Parks and Recreation

For such a crowded and heavily built-up city, Tokyo boasts a surprising number of parks, many of them quite beautiful. There are over 6,000 different parks and gardens covering more than 1,000 hectares (2,471 acres) in the city. The most impressive green spaces in Tokyo tend to be in the northern and eastern areas of the city. These are the places to which modern Tokyoites repair for such traditional seasonal activities as cherry-blossom viewing (hanami), when people gather to drink sake and picnic beneath flower-laden branches in the spring. Ueno Park, along with the Sumida embankment, has remained the most popular spot for hanami since the days of old Edo. Ueno also contains a renowned peony garden, a zoo, and Shinobazu Pond, where visitors can boat among abundant water fowl and lotus blossoms. Inokashira Park is another large green space with a beautiful pond.

Many parks are associated with shrines and temples. The Meiji Shrine is situated in a deep wood with very large trees. The shrine also has a famous iris garden. Other gardens can be found at Nezu Shrine (azaleas), Nishiarai Daishi Temple (peonies), and Kameido Shrine (wisteria).