You may have heard of parks in Tokyo such as Yoyogi and Ueno Park, but there are almost endless options for places to visit depending on what sort of environment you are looking for.
Hamarikyu garden in Shimbashi offers a calm, relaxing environment in all seasons.
The garden can be accessed from Shimbashi station (JR Yamanote Line, Ginza or Asakusa subway lines). It is around a 15 minute walk.
There is a moat surrounding the garden. This is a feature remaining from when the garden was a villa belonging to the military commander during the Edo period.
As you can see in the picture above, it was quite cloudy. There were a few drops of rain but we were lucky it didn’t rain hard. As the garden is very open with only a few shelters, I wouldn’t recommend it on a day with forecast rain.
As I went during long holiday in Japan, the golden was quite full of locals as well as tourists from overseas.
The maps were offered in English, Korean, Simplified and Traditional Chinese as well as Japanese. The map even marks out where and what flowers bloom in each season. Entrance was a very reasonable 300 yen.
Although many of the parks in Tokyo are popular for picnics and lunch spots, the peaceful environment of Hamarikyu is more suited for a morning or afternoon stroll.
After walking around and taking photos, we were ready to a rest. There are a few different teahouses inside the garden.
We went to what seemed like the largest and most popular. There were two sets available on the menu, both of which included freshly whisked maccha green tea. I had the one with manju (a bun filled with red bean paste) and one of my friends had the seasonal sweet, which was beautifully presented and shaped like flower petals.
The stick you can see in the picture are used to cut the sweets into small pieces and eat them. As the tea is drunk with no sugar and may be quite bitter on its own, the sweets are eaten before drinking the tea so you don’t taste the bitterness.
Although some teahouses are very strict about how to sit and drink, this one had a relaxed atmosphere where you can rest your legs and talk with your friends or family.
After a morning at the garden, it was time to stop for lunch. There is a huge variety of ramen and soba restaurants around Shimbashi station so you can fill up before heading to the next destination. If you’re looking for something to do in the area, Tokyo Tower is only 2 km away and can be reached on foot or via the Asakusa subway line (getting off at Daimon station).