Area Guide

[Tokyo] Kokyo Gaien National Garden (皇居外苑): Japan’s Enchanting Tapestry of Nature, History, and Culture

Japan’s Stunning Blend of History, Culture, and Nature Known For Breathtaking Beauty

The Kokyo Gaien National Garden is a remarkable masterpiece that embodies the rich history, culture, and natural beauty of Japan. Encompassing a vast expanse of 1.15 million square meters, the garden comprises the Imperial Palace Plaza, Kokyo Gaien National Garden, the Kitanomaru District, and 12 moats.

Upon entering the Imperial Palace Plaza, visitors are greeted by the breathtaking rows of Ochirindai and thousands of black pines. The iconic Nijubashi Bridge, a symbol of the garden, is a must-see attraction. While some visitors mistakenly identify the Seimon-tetsubashi and Seimon-ishibashi bridges as the Nijubashi, the Nijubashi officially refers to the Seimon-tetsubashi Bridge.

Another notable landmark is the statue of Kusunoki Masashige, an impressive 8-meter statue located near Subway Hibiya Station. This statue is one of Tokyo’s three prominent statues, the others being Saigo Takamori in Ueno Park and Omura Masujiro in Yasukuni-jinja Shrine.

The garden’s beauty extends beyond its striking appearance, as it also has a rich and fascinating history dating back to the 15th century when it was a part of the Edo Castle. Despite enduring damage from fires and wars throughout the centuries, many of the garden’s original gates, bridges, watchtowers, and stone walls remain intact and have been designated as Special Historic Sites and Important Cultural Properties of Japan.

In addition to its historical significance, the garden also boasts modern attractions such as the Wadakura Fountain Park, built to celebrate Japanese emperor weddings. This park provides a tranquil setting to unwind and relax amidst the serene surroundings. The garden’s peaceful ambiance, combined with the picturesque moats surrounding the royal palace, offers a perfect escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.

The Nijubashi double bridge, the Fushimi-yagura watchtower, and the towering skyscrapers in the distance offer breathtaking views, providing a captivating contrast between tradition and modernity in Tokyo. Admission to the Kokyo Gaien National Garden is free, and it is open to the public every day, making it an ideal destination for anyone interested in Japanese culture, history, and nature.

Getting to the garden is convenient, with Nijubashimae Station being the closest station to the most famous sights. Visitors can also take a leisurely walk from Hibiya Station or Tokyo Station’s Marunouchi exit. There are also bus parking and rest house facilities available for added convenience.

Do not miss out on the opportunity to experience the breathtaking beauty and rich history of the Kokyo Gaien National Garden, a hidden gem nestled in the heart of bustling Tokyo! Whether you want to stroll, jog, cycle, or capture stunning photos, this natural oasis has something for everyone.

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