Visiting the Koishikawa Korakuen and Other Gardens of Tokyo, Japan

The gardens of Japan are more than just places for tourists to take photos of lovely flowers or greenery. Each of them serves as a traditional form of art that is founded on the country’s philosophies, culture, and history.

Countless Japanese gardens are scattered all throughout the different prefectures of Japan and feature distinct styles. Among Tokyo’s oldest is the Koishikawa Korakuen, which stands as one of the best for foreign travelers to fully appreciate the dynamics of Japanese gardens.

Overview and Brief History of the Koishikawa Korakuen

By Daderot (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Koishikawa Korakuen dates back to the 17th century when it was first developed by Mito Yorifusa (Tokugawa Yorifusa), a daimyo (feudal lord) during the Edo Period. It was then completed in the 1630s by the feudal lord’s son, Mito Mitsukuni, with the helpful advisement of Zhu Shun Shui, a Chinese scholar. As such, the garden features a harmonious combination of Chinese and Japanese preferences.

Similar to other traditional Japanese gardens, the Koishikawa Korakuen features miniature reproductions of iconic landscapes, manmade hills, ponds, and countless other natural elements that have been arranged to replicate popular Chinese and Japanese sceneries.

In fact, the term “Korakuen” comes from a Chinese poem that talks about how people in power should first worry about his role and his impact on the community he is ruling before actually enjoying the privileges that come with his position. The word “Koishikawa” is used in conjunction with the other to pay tribute to the district the Japanese garden is located in.

The property also has several walking trails which lead to different sections where visitors may get the best views of the garden. Although several buildings of Tokyo such as the Tokyo Dome can be seen from the Koishikawa Korakuen, the area still serves as a relaxing place to escape to, away from the busy streets of the metropolitan city.

At present, the Koishikawa Korakuen is one of the three remaining daimyo gardens from the Edo Period, alongside the Hama Rikyu and Rikugi-en.

Viewpoints of the Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens

As mentioned, the network of walking trails of the Koishikawa Korakuen features several viewpoints for visitors to fully take in the beauty of the gardens. Aside from the Oigawa, Daisensui, Sho-rozan, Weeping Cherry, and Rice Paddy, which all offer stunning landscape views, the following sections feature more depth:


The Tokujin-do is a small shrine located within the Koishikawa Korakuen which previously served as the residence of Mito Mitsukuni.

During his earlier years, he came across an interesting Chinese historical text that inspired him to turn his house into a shrine to serve as a place where he could keep wooden statues of legendary figures.

Unfortunately, visitors are not allowed to enter the well-preserved shrine but being able to view it from the outside is just as rewarding.


By Nesnad (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The Engetsu-kyo, or better known as the Full Moon Bridge, is an arched stone bridge that stands over a lovely pond. It is aptly named for the reflection it makes on the surface of the water, which completes the image of a full moon when viewed from the right angle.

According to records, Zhu Shun Shui primarily served as the creator of the bridge, incorporating various Confucian doctrines into the design. Similar to the Tokujin-do, the Engetsu-kyo is considered to be among the most important structures of the Koishikawa Korakuen for its ability to remain as it is throughout the centuries.


The Naitei is the site where the former guest house of the Mito Clan once stood. During the Edo Period, this area featured a Chinese-style gate which separated it from the pond of the Koishikawa Korakuen.

Calendar of the Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens – Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter

By Daderot (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Koishikawa Korakuen is home to a wide array of seasonal flowers that bloom at different months of the year. Depending on one’s preference, taking note of the garden’s calendar must be done in order to be able to maximize the trip.

From late-March to mid-April, the garden comes alive with blooming cherry blossom trees. It is considered to be among the best hanami (cherry blossom viewing) spots in Tokyo. As such, the place can get quite crowded during this period.

For those looking to see beautiful Wisteria flowers, a trip during the third or fourth week of April is highly recommended.

Around the same time, Azaleas also start to bloom. These flowers blossom all the way until mid-June, overlapping with the blooming seasons of the Koishikawa Korakuen’s Rabbit-ear Irises and Irises from early-May to mid-May and from early-June to mid-June, respectively.

Come the end of July, lotuses give life to the garden until mid-August. Water lilies wonderfully complement these flowers starting from the month of May to the month of September.

As the winter season starts, Japanese maples and Japanese apricots bring color into the typically snow-covered garden.

The Koishikawa Korakuen also hosts several events and festivals throughout the year, the most popular ones being the Rice Paddy Planting Event during spring, the Rice Harvesting Event during summer, the Colored Leaves Festival during autumn, and the Ume Blossom Festival and Snow-Ropes Put Pines Event during winter.

Map & Access to the Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens of Tokyo, Japan

Tourists can easily locate the Koishikawa Korakuen by taking a five to ten-minute walk away from the JR Iidabashi Station or the JR Suidobashi Station of the JR Chuo Line. Alternatively, the Japanese garden can also be reached in just ten minutes from the Korakuen Station of the Namboku Subway Line and the Marunouchi Subway Line.

More Information about the Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens – Opening Hours, Price, Etc.

It should be noted that the Koishikawa Korakuen is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and only accepts visitors until 4:30 PM. The garden welcomes tourists and locals every day of the week but is closed from December 29 to January 3, every year.

Visitors need to pay an admission fee of 300 yen per person to be able to explore all the sections of the Koishikawa Korakuen.

Tourists interested in booking a hotel near Koishikawa Korakuen for the night have more than enough options to choose from, given the garden’s location in the city of Tokyo.

Address: 1-6-6 Koraku, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan 112-0004

Other Gardens in Tokyo, Japan

By Tak1701d (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Those who have a few more hours to spare may also want to consider paying the other gardens of Tokyo a visit. Some of the highly recommended ones that do not require tourists to travel that much farther from the Koishikawa Korakuen are listed in the short guide below:

Hama-rikyu Gardens

The Hama-rikyu can be found right along the Tokyo Bay. As such, the water levels of its seawater ponds change according to the tides of the bay. Aside from its many plum and cherry blossom trees, visitors can also spend their time in the garden sipping tea at the on-site teahouse.

Over the centuries, the Hama-rikyu has played different roles including being a residence of one of Tokyo’s feudal lords during the Edo Period, being a hunting grounds for ducks, and being a detached section of the imperial palace before turning into what it is today.

Remnants of its previous lives, such as old moats, reconstructed rock walls, and duck hunting blinds, can still be seen scattered throughout the gardens.

Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, daily; Closed from December 29 to January 3

Admission Fee: 300 yen per person

Address: 1-1, Hama Rikyu-teien, Chuo-ku, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan 104-0046

Rikugien Gardens

The Rikugien is another of Tokyo’s most breathtaking landscape gardens, alongside the Koishikawa Korakuen and Hama-rikyu. Compared to the other two, this garden was built sometime later, particularly during the 1700s.

When translated to English, its name literally means “the garden of six poems”. As such, the garden is filled with more than eighty miniature reproductions that represent various scenes from popular poems.

Covering an estimated total of 87,800 sq. m. of land, it usually takes about an hour for visitors to be able to comfortably go through the Rikugien’s network of walking trails. These routes go around different sections of the garden and lead up to numerous teahouses where tourists can take a break and enjoy a cup of tea or two.

One of the best teahouses within the garden is the Fukiage Chaya which can be found along the Northwestern part of the garden’s pond. The teahouses charges about 510 yen per cup of tea.

The seasons of spring and autumn serve as the best times to visit the Rikugien, as the gardens are filled with incredibly vivid colors.

Tourists can easily make their way to the Japanese garden by taking a five to ten-minute walk away from the JR Komagome Station of the JR Kamanote Line, towards the south.

Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, daily; Open until 9:00 PM during the cherry blossom and autumn seasons; Closed from December 29 to January 1

Admission Fee: 300 yen per person

Address: 6-16-3 Hon-komagome, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan 113-0021

Mukojima-Hyakkaen Gardens

The Mukojima-Hyakkaen is relatively small compared to the other Japanese gardens of Tokyo. It is located in the district of Mukojima, at the Northeastern part of Tokyo.

Although it only officially opened its doors to the public as a pay-to-enter garden during the 1930s, the Mukojima Hyakkaen already existing during the 1800s. The creator and original owner of the Japanese garden was Sahara Kiku-u, a rich antiquities dealer who simply wanted to have a place where he could relax and spend his time looking at flowers.

During its earlier years, the garden was mostly filled with ume trees. As various Chinese and Japanese literary works started mentioning different blooms and plants, Sahara Kiku-u and his fellow art enthusiasts started collecting seasonal flowers to integrate into the garden.

At present, the Mukojima-Hyakkaen is the only flower garden that has remained standing since the Edo Period. Tourists can reach the garden in less than fifteen minutes, by foot, from the Higashi-Mukojima Station of the Tobu Sky Tree Line or the Keisei-Hikifune Station of the Keisei Oshiage Line.

Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, daily; Closed from December 29 to January 3

Admission Fee: 150 yen per person

Address: 3-18-3 Higashi-Mukojima, Sumida-ku, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan 131-0032

Kiyosumi Teien Gardens

The Kiyosumi Teien initially served as the former residence of a local merchant during the Edo Period. It was eventually handed to one of Tokyo’s feudal lords who developed it into a lovely landscape garden. The daimyo used this garden as a place for him to entertain his guests until the Meiji Period.

Come 1932, ownership of the Kiyosumi Teien was transferred to the city of Tokyo and the garden was officially opened to the public later that same year.

Some notable points of interest within the 81,100-sq. m. property include a traditional Japanese fine dining restaurant (Ryotei) that doubles as a teahouse, stone pathways, and the Taisho Kinenkan which serves as a memorial hall for Emperor Taisho.

Tourists coming from the Tokyo Station can initially take a train on the Marunouchi Subway Line and get off at the Otemachi Station, before transferring to the Hanzomon Subway Line. Afterwards, a train to the Kiyosumi-Shirakawa Station, which is just a short walk away from the Kiyosumi Teien, should be taken.

Alternatively, those coming from the Shinjuku Station can take the Oedo Subway Line which has a direct stop at the Kiyosumi-Shirakawa Station.

Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, daily; Closed from December 29 to January 1

Admission Fee: 150 yen per person

Address: 3-3-9 Kiyosumi, Koto-ku, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan 135-0024

Kyu-Furukawa Teien Gardens

The Kyu-Furukawa Teien is more of a metropolitan park than it is a traditional Japanese garden. It is a relatively new tourist attraction that was only developed during the 20th century by Baron Toranosuke Furukawa.

An interesting mix of Western and Japanese architectural styles/elements can be seen at the property, which includes a Western mansion that features a Japanese-style arrangement on its second floor, an Italian-French rose garden, a non-geometric Japanese garden, and a Rhododendron plantation.

The unique park can be reached in less than ten minutes from the Kami-Nakasato Station of the JR Keihin-Tohoku Line or the Nishigahara Station of the Tokyo Metro Namboku Line.

Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, daily; Closed from December 29 to January 1

Admission Fee: 150 yen per person

Address: 1-27-39 Nishigahara, Kita-ku, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan 114-0024