History of Rikugien Garden
Sights to See at Rikugien Garden

Rikugien Gardens, acknowledged as one of Tokyo’s most beautiful gardens, nestles in the tranquil Bunkyo ward. Spring at Rikugien flaunts an exquisite soft pink of the weeping cherry tree, while autumn garnishes the gardens with rich crimsons and golds. Not too spacious but not too cramped, Rikugien’s modest scope establishes itself as an ideal garden for a stroll or a break from bustling city life.

History of Rikugien Garden

300 years worth of History

Rikugien Gardens

The construction of Rikugien finished in 1695, after 7 years of construction. The garden belonged to daimyo Yanagizawa Yoshiyasu, who received the land from the fifth shogun, Tokugawa Tsuneyoshi. Yanagizawa took part in the planning, construction and designing of the garden. The garden is built in kaiyuu-shiki style, with a pond in the center and a stroll course around it. He also devised the name “Rikugien”. “Rikugi” refers to the six types of waka, or Japanese ancient poetry. Yanagizawa wanted his garden to reflect the deep ideologies and symbolisms of poetry into his garden, hence naming it “Rikugien”.

Entering the Meiji Era (1868 – 1912), the garden fell in the hands of Iwasaki Yataro, the founder of the Mitsubishi. After his death, Rikugien Gardens was donated to the city of Tokyo and opened to the public. In 1953, Japan designated Rikugien as a Special Historic Scenic Site.

Sights to See at Rikugien Garden

Deshio no Minato

View from Deshio no Minato in Rikugien Garden

Keep straight after entering from the main entrance gate, and you will arrive at the Deshio no Minato. This is a spot designated for a nice view of the entire garden. From this exact spot, one can view the entirety of the garden, with the Naka no Shime (inner island) on the right and the tearoom across the pond.

Imoyama / Seyama

Imoyama & Seyama in Rikugien garden

Two hills, named Imoyama and Seyama, sit on Naka no Jima, the inner island. During the time of the construction of Rikugien, imo referred to women and se refered to men. The island symbolizes the coexistence of man and woman with each hill representing each gender.

Togetsukyo Bridge

Togetsukyo bridge in Rikugien Garden, with the beautiful autumn leaves

Two large rocks create this bridge, which connects the larger Northern island with the surrounding land. The name of the bridge derives from a line in a haiku.

The 4 "Dobashi" Bridges

Chidoribashi Bridge in Rikugien Garden

Within the garden are four bridges connecting the land with islands and tea houses. The Chidori-bashi Bridge on the west side constructs a beautiful view of the Takaimi-no-jaya teahouse. On the northern end of the garden in the Yamakage-bashi Bridge, connecting the large northern island to the Tsutsuji-jaya teahouse. Another bridge on the northern end is the Fujinami-bashi Teahouse, joining the large northern island and the northeastern side of the garden. The final of the four bridges is the Hakuo-bashi Bridge.

Tsutsuji-Jaya Teahouse

Tsutsuji-Jaya Teahouse, surrounded in Rikugien Garden's autumn leaves

Built in the Meiji era (1868 - 1912), the Tsutsuji-jaya teahouse sits on the Northern tip of the garden. The structure of the teahouse is made of wood from azaleas, hence the name (tsutsuji = azalea). Tsutsuji-jaya survived World War II unharmed, and stands in its original form to this day.

Sasakani Trail

Sasakani trail in Rikugien Garden

A small walkway on the northern side of the island is the Sasakani-no-michi. In old Japanese, sasakani meant spider, and the name of the road derives from how the narrow roads resemble spider legs.

Takimi-no-jaya Teahouse

Takimi-no-jaya, the teahouse on the eastern end of the garden, devises a cooler shade area for resting. With a stream running nearby, the teahouse is a garden favorite for its serene and simple beauty.


Shidare-zakura Light Up (April)

The shidare-zakura cherry blossoms in Rikugien

Rikugien Gardens is particularly famed for its shidare-zakura, or weeping cherry tree. The tree, measuring at 15 meters tall and 20 meters wide, fosters cherry blossoms that dangle downwards to the ground. During its peak blossoming season, from mid March to the beginning of April, the shidare-zakura tree lights up from sunset to 9:00p.m. (opening hours are extended during this time). For easier access, the Somei-mon gate near Komagome Station is temporarily opened during the shidare-zakura light up season.

Fall Foliage Light Up (November – December)

Fall light-up at Rikugien

Embrace Japan’s autumn colors at Rikugien Gardens under the illuminated fall foliage! This time, instead of the weeping cherry tree, representative autumn trees illuminate the park at night from mid November to the beginning of December. Maple and gingko trees throughout the park light up from sunset to 9:00p.m. (opening hours are extended during this time). For easier access, the Somei-mon gate near Komagome Station is temporarily opened during the fall foliage light up season.

Access to Rikugien Garden

Nearest station: Komagome Station (JR Yamanote Line JY10/Tokyo Metro Namboku Line N14)

From Shinjuku Station

【Shinjuku Sta.】JR Saikyo Line / for Akabane
→【Ikebukuro Sta.】JR Yamanote Line / for Ueno
→【Komagome Sta.】from the South Exit → about a 6-minute walk

From Tokyo Station

【Tokyo Sta.】JR Yamanote / for Ueno
→【Komagome Sta.】from the South Exit → about a 6-minute walk

From Narita Airport 成田空港

【Narita Airport Sta.】Skyliner / for Keisei Ueno
→【Nippori Sta.】JR Yamanote Line / for Ikebukuro
→【Komagome Sta.】from the South Exit → about a 6-minute walk

From Haneda Airport 羽田空港

【Haneda Airport Sta.】Tokyo Monorail / for Hamamatsucho
→【Hamamatsucho Sta.】JR Yamanote Line / for Tokyo
→【Komagome Sta.】from the South Exit → about a 6-minute walk

Category: Parks / gardens

Rikugien Gardens

6-16-3 Komagome, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo

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