I went exploring on my own in Tokyo and ended up spending half a day in the Shinjuku National Gardens. I could have easily spend the whole day. A giant, sprawling park in the middle of busy Tokyo feels like a different world. The sounds of the traffic are muted and on the hot July day I wandered through, the people were sparse.
Mostly locals were there, some sketching away or taking photos. Some were even clustered with friends on the English Landscape garden–which, let’s be honest, is really just a lawn. The French formal garden was full of roses and other hedges.
Deeper inside were the Japanese traditional gardens with two traditional tea houses that were unfortunately closed on the weekdays.
The garden provides a green sanctuary in the midst of Tokyo and also boasts a range of migratory birds and animals that change with the seasons. It’s an amazing contrast to the busting downtown beyond its walls. After more than two hours, I still hadn’t explored every corner of this oasis.
To see the quiet side of Toyo, I highly recommend a visit.