Shinjuku Gyoen: A beautiful retreat in the heart of a concrete jungle

by Senior Airman David Owsianka
374th Airlift Wing
Living in what is considered a concrete jungle, the city of Tokyo offers numerous gardens and parks for travelers to take a break from the hard surfaces and towering buildings.
The Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is one of Tokyo’s largest parks. It is a short walk from Shinjuku Station, and is home to spacious lawns, walking paths and tranquil scenery that provides an environmental escape from the busy urban center in the surrounding area.
The garden opened in May 1906 as an imperial garden, and played a role in supplying seeds of buttonwoods and tulip trees for roadside trees throughout Tokyo. With 144 acres in size and a circumference of 2.2 miles, it blends three distinct styles, French formal garden, English landscape garden and Japanese traditional garden.
From the cherry blossoms in the spring to the colorful leaves of autumn, Shinjuku Gyoen allows visitors to get close to nature and enjoy the changing seasons for metropolitan and short-term visitors.
Among the 20,000 trees and 1,500 cherry trees which grow in the garden, there is a variety of tulip trees, plane trees, Himalayan cedars and bald cypresses, whose distinctive crown shapes are considered to give the garden a solemn and dignified atmosphere.
There is also a greenhouse within the complex, constructed in 1950, that is home to more than 2,400 colorful tropical and subtropical plants and trees. The greenhouse is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The park is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and has an admission fee of 200 Yen for adults, 50 Yen for elementary and junior high school students; infants can enter at no cost. The garden has three gates: Shinjuku gate, Okido gate and Sendagaya gate.

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