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Updated on January 16, 2018

A Perfect Day in Tokyo

Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens (Bunkyo-ku): Discover the history of this garden

Photo of Daisensui Daisensui or pond is a central feature of the gardens

In the Edo period, Japanese daimyo, or feudal lords, built their residences around the present-day Bunkyo-ku area, which sits near the center of the 23 wards of Tokyo. The area is a trove of precious cultural assets even today. Among them is the Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens, known as “a gardens renowned for its connection with Mito Komon (the second lord of the Mito branch of the Tokugawa family).” The Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens was constructed in the early Edo period; it was the gardens of the Mito daimyo’s residence. This historical garden is a cultural heritage that has been designated by the Cultural Affairs Agency as both a special historical site and a place of special scenic beauty. The neighboring commercial area, including the Tokyo Dome and amusement park, is commonly referred to as “Korakuen.” However, little is probably known about the fact that this garden, now about 380 years old, is the source of the name.

Pass through the entrance gate and set your foot in the gardens. A picturesque sight spreads in front of you. This type of the garden, which lets you enjoy the views while strolling around a large pond, is called a chisen kaiyu style garden. A leisurely stroll around the pond (1.4 km) takes about an hour. Along the way, enjoy a variety of scenic views, including landscapes resembling Lake Biwa (Shiga), Arashiyama (Kyoto) and West Lake (China), artificial waterfalls and bridges that make the most of the topography, and rural landscapes, such as a plum tree grove and rice paddy.

In January, the garden features yuki-tsuri, a traditional way to protect trees from snow; in February, plum and camellia blossoms add color to the scenery. Of course, you can simply walk around by yourself to enjoy the gardens, however, if you take a volunteer guide with you, your appreciation of the gardens is sure to deepen even further.

Photo of Yuki-tsuri Yuki-tsuri is the gardens’ winter tradition
(photographed on January 30, 2015)

◎A 3-minute walk from Iidabashi Station on the Toei Oedo Line, or an 8-minute walk from Suidobashi Station or Iidabashi Station on the JR Sobu Line, Iidabashi Station on the Tokyo Metro Tozai Line, Yurakucho Line, or Namboku Line, and Korakuen Station on the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line or Namboku Line.

Open 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. (Last entry: 4:30 p.m.) Closed on the New Year’s holidays.
300 yen for general admission; 150 yen for senior citizens over 65 years old Guided tours: 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and national holidays (Available in English: 10:00 a.m. on Saturday)

Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens Service Center Phone: 03-3811-3015