Rikugien Garden, Tokyo
Contrary to what my photos may lead you to believe, Rikugien Garden is widely considered to be the most beautiful of all the landscape gardens in Tokyo. The lakes, trees, bridges, and tea house make a stroll through Rikugien absolutely lovely, especially in the fall. What sets Rikugien apart from the numerous gardens and parks found in Tokyo though, is its Fujishirotoge view point that is found atop a massive hill. This gives you an unparalleled view of the park that is absolutely stunning. Unfortunately, the day I visited was less than ideal, but you should still get a good sense of how beautiful Rikugien Garden truly is.
Rikugien Garden History
Rikugien (六義園), literally meaning six poem garden, was constructed in the early 1700s by the 5th Tokugawa Shogun. It was designed by Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu to embody 88 different scenes from Waka styled poetry. Rikugien was largely ignored the years following Yanagisawa’s death and it was not until 1878 that the garden was restored. Later in 1938 the park was donated to the Tokyo City Government and gradually became the tourist attraction it is today.
Rikugien Garden Attractions
From the very start of your Rikugien experience, you will know that this landscape garden is a bit different than the rest. Like most landscape gardens, Rikugien is centered around one massive lake, however the lake is quickly forgotten once you enter into its surrounding woods. Rikugien’s woods are deep and give off a sense of escape. It is almost as if you’ve left the city completely. There are nice streams, bridges, and several rest stops to take a breather and just enjoy the atmosphere. Perfect for the nature lovers out there.
As you continue through the wooded paths, you will find more and more streams heading to the main lake. Even better is that with those streams, you also find bridges. One of my favorite aspects about Rikugien is its varying bridges. Rikugien’s paths take you over stone step bridges, tall arching wood bridges, and even a very interest stone bridge that zigzags over the water. The bridges add for a nice change of pace and some spectacular photo opportunities.
Like most landscape gardens, Rikugien also has a tea house where you can sit down and enjoy a cup of tea. The Fukiage Chaya tea house sits on the edge of the lake and offers a phenomenal view of the garden from the comfort of a nice cozy bench. The tea will cost you ¥500 and comes with a traditional sweet. Sitting out almost on the water, the tea house is a bit exposed to the wind, so be careful of your loose paper as you sip your tea.
Easily the best part of the Rikugien experience though is the Fujishirotoge Hill that elevates you above the trees and gives you a spectacular vantage point of the park. You can see the entire lake from atop this hill as well as some of its surrounding paths. Aspiring photographers, this is where you will want to set up shop. The view from the Fujishirotoge is wonderful year round, but is absolutely the place to be during the fall colors.
What You Need to Know
- Admission: ¥300
- Hours: 9:00 – 17:00 (Hours extended in the fall and cherry blossom seasons)
- Directions: A ten minute walk from Komagome station
For More Parks in Tokyo