Sights to See

One of the representative early Edo gardens, Kyu-Shibarikyu Gardens, radiates with tradition and serenity. Nature surrounds every inch of the garden, especially during the spring month when cherry blossoms bloom and decorate the premises. Placed in the very much accessible Hamamatsucho area, Kyu-Shibarikyu Gardens provides a convenient traditional haven at just a train ride away.


The Pond of Kyu-Shibarikyu

The pond

During the 1650s, the current Kyu-Shibarikyu Gardens area was reclaimed and later given to Okubo Tadatomo, a loyal member of the shogun Tokugawa Ietsuna’s elder council. Okubo, who ruled the Odawara domain (in current Kanagawa prefecture), hired a renowned gardener from the Odawara domain and named it “Rakujuen”. In the 1800s, the garden ended up in the hands of the Kishu branch of the Tokugawa Family as a residence.

In 1871, after the end of the Edo era (1603 – 1868), the garden became the property of the Arisugawa-no-miya imperial family. Shortly after, the Ministry of Imperial Household bought the land, and renamed the gardens Shibarikyu.

The Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923 destroyed most of the trees and buildings, but the following year, it was donated to the City of Tokyo, restored and opened to the public. The Japanese government designated Kyu-Shibarikyu Gardens as a spot of scenic beauty and special historic interest.

Inside the Gardens

Here's an introduction to the sights to see at Shibarikyu.

Sensui – 泉水

The pond and the bridge in Kyu-Shibarikyu Gardens

The pond, or sensui, in Kyu-Shibarikyu

Kyu-Shibarikyu Gardens is made in kaiyuu-shiki style, with a pond in the middle. The pond, called “sensui” in Japanese, used to contain saltwater drawn from the ocean. Depending on the tide, the scenery would change drastically, creating a walkway between the two islands during low tides.

Stone Arangements - 石組

Stone arrangements in Kyu-Shibarikyu Gardens

Stone arrangements

The carefully arranged stones and the rest of the garden come together to create the poised atmosphere at Kyu-Shibarikyu Gardens. Okubo Tadamoto carefully chose the materials used in the garden, including the Nebukawa stones he had delivered from Odawara and Kuroboku stones from Fuji. The stone arrangement on Nakajima models Mount Penglai, a mythological Chinese mountain that is said to be home to religious hermits. The kare-taki, or dried waterfall, is a rock arrangement depicting the flow of a waterfall.

View of the Nebukawa Stone

Nebukawa Stone

Seiko no Tsutsumi - 西湖の堤

 Seiko no Tsutsumi

Seiko no Tsutsumi

Seiko no Tsutsumi, in the Northern area of the pond, is inspired by the West Lake, or Xi Hu, in China. The embankment is entirely made of stone. This area is widely referenced in Japanese poetries like haiku.

Archery Field - 弓道場

The Archery Field at the Northern end of the gardens is available for public use, although you must bring your own equipment.
・Fees: ¥140 / hour
*Closed on Monday mornings


Sakura Recital - 桜の演奏会 (April)

The cherry blossoms at Kyu-Shibarikyu Gardens

The cherry blossoms at Kyu-Shibarikyu Gardens

When cherry blossom season approaches Kyu-Shibarikyu gardens, the Sakura Recital is held. Cherry blossom theme songs are performed with Japanese instruments, under someiyoshino and oshima-sakura cherry blossom trees and in front of the wisteria trellis. Traditional Japanese instruments such as the kozutsumi and niko are used in these performances. The event is free of charge.


Nearest stations:
・Hamamatsucho Station 浜松町駅 (JR Yamanote Line JY28/Keihin Tohoku Line JK23)
・Daimon Station 大門駅 (Toei Asakusa A09/Oedo Line 20)

From Shinjuku Station 新宿駅

【Shinjuku Sta.】Toei Oedo Line / for Roppongi/Daimon
→【Daimon Sta.】from Exit B2 → about a 2-minute walk

From Tokyo Station 東京駅

【Tokyo Sta.】JR Yamanote Line / for Shinagawa
→【JR Hamamatsucho Sta.】from the North Exit → about a 1-minute walk

From Narita Airport 成田空港

【Narita Airport Sta.】Tokyo Shuttle / for Shinonome-shako
→【Tokyo Sta.】JR Yamanote Line / for Shinagawa
→【JR Hamamatsucho Sta.】from the North Exit → about a 1-minute walk

From Haneda Airport 羽田空港

【Haneda Airport Sta.】Tokyo Monorail / for Hamamatsucho
→【Hamamatsucho Sta.】from the North Exit → about a 1-minute walk


1-4-1 Kaigan, Minato-ku, Tokyo 
9:00a.m. - 5:00p.m (last entry at 4:30p.m.)
Dec. 29 - Jan. 3
General: ¥150
65 and older: ¥70

*Free for elementary and junior high school students residing in or attending school in Tokyo

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