Shinjuku gyoen National Garden
On Saturday, April 8, 2017 I visited Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden near Shinjuku Station for the first time in 26-years. My local subway line, the Marunouchi Line, has a stop called "Shinjukugyoenmae," or "in front of Shinjuku park." So it was easy to reach from my home. Admission is still just 200-yen/adult, exactly as it was 26-years ago. I had time, I had the money, and I had the disposition to revisit it, so I did.
The park is a prime urban cherry blossom-viewing area, and although yesterday's weather was not especially good - cloudy and damp from the previous night's light rain - many people were out. I missed cherry blossoms last year, in 2016, because I travelled to Canada right at that time, so this year I am pushing myself to take as many pictures as I can and even to do something I haven't done in - well, in 26-years.
The park has three main sections 1) a traditional Japanese rock-and-pond garden; 2) a classical French Rose Garden; and, 3) and English landscape garden. It is quite huge and involves a lot of walking if you want to see everything. Like many of the large parks in the capital, the land used to be the private estate of one of the old Tokugawa Shogunate feudal lords ("daimyo"). In this case it was the property of a noble family called Naito. After the Meiji Restoration (1867) the house and its grounds were converted into an experimental agricultural center. It then became a botanical garden before becoming an imperial garden in 1879. The current configuration of the garden was completed in 1906. Most of the garden was destroyed by air raids in 1945, during the later stages of World War II. The garden was rebuilt after the war.
Maps and pamphlets are available in Japanese, English, Korean and Chinese.