave me a token to get it on the way out. During my time in the park I only witnessed two or three people enter but I imagine it gets busier depending on what time of the day you go.

I spent just over an hour at this park admiring its natural beauty but I would recommend spending half a day here or meet up with friends. Although the pond used to have seawater from the days when it was situated next to the beach, it is now fresh water, a hill called Oyama is located south of the pond which allows you to view the whole park. The design was inspired from West Lake in Hangzhou, though there are many Japanese elements, such as the dried stone gardens. Various fish roam the pond and some of the wildlife includes spotbills, carps, and pochards; it is wonderful to have such diverse wildlife in central Tokyo.

The skyscrapers in the foreground demonstrate the juxtaposition between modern Tokyo and how the land may once have been in the not so recent past. Tokyo is one of the biggest cities in the world but it is filled with stunning parks like this offering a quiet, relaxing escape. This park is right next to Hamamatsucho station and a few minutes walk to The World Trade Center, Tokyo.

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Jasper Wilkins

Jasper Wilkins @jasper.wilkins

I currently study Media & Cultural studies at London College Of Communication and have previously worked in America as a photojournalist. I have a passion for story telling and travel. The Japanese culture interests me and I am excited to start taking photographs and videos. 

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Mandy Bartok 4 years ago
In the spring, this garden has a beautiful wisteria trellis that blooms for about two weeks. It's the only time I've ever seen this garden have more than a handful of people in it!