As the biggest city in the world (by most definitions), Tokyo is not exactly famous for its greenery. Concrete jungle, sure. Actual jungle, not so much.
[Tokyo – it’s a jungle out there.]
I was a guest of the Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau, and I spent a day visiting gardens and green spaces of Tokyo.
It’s hard to believe that Todoroki Valley is within the Tokyo city limits. It’s only 20 minutes by train from Shibuya, and 20 minutes on a train doesn’t get you outside of Tokyo. Still, I had to ask if we were still in Tokyo as it seemed unbelievable that this slice of greenery had escaped development.
From Todoroki train station, the valley is a few minutes walk away. Upon entry the temperate is noticeably cooler, and they even have a temperature display showing inside and outside the valley. At the start of the walk is the picturesque Golf Bashi bridge.
[Golf Bashi Bridge.]
The valley has a stream running through it that looks more like a mountain stream than a city waterway. I was amazed by how clean it was given it urban location. The valley is about 1.2 KM so a 2.4 KM walk in total.
Near the end of the walkway is the Todoroki Fudoson Temple. It’s above the valley in the forest, and it makes for an interesting place to break up the walk.
[Todoroki Fudoson Temple.]
Another remarkable park of Tokyo is at the Meiji Shrine. I say remarkable because I don’t ever recall visiting a central city park that has such a dense forest.
The Meiji Shrine is located in Shibuya, which is on the Yamanote circle line in central Tokto. This Shinto shrine is dedicated to the Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken. The shrine is in the middle of this forest which contains over 120,000 trees.
[Grand Shrine gate.]
On the way to the shrine the is an impressive array of barrels of sake wrapped in straw. Each barrel is a gift that has been ornately decorated. I’m guessing this is highly tagged on Instagram.
[Barrels of sake wrapped in straw.]
Th park is big enough just to wander around for a bit of a green break in the city, but you should of course visit the shrine if you haven’t been.
Next to Meiji Jingu is Yoyogi Park. On the map they look like one big park, though they are two separate entities. Yoyogi Park was famous for hosting U.S. military barracks after World war II, and then an athletes village for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
These days Yoyogi is best known for being a congregation spot for entertainers and various subcultures. If you can time your trip it’s best to visit on the weekend when cosplayers descend on nearby Harajuku Station. It’s the ultimate Tokyo people watching spot.
And if you really want to time your trip, come here in April when the cherry blossom trees have bloomed during sakura.
[Yoyogi Park walkway.]
[This trip was sponsored by Tokyo Metropolitan Government.]