The Hamarikyu Gardens in Tokyo are a Japanese-style garden in central . Here, a fresh sea breeze blows and you can feel the atmosphere of the Edo era. This garden used to be the family garden of the Tokugawa shogun which functioned as an outer fort for Edo Castle. It became the shogun’s detached residence called Hamagoten (meaning Beach Palace) at the time of the 6th Tokugawa Shogun, Ienobu.
After the Meiji Restoration, the garden became a Detached Palace of the Imperial Family. They donated it to the city of Tokyo in 1945 and after restoration work, it opened to the public. The garden is located in the southern part of Tokyo facing Tokyo Bay. The contrast between the high-rise buildings in the background and this quiet green garden is very impressive.
The garden features a tidal pond of seawater drawn from the bay. The pond changes its appearance according to the flow of the tide. It is the only remaining seawater pond from the Edo era in Tokyo. Saltwater fish live here such as the striped mullet, young sea bass, goby, and eel.
You can find two duck hunting sites in the garden. It was one of the shoguns’ hobbies to hunt ducks using hawks or a net from behind mounds.
Hamarikyu Gardens’ Seasonal Flowers
You can enjoy many of Japan’s seasonal flowers in the garden throughout the year. In spring, you can see cherry blossoms, rape blossoms, white magnolia, peach blossoms, Japanese wisteria, peony, rhododendron, azalea, etc. At summertime, there are Japanese iris, hydrangea, crape myrtle, yellow cosmos, etc. In autumn, you will find spider lily, cosmos, and also autumn leaves (maple, Japanese wax tree, and ginkgo). And in winter there are wintersweet, plum blossoms, narcissus, etc.
In the tea house on the island in the pond, you can try matcha tea (Japanese powdered green tea). They also serve beautifully decorated Japanese sweets. While having a cup of tea, you may see ducks and grey herons in the pond.
Access: From Shiodome (Yurikamome & Oedo Line), Tsukijishijo (Oedo Line) or Shimbashi (JR & Ginza Line) stations.
There is a waterbus line from Asakusa (35 minutes, 1,040 yen including the entrance fee to the garden)
Entrance fee: Adult (13-64) 300 yen, Senior (over 65) 150 yen, Child (0-12) free
Hours: From 9 am to 5 pm (last entry 4.30 pm)
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