Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
1 Naitomachi, Shinjuku,
Tokyo 160-0014, Japan
09:00 – 16:00 Daily except holidays
Shinjuku Gyoen is a calm oasis in Tokyo’s bustling in Shinjuku. Definitely worth a visit as it was originally an imperial garden for Lord Naito -, a “daimyo”(feudal lord). Strolling through, you can experience the lovely landscaping that translates the earths peace into your body. A rare occurrence without traveling far outside of major cities! Cherry blossoms and rhododendrons in spring and chrysanthemums abound in summer.
Shinjuku Gyoen is considered to be one of the most important gardens from the Meiji era. It shows the expansion of knowledge and culture as it divides into three main areas: a French formal garden, an English landscape garden and a Japanese Traditional Garden.
Kyoto Imperial Palace
3 Kyotogyoen, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 602-0881, Japan
Sort of an easy one in Kyoto, the magestic residence of Japan’s Imperial Family until 1868, it immediately went through a Meiji Restoration in 1869. From the impressive gates of cypress-wood, throughout the entire complex you will be awed as you are in most of Kyoto.
Awataguchi Sanjobocho, 6 9-1, Higashiyama Ward; Kyoto Prefecture 605-0035, Japan
9:00-17:00 Daily special evenings open for light show
Wwith four gardens connecting it’s buildings, Shōren-in is a marvelous temple, of the Buddhism Tendai sect, dating from the 12th century. An easy visit, being only five minute walk from Higashiyama, it’s small shrine and a expansive bamboo grove would be a shame to miss.
Inside the temples Kacho-den room, the screens are adorned with Fusuma paintings of lotus flowers by the artist Kimura Hideki; while above hang 36 framed portraits and poems from 36 seperate poets. Behind th Kacho-den room is the tearoom with view over the Soami-no-niwa Garden. During the cold months, this is the most delightful place to enjoy a hot drink and a sweet while absorbing the beauty of the garden.