I have always liked parks and gardens, and of the many I’ve visited in Tokyo, 六義園 Rikugien Gardens is my favorite.
The garden is beautifully landscaped, and depending on the season, is painted with the different colors of the flowers in bloom. To me, it’s the most charming garden in Tokyo I’ve seen, and also the reason why I like it so much. And although it’s smack amongst other buildings, when I’m in the garden, I don’t feel like I’m in the city at all.
Rikugien Gardens usually close at 5pm, but twice a year (during spring and fall), there are illumination events where the garden is open till 9pm and most of the garden is lit up. This year, the night illumination event was held from March 25 – April 3 and we got to see the beautiful sakura trees at night when we went last week!
There was a huge crowd the night we were there, and everyone was packed tightly around the tree, all trying to get a photo. Of course, I was one of them ;)
This particular sakura tree is the しだれ桜 Shidare zakura, also known as weeping cherry (the branches bend towards the ground, making it look like the tree is weeping). Shidare zakura blooms earlier than Somei yoshino, the most common type of cherry blossom in Japan.
After I took about several hundred photos (you know, just for backup…) of that one tree from just those two angles, I was satisfied and relinquished my prime positions to others. At which Fu exhaled with relief, “AT LAST!”
We walked around the rest of the garden, which was considerably less crowded.
I can’t remember if the bridge above could be crossed during the day, but some parts of the park are closed off at night for security reasons. When I came previously during the day, I climbed all the way up to a lookout that afforded a really lovely view of the park. I wanted to bring Fu there, but the path was unfortunately blocked off :(
And that’s the garden! It gives off a rather different feel from during the day, but I think I like it either way :) If you like gardens/parks and can only visit one, I wholeheartedly recommend Rikugien Gardens!
❀ RIKUGIEN GARDENS ❀
Admission fee: 300 yen
Nearest station: Komagome on the JR Yamanote line