Hama-rikyu Gardens (浜離宮) - a beautiful and tranquil place, dating back to the Edo period.
After going to Zojoji, the main temple of the Tokugawa Family, my next visit was to Hamarikyu Gardens, the family garden of the same Shogun.
Its original purpose was to serve as duck hunting grounds and as a detached residence for the shogun's family at the beginning of the Edo Period (1603).
After the Meiji Restoration, the Imperial Family Donated the Garden to the City of Tokyo and it was open to the public in 1946.
Opening hours & Price
Hamarikyu Gardens is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm and closed from the 29th of January to the 1st of January. A general admission ticket is 300 Yen.
I've heard that the autumn/fall foliage is as stunning as the cherry blossoms were when I visited in March/April, but I'm pretty sure it's beautiful all year round.
It was a beautiful sunny day so I decided to walk from Zojoji Temple to Hama-rikyu Gardens (a 25-minute walk).
The closest stations are Shiodome (a 10-minute walk) and Shimbashi (a 15-minute walk).
I entered through the Nakanogomon Gate, made a full loop of the Gardens and exited through Otemon Gate.
After spending a good few minutes admiring the cherry blossoms, I had a quick look at the open space which looks great for picnics and then I went towards the Statue of Umashimade-no-mikoto. Unfortunately, I don't have much information about the statue, all I can say is that it seemed to aesthetically fit the garden very well, making me think even more about the Edo Period.
As I was facing the statue I turned right, towards the tea houses - Taka no Ochaya, Matsu no Ochaya and Tsubame no Ochaya.
Most buildings have been destroyed by fire throughout the years and have been reconstructed/restored based on historical documents.
If you want to take a short break, you can enjoy some wagashi (confectionery) and matcha (green tea) at Nakajima-no-ochaya. Prices for this little treat are somewhere between 700 and 1000 Yen (£5-6 / $6-7).
From there I walked around Shiroiri-no-ike, a seawater tidal pond, the only one of this type remaining in Tokyo from the Edo Period. The pond has saltwater fish such as ell and sea bass.
From the tidal pond, I went towards Koshin-do Kamoba - one of the duck hunting grounds.
The next stop was the Flower Field, which, luckily was in bloom.
As I walked towards the exit, (Otemon Gate), I went past Sambyakunen-no-matsu, a 300-year-old pine tree, one of the largest Japanese black pines in Tokyo.
The leaflet states that there are Free Guided Tours available in English on Mondays and Saturdays at 11 am as well as in Japanese on Saturdays and Sundays at 11 am and 2 pm. If you happen to take part in a guided tour please let me know in the comments below how it was.
Hama-rikyu Gardens has easily made it to my ' 20 Amazing Attractions to Visit in Tokyo' .
It was on my 'must-see in Tokyo' list on my first visit to Japan, and it will definitely be on my to-see list next time I'm there.
I hope life is treating you well.