Daily life in Tokyo

Shinjuku Gyoen - Mother and Child Forest, Part 2

This is Part 2 of a lovely mid-November walk at Shinjuku Gyoen - Mother And Child Forest
Prologue: The Kilometre Zero Marker of Japan
Part 1: The leaves glowed orange, gold, and green
Part 3: I translated some of the signs so you can share them with your family

A short virtual walk through the park

Are you looking for an educational or outdoor family activity in Tokyo? A place to take a break from dense buildings and crowds? Shinjuku Gyoen National Park is a huge green space—583,000 square meters—just a 10-minute walk from the world's busiest railway station. Gyo-en means "imperial garden", and this used to be a residence during the Edo period. Now it is maintained by the Ministry of the Environment, and it features expansive and beautiful French Formal, English Landscape, and Japanese traditional gardens, as well as the small, quiet Mother and Child Forest. You'll probably need at least 60-90 minutes to walk the park, but you could easily spend a whole afternoon there exploring all the different areas.

Tokyo parks usually have very inexpensive entrance fees. Shinjuku Gyoen charges ¥200 for adults, ¥50 for elementary and junior high school students, and infants may enter free of charge.

The park as a whole features a wide variety of trees and flowers, as well as small forest creatures, so every season brings something new to appreciate. As you wander, you're likely to find signboards with posters listing names and photos of the current month's flowers in bloom or other seasonal sights.

On my most recent visit to Shinjuku Gyoen, I recorded a short video of my walk through the Mother and Child's Forest to see the gorgeous mid-November colors in the trees. The video is a 3-minute peek at the little forest, including the park entrance, a small pond and waterfall, and a few pauses to read informative signs; the last 30 seconds are of the breathtaking effect of early sunset on the tall, autumn-colored cypress and sequoia trees. #nofilter

It's definitely not my best camera work, and I'd love to make a better video someday if I have the time. But I want to share it so you can see get a feel for the Mother and Child Forest: the difference between the buzz of human activity at the park entrance compared to the serenity of birds singing in the forest; some of the trees and water features of the landscape; and a few of the informative signs there.

And in case you don't read Japanese, I'm working on translating a handful of these signs to help make your visit more fun and educational.

Links
Shinjuku Gyoen National Park Map (English) 
Accessibility Map (English)

 

NextI translated some of the signs so you can share them with your family