110-year-old park in the midst of thriving business district of central Tokyo is the first western styled park built in Japan. It was designed by Seiroku Honda who also created densely forested Meiji Shrine and a great number of early public parks in Japan such as Onuma Park in Hokkaido, Tsuruma Park in Nagoya and Ohori Park in Fukuoka. The park set the standard of how the public park should be like. The park is also filled with a great number of monuments. Although the park has some children's playgrounds, the park is used for business people either to ralax or talk about business on a casual settings. The park has also been used for a great number of Japanese TV dramas, films or photo sessions for fashion models. The park has a number of nice cafes restaurants or historical buildings often used as the setting for the films or TV dramas. The park has a 84-year-old public hall (Hibiya Public Hall) which has been one of the major parts of history of democracy and freedom of speech in Japan..
Shimbashi Station is one of the oldest train stations in Japan originally opened in 1872. The station was moved to current place in 1914 and former Shimbashi station was renamed as Shiodome and used as the freight terminal. The station is close to Ginza on the eastern exit, not far from Hamarikyu Garden located about one kilometers east of the station and Hibiya Park about 700 meter northwest of the station. Hibiya Exit has been used for Hibiya park visitors particularly for public hall located at the southernmost part of the park. Hibiya Exit area is not as busy as Shiodome Exit area which has recently been redeveloped as the town with some skyscrapers. The biggest draw of Hibiya Exit area is the plaza called SL Plaza. Japanese people often refer to Steam Locomotive as SL. The other exit gates are Shiodome Exit, and Ginza Exit.
Hiroo Tip: Originally a feudal lord's residence, the garden was acquired by the Arisugawa-no-miya line of Imperial family in 1896. It was donated to Tokyo Metropolitan government in 1934 and since then it's been public park with Tokyo Metropolitan Library. It is one of the most popular cherry-viewing sites in Tokyo. When I was in college I visited this park a lot for the public library.
Hiroo Tip: When I was at Kanagawa University in Yokohama about thirty years ago, "go to Hiroo" meant to visit Tokyo Central Metropolitan Library for the research for coming dabate tournament. It is one of the most popular libraries in Tokyo for researchers, interpreters, translators and wide variety of professionals as well as foreign residents because it truly has vast amount of reading materials including foreign language books. It is located at the part of Arisugawa-miya Memorial Park.
Some of the art museums in Japan also have excellent Japanese gardens and Nezu Museum, also known as Nezu Institute of Fine Arts, is one of them. Located only about ten minutes from bustling Omote Sando area, the museum is mostly dedicated to the great Japanese art works. The exhibition is mainly based on the art collections of Kaichiro Nezu, late president of Tobu Railway. Japanese garden is also noted for its natural beauty with four tea houses. One of the most well-known art works exhibited in the museum is Korin Ogata's Irises screen, a national treasure. It is displayed only when Iris Laevisgata is blooming. This year Irises Screen will be shown from April 20th to May 19th. Also see National Treasure Irises Screens: Rinpa Splendor.
Opening Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.(Entry until 4:30 p.m.
Open except on Mondays, the day after National Holiday when National Holiday falls on Monday, during exhibition installations and Year-end and New Year holidays.
Admission General: Adult 1,000 yen, 800 yen for high school and college students. Free of charge for elementary and junior high school students as well as pre-school children.
Admission Special: Adult 1,200 yen, 1000 yen for high school and college students. Free of charge for children 15 or under.
Meguro station, one of the Yamanote Line stations, is one of the gateways to Minato ward areas. Within ten minutes walk from the station there are some nice places to visit. Such as Daienji Temple, Meguro Gajoen, Meguro Parasitological Museum, Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum(currently closed for renovation) and Shizenkyoiku-en(Institute of Nature Study). To learn more about these places also see Meguro Travel page.
World Trade Center is one of the earliest skyscrapers in Tokyo built in 1970, 163 meters in overall height. Tokyo Monorail linking Hamamtsu-cho to Haneda Airport starts from the second floor of the building. The top floor(40th floor) is 152 meters in height and there is an observation floor. The admission is 620 yen for adult. The phone number is for Seaside Top, an observation floor of the building.
Also referred to as Aoyama Graveyard. The huge cemetery which has the area of 26 ha is best known as the cherry viewing site and the place where well-known literary figures such as Naoya Shiga or political figures such as Toshimichi Okubo or Shigeru Yoshida are laid to rest.
The Japanese garden also known as Kyu Shiba-Rikyu Onshi Teien, was built as a samurai residence for Okubo clan during late 17th century. After changing hands to several clans and imperial family, the garden was bequeathed to Tokyo Metropolitan government to commemorate the marriage Emperor Hirohito(then Crown Prince) in 1924. It is one of the rare feudal lord's gardens in Tokyo built during early Edo period.
Shiba Park is best known by the place where Tokyo Tower is located. It was originally opened in 1873 as Zojoji temple at its helm. After the second world war in view of Seperation of Church and State principle in current Japanese constitution, the park was reopened excluding temple precinct. Current park is therefore encircling the Zojoji temple.
Around Minato, one can enjoy the old and modern Japan, or Tokyo for that matter without having to even spend single cent! When we first arrived at our hotel which is located in this special ward (it is one of 23 here in Tokyo), the most important thing we did was explore its streets!
I was truly glad to have chosen Tokyo Prince Hotel as I have researched the area where it was and was pretty sure we will not be disappointed and it was awesome. Just behind the hotel is of course Tokyo Tower. However, just a few metres from it is a great natural park used to be the hunting ground of a famous shogun Iyeyasu and his family. You could still see the falls, the sculptured gardens, etc.
Apart from this park, there are numerous shrines, temples, interspersed with the modern buildings of various big corporations like Honda, Mitsubishi, NEC, SONY and TOSHIBA!