Explore Tokyo's Gardens on a Cruise to Japan

by Matthew Nilsson

Hidden within the radiant lights and exhilarating sounds of Tokyo are tranquil garden sanctuaries. Worlds of new and old collide where a modern skyline cascades over tender cherry blossoms, still ponds, and relaxing teahouses that enchant visitors. During a cruise to Japan you can leave your cares at the gates and escape into serenity in any number of Tokyo's marvelous gardens.

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

Shinjuku Gyoen is the crown jewel of Tokyo's park system. A number of gardens within the park cover a broad spectrum of aesthetic styles. The English landscape, French formal, and Japanese traditional gardens are all represented in a park that is less than one square mile in size. Springtime visitors will be treated to a fantastic display when the cherry blossoms are in bloom. On an excursion to Shinjuku, you can take time to explore the district on your own. Spend some time marveling at Shinjuku Gyoen, then — if you're looking to return to the hustle and bustle of Tokyo — head to one of the department stores, bookstore, cafes, or shopping complexes that frame the park.

Koishikawa Korakuen Garden

Koishikawa Korakuen was built in 1629 during the Edo Period, making it one of the oldest gardens in the city. On these medieval grounds, visitors will enjoy strolling by the garden's three stunning ponds that are encircled by Japanese maples. The rest of Koishikawa Korakuen is equally pleasant with an ample selection of different flora. There's always something in bloom from February through December, including cherry blossoms and irises.

Sankeien Gardens

Designed by Hara Sankei, a silk merchant, the Sankeien Gardens feature inviting trails, rivers, a pond, gorgeous flowers, and reconstructed historically significant buildings from Kyoto, Kamakura, and other such places. On an excursion you can take a guided tour through these breathtaking gardens and by the collection of historic buildings they contain.

Hamarikyu Gardens

On the banks of the Sumida River in downtown Tokyo, the Hamarikyu Gardens features ever-changing scenery thanks to the park's tidal seawater ponds. At the southern edge of the garden, a charming teahouse greets guests on it's humble island with a view of intense greenery combining with the towering Shiodome business district. Even in a garden that is bursting with magnificent plum, maple, and ginkgo trees, a 300-year-old pine tree stands out as the garden's arboreal gem. The pine's thick branches hang low to enforce its mighty figure as visitors get an up-close look.

Rikugien Gardens

A trip to the Rikugien Gardens begins with an ordinary stroll down a wooded dirt path before a gorgeous clearing emerges that showcases the garden's true beauty. A large pond acts as the garden's centerpiece and is surrounded by man-made hills that are connected by trails that lead visitors around the gardens, forested areas, and sprawling lawns, to several teahouses that are open to the public. Guests who visit Rikugien during autumn are in for a special treat as the park is illuminated in the evening to showcase the spectacular foliage of the blossoming maple trees.

Tokyo's incredible garden culture mixes long-standing tradition with innovative designs to create scenes that pay respect to the past while looking forward to the future. It's this mind-set that allows people from all over the world to feel the day's worries melt away with each passing step through Tokyo's lush gardens.

Ready to seek serenity in Tokyo's gardens? Plan your cruise to Japan now!

 
Camphor tree in Japan
Camphor tree in Japan