The Top Parks Around Tokyo

ByMichael Stigall
Oct 26, 2023

The Top Parks Around Tokyo

The metropolis is a great place to live, but the space available isn’t always great. Being constantly surrounded by buildings can feel a bit oppressive after a while.  That is when it is to get out and recharge in a spot with some green, take a mental health day!  Granted, while getting REALLY away from it all and doing some hiking or other outdoor activity is best, sometimes it’s just impossible to get away. When you still need to stay local, all of these options will offer a surprisingly natural environment considering their relative convenience.

Otonashi Water Park

Otonoashi Water Park is one of the “100 best city parks of Japan” and is a popular spot for families.  It offers fall colors, spring hanami, and summer’s green to visitors.  The park started as a natural tributary to the Sumida River.  After erosion control measures were implemented and urban growth exploded in the fifties, the water turned gray and fetid.  It was eventually diverted to the Tokyo City sewer system via tunnels, and the remaining area comprising the riverbed was converted to a park. The park offers water features along the path of the water, including waterfalls and pools along a walking path designed to bring out the feeling of a path alongside a mountain stream from the distant past.

114-0022 Kita-Ku, Tokyo Ojihon-Cho 1-chome (map link)


  • 2 minutes walk from Oji Station on the JR Keihin-Tohoku Line, Tokyo Metro Oji Station on the Tokyo Metro Nanboku Line
  • 1 minutes walk from Ojiekimae Arakawa Line streetcar

Hibiya Tokyo Metropolitan Park

Hibiya Tokyo Metropolitan Park sits centrally in Marunouchi near Kasumigaseki and the Imperial Palace Gardens, on the palace of feudal lord Matsudaira Bizennokami.  The palace occupied the space until the end of the Edo period when it was converted to a military drill field.  Following that, in 1903, the field was converted to Japan’s first western-style urban park. The park grounds contain The Hibiya Public Hall, Hibiya Library, and two outdoor concert halls. The annual garden show is a popular event, and the park’s gardens are planted to ensure visitors will find flowers no matter what time of year they arrive.  The park is surrounded by government ministry buildings, giving a feeling of an oasis of nature amid the bustle of downtown.

Hibiya Koen 1 Hibiyakoen Chiyoda, Tokyo 100-0012 (map link)


  • 2 minutes walk from Hibiya Station on the Tokyo-metro Hibiya Line
  • 2 minutes walk from Kasumigaseki Station on the Tokyo-metro Marunouchi and Chiyoda Lines
  • 8 minutes walk from Yuurakucho Station on the JR Line

Ueno Tokyo Metropolitan Imperial Gift Park

More commonly known as Ueno Park. This park is one of the most famous in Tokyo and easily the largest. Kaneiji Temple once occupied it, but it was destroyed during the Boshin War and was opened to the public in 1873 as a park by the Imperial Family. In 1924, the emperor gifted the land to the city of Tokyo. Ueno Park has been with us ever since, delighting all who visit it with a stunning forest of cherry trees and a collection of public facilities, including six museums (Tokyo National Museum, The National Science Museum, The National Museum of Western Art, The Ueno Royal Museum, Shitamachi Museum, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum), a zoo, concert hall, a pond, and various shrines and monuments.

Ueno Koen, Ikenohata 3 chome, Taito Ward (map link)


  • 2 minutes walk from Ueno Station on the JR, Ginza, and Hibiya lines
  • 5 minutes walk from Ueno-Okachimachi Station on the Oedo line
  • 1 minutes walk from Keisei-Ueno Station on the Keisei line

Mizumoto Tokyo Metropolitan Park

Mizumoto Park sits on the Koaidame flood control basin banks, making it the only park near downtown that offers the opportunity to take a stroll by the “riverside,” which is what this park was designed to replicate.  The park is a relatively new addition to the area; its predecessor was only established in 1965, and the current version was established in 1975. There are many canals of various sizes from the flood control basin that runs through the park, and trees peculiar to wet areas, like poplars, metasequoias, and alders, line them.  Aquatic plants like irises and water lilies dot the landscape, and in June there is an iris festival that is supposed to be quite lovely.

125-0034 3-2 Mizumotokoen Katsushika, Tokyo (map link)


  • 7 minutes walk from Mizumoto-Koen bus stop on the Keisei Bus bound for either  Togasaki-Soshajo or Nishi-Mizumoto 3-chome from Kanamachi Station on the JR line.

Yoyogi Park

Yoyogi Park is one of the largest parks in Tokyo. Its easily accessible location near Harajuku Station and Meiji Shrine in Shibuya makes it popular for many outdoor adventures among Tokyo’s population.   The area first saw notoriety as the site of the first successful powered aircraft flight in Japan.  From there, like other parks on this list, it held a military parade ground, and after the war contained the “Washington Heights” barracks for U.S. officers during Japan’s period of occupation. From a military zone to an ambassador of world peace, in 1965, the area was used for the Tokyo Olympics before finally becoming Yoyogi Park in 1967. The park features broad grass fields, big fountains, and sports facilities such as a stadium, soccer and hockey fields, an outdoor stage, a cycling course, a children’s cycling plaza, and a dog run.

151-0052 Tokyo, Shibuya, Yoyogi Kamizonocho 2−1 (map link)


  • 3 minutes walk from Harajuku Station on the JR Yamanote Line
  • 3 minutes walk from Yoyogi-Koen Station on the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line
  • 6 minutes walk from Yoyogi-Hachiman Station on the Odakyu Line

Jindai Botanical Gardens

The Jindai Botanical Garden (神代植物公園, Jindai shokubutsu kōen) is located next to Jindaiji Temple in the western Tokyo suburb of Chōfu. It features thirty areas, each dedicated to one kind of plant. You’ll find plum, cherry, azalea, dogwood, peonies, roses, and more. In addition to a wetland annex for aquatic plants.

The Jindai Botanical Garden site was once part of a medieval fortress said to date from 1537. Later it was a nursery that supplied trees for Tokyo’s streets before becoming Tokyo’s first botanical garden in 1961.

Jindaiji Motomachi 5-31-1, Chōfu City, Tokyo 182-0017  (map link)


Park Guide

  • Buses from Chōfu Station on the Keiō Line and Mitaka or Kichijoji Stations on the JR Chuo line make stops at Jindaiji Shokubutsu Kōen Mae.

Tonogayato Garden

If you are looking for a way to check out how Japanese Taisho era nobility enjoyed the outdoors, then visit Tonogayato Garden (殿ヶ谷戸庭園, Tonogayato Teien), a traditional Japanese garden. Planned in 1913, the garden was originally the private grounds of a vice president of the Mitsubishi Group. It stayed in private hands until 1974 when the Toyko Metropolitan Government purchased the land and turned it into a public park in 1979. Highlights include a tea house situated on a pond that contains a natural spring and is the source of the Nogawa River.

2-16 Minami-machi, Kokubunji City, Tokyo 185-0021 (map link)

042 324 7991


Showa Memorial National Park

Showa Memorial National Park, or as it is commonly known, Showa Memorial Park or Showa Kinen Park, is the newest park on this list. Originally used as a kind of air force base, the area was re-established in 1983 as a park to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Japan’s Shōwa emperor. One notable quality of this park is that you can rent bicycles and ride them on the park’s 11km /7-mile bike trail. While smaller than Yoyogi, the park still contains an impressive amount of things to do, and visitors should plan on a whole day to see it in its entirety. Some of the highlights available at the park include the Hanamidori Cultural Center and The Emperor Showa Memorial Museum. It also includes a canal, a lake for waterbirds, the Dragonfly Marsh, and the Japanese Garden. The kid’s area is supposed to be impressive!

3173 Midori-Cho Tachikawa City Tokyo 190-8558 (map link)


  • 2 minutes walk from Nishi Tachikawa Station on the JR Ohme Line
  • 10 minutes walk from Tachikawa Station in the JR Chuo Line

Raita Futo from Tokyo, Japan, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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Michael Stigall editor

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