Hama-rikyu Gardens (浜離宮・Hama Rikyū) is only 10 minutes walk away from Tsukiji Fish Market, so if you have gone to the market early in the morning and had spent half a day exploring the area, why not drop by at the garden for some nature’s respite from the busy market?
Hama-rikyu Gardens is a traditional Japanese style garden located right in the middle of metropolitan Tokyo, so you can see the interesting contrast between the modern shiny tall skyscraper buildings and the old teahouses and wooden bridges in the garden. It also features the sole remaining saltwater pond, shioiro-no-ike, in Tokyo.
Once you enter the garden from the otemon (“Main Gate”), you will find an impressive 300-year-old pine tree, whereby the sheer size creates a facade of several pine trees planted closely together. On a closer look, you will realize that the ‘trees’ are actually branches of the lone tree.
I went in March, and late March and early April is the season for rape flowers (菜の花・nanohana) to bloom. You will absolutely feel like you are in a carpet of yellow amongst these 300,000 stalks of vibrant blossoms! There are also other beautiful flowers in bloom, but rape blossoms are definitely the showstopper here.
Besides flowers, the traditional landscape of the gardens is definitely picturesque as well, with some built-to-scale models of ancient teahouses and many lovely wooden bridges.
Speaking of teahouses, there is a traditional teahouse called “Nakajima no Ochaya” surrounded by the saltwater pond, whereby you can enjoy some traditional Japanese sweets and matcha green tea if you are looking for a bite.
Hama-Rikyu Gardens is a great place if you are in Tokyo and unable to travel further for beautiful nature sights as it is so easily accessible. The gardens can be reached by foot from Shiodome, Tsukiji-Shijo or Shimbashi stations. Or if you are feeling fancy, why not take an half-hour boat trip from Asakusa to the gardens?
Address: 1-1 Hama-rikyu Teien
Tel: 03 3541 0200
Opening Hours: 9am – 5pm (last entry by 4:30) daily. Closed from Dec 29 to Jan 1.