Latest News

Monday, 15th September 2014
In Events In Japan,

Rikugien to illuminate for festival

Rikugien Gardens, located in Honkomagome, Bunkyo-ku, has been designated a national treasure because of its scenic beauty since 1953. And one of the best times visit is just around the corner.

Twice a year on select days during the autumn and spring, Tokyo's best known landscape garden is illuminated - the stunning plants and trees bathed in varying hues from crimson to azure to gold. 

However, it is the approaching autumn illumination that is most commonly observed by watchers, with hundreds gathering to observe the beautiful illuminations contrast spectacularly with the flame-coloured leaves.

If you want to make the most of your experience of the gardens, this is truly one of the best times to visit. The illuminations happen from late November and carry on until mid-December, although exact dates for this year have yet to be published.

However, don't be too devastated if you miss out on the event, as Rikugien is an excellent attraction to add to your to-do list at any time of year.

For example, those visiting during the last week of March and the first weeks of April will be treated to hanami, or flower watching. This is a special time of year enjoyed nationwide when the cherry trees across Japan burst into life with beautiful blossoms.

Wander the beautiful paths during this season and you are likely to see hundreds of groups of Japanese friends, co-workers and families sprawled under the beautiful trees, taking time to enjoy one another's company with a picnic.

However, the trees themselves are a sight at any time of year. Rikugien is a prime example of a Japanese strolling garden from the Edo period and features plenty of extraordinary plants clustered around its central lake. The azalea bushes that bloom from April to May are particularly fine.

Also worth visiting is the Fukiage Chaya teahouse situated on the northwestern shore, where you can take a moment to rest up and enjoy some Japanese green tea, at a price of 500 yen.

Rikugien also has a fascinating history, having been constructed in 1700 for the fifth Tokugawa Shogun. The name literally means 'six poems garden', due to the fact the intricate little gardens within supposedly reproduce 88 scenes from famous poems.

It is very easy to reach Rikugien, which can be found just a stone's throw from Komagome Station. This is on the Yamanote line and JR passes can be used. 

Other stunning examples of green spaces in Tokyo include the Imperial Palace East Gardens, the Koishikawa Botanical Garden and the Kyu Shiba Rikyu Garden. The Meiji Shrine, surrounded as it is with luscious forest, is also well worth a visit.