Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is one of the largest parks in Tokyo, with a lake and several different styles of garden: Japanese garden, French formal garden, English landscape garden. It has beautiful cherry blossoms in late-March and April, azaleas in May, hydrangeas in June and July, and many of the trees become a brilliant shades of yellow, orange and red in the autumn. If you’re lucky enough to visit after a snowfall in winter, the Japanese garden is not to be missed.
Being such a large park, Shinjuku Gyoen has 3 entrances, the Shinjuku, Okido, and Sendagaya gates. You can enter the park from the closest gate to your hotel or to the train station most convenient for you. In fine weather you may want to pick up food and drinks (note however that alcohol is not allowed in the park) along the way for a picnic or snack.
1. From JR Shinjuku Station (New South Exit) to the Shinjuku Gate:
Follow the signs for Takashimaya department store and take the escalator down to the ground level. Turn right along the sidewalk until you reach the first street making a sharp corner, and turn left down that street. You’ll see a Family Mart convenience store, perfect for buying a bento lunch. Continue straight down this street, and you’ll pass a Sunkus convenience store, perfect for any snacks you forgot to pick up at Family Mart. Turn right at the big intersection and continue walking east. Eventually you’ll see some trees, and the Shinjuku Gate is just ahead. Total walking time: about 10 min.
2. From Shinjuku Gyoenmae Subway Station to the Okido Gate:
Head across the street, and you should see a Family Mart. Turn right to cross the street, and walk down past a Lawson convenience store. Here you can pick up some Kara-age Kun fried chicken in any of several flavors they offer. Continue straight for a ways, and finally turn right toward the Okido Gate of Shinjuku Gyoen. Total walking time: about 10 min.
3. From JR Yoyogi Station (West Exit) to the Sendagaya Gate:
Turn left and go under the overpass and across the train tracks. The road will curve to your left, and you’l l see a Sunkus convenience store. Around the corner is a 7-Eleven, so you’ve got choices. After you’ve bought a bento and beverage, continue straight past 7-Eleven until you reach the Sendagaya 5-chome intersection. Cross the street, and head down past a gas station. You’ll eventually see trees and a sign pointing to the right. Follow the arrow a ways, and the Sendagaya Gate will be on your left. Total walking time: about 15 min.