Hama Rikyu Gardens
The Hama Rikyu Gardens once served as duck hunting grounds for Tokyo’s feudal lords, back in the 17th and 18th centuries when Tokyo was known as Edo. Today, with its winding paths and bridges spanning tranquil pools, it’s quite the contrast from the skyscrapers and neon lights of the Shiodome district that can be seen crowding the edges of the park. The traditional teahouse—located on an island in one of the pools—is a pleasant place to relax, and you can experience a traditional tea ceremony here.
The gardens are close to the high-end shopping district Ginza, and the famous Tsukiji fish market is close by. Although the ‘inner market’ with its daily tuna auction, has moved to a new site, the ‘outer market’ with vendors selling everything from sushi to kitchen knives is still located here. Whether you’re joining a guided tour of the city—which is sure to stop by the gardens—or planning a trip to the market, it’s well worth spending time here.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Entrance to the garden is via paid ticket.
- Travel to the garden by river bus for a unique experience.
- There’s a good view of Tokyo’s famous rainbow bridge from the garden’s riverside.
How to Get There
The garden is located at Hamarikyuteien, Chuo. The closest metro stations are Shiodome Station on the Oedo Subway Line and the major hub of Shimbashi Station. River buses dock at the garden too. For the no-stress way to get around the city, private tours with transport provided are also available.
When to Get There
The garden is open all year round. While it’s not one of the top cherry blossom parks in the city, there are cherry blossom trees here that bloom in spring—and usually fewer people than at other sites. You’ll also see peonies in bloom here in the spring, and lovely leaf colors in the fall.
Hop on the river bus from Hama Riku to head to Asakusa and the famous Senso-Ji temple, built in the 7th century AD. This ancient district is one of the city’s most historic areas, and as you pass through the carved wooden Thunder Gate with its huge lantern you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
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