We both love a good park and one judge of a city for us is the easy access to some green space. With Tokyo, we were not disappointed. As we mentioned in our first post, we visited Hama Rikyu gardens near Tsukiji on our first full day (see Tokyo – part one). On our third day in Tokyo, we visited Yoyogi Park and the Meiji Shrine and timed it on a weekend and a day when there were several Shinto weddings taking place. The park itself is relatively new (established in 1967) but the shrine was created between 1915-1920 to honor the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. Take the metro to Shibuya.
The next day, and on our last day, we tooled around the Imperial Palace Grounds and the Imperial Palace East gardens (admission free). You cannot see much of the actual palace grounds, unless invited in by the Emperor of course, but it is worth checking out both. The lily garden in the east garden is beautiful. Take the metro or train to Tokyo station.
Our last major park tour was on our last day in Tokyo. We went to Ueno Park and the Tokyo National Museum. On the south end of the park is Shinobazu Pond. We were late for the cherry blossoms and early for the lotuses, but it was cool nonetheless. We were there on a Wednesday but imagine it is crazy on a weekend. We also stopped by the Saigo Takimori statue, unveiled in 1898, he was a powerful shogun and is pictured in his kimono walking his dog – a nod to dog lovers internationally.
The Tokyo National Museum does a nice job of exhibiting Japanese art from many periods without overdoing it in the Honkan building. We also checked out the Toyokan building which has art and relics from across Asia from the Middle East, (Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Egypt), through India, Thailand, Cambodia and China. Check out the mummy from the 1st century B.C. and many other fascinating artworks from even farther back in history. This was one of our favorite things we did.
Access all from the Ueno stops on the metro or train or enjoy the anime and craziness of a walk through Akihabara first.
Our favorite park of all was in our first neighborhood near the Roppongi Hills. At risk of overpopulating it, we just loved morning strolls through Arisugawanomiya Memorial Park. Probably not worth a special trip because of its size, however if you are near the Ebisu or Roppongi stations, check it out.