Outdoor Fun in the City
Even though Tokyo looks to be mostly concrete and skyscrapers there are plenty of pockets of green! THis is just a very short explanation of some of the parks that Tokyo has to offer.
One of the oldest public parks in Tokyo. It is located in Minato-ku and very close to Tokyo tower, a 2 minute walk from Shibakoen station. There is a pond, lots of trees and rock formations to give the feeling that you are no longer in the city.
Yoyogi park is between Shinjuku and Shibuya, two very busy metropolitan areas of Tokyo but one of the largest parks in the area. It is famous for it's cherry blossoms and it's close proximity to Meiji Jingu Shrine and Harajuku. Closest station is JR Harajuku.
The park is quite busy on the weekends as musicians often gather to perform. It features lots of green grass, a pond, a gingko tree forest (a must see in Autumn!). Great place for a picnic!
Located in Setagaya-ku, 20 minutes walk from Youga station, it is not the easiest park to get to but it is a great place for families. It has several playgrounds, lots of open space, a ton of sakura trees, a cycling course, a bird sanctuary and it also houses the Setagaya Art Museum.
The impressive green lawn is something you do not see much of in Tokyo!
Shinjuku Gyoen Park
One of Tokyo's largest and more popular parks, it is well worth a visit. It is not a public park however and it is only open from 9:00am-4:30pm and costs 200yen for entry. There are many many different gardens including Japanese landscape garden, french garden and and English landscape garden. There is something on offer during every season and it is also a famous hanami (cherry blossom viewing) spot.
The park is a 10 minute walk from Shinjuku station New South exit or a 5 minute walk from Shinjuku gyoen ekimae station.
Showa Kinen Koen Park
Showa Kinen Koen, located in West Tokyo, close to Tachikawa. There is an entrance fee but it is well worth it for all of the things to see and do including the children's forest, bicycle hire, road train, bird sanctuary and plenty of other gardens, a lake, BBQ garden and the rainbow pool (in summer)
Some attractions have separate fees. The park is a 7 minute walk from Tachikawa station.
Another park in West Tokyo approximately 20 minutes from Shibuya and Shinjuku, located in Kichijoji. The park surrounds a large pond and you can rent boats to use. There is also a restaurant and also markets on some weekends or free entertainment. Very popular in spring for the cherry blossoms and a great place for a family picnic.
SOme other close attractions include a small zoo and the Ghibli Museum.
5 minutes walk from Kichijoji Station or 1 minute walk from Inokashira Koen Station.
Kasai Rinkai Park
The largest park in central Tokyo is home to an aquarium, a ferris wheel, a seabird sanctuary and an observation building offering some fantastic views. There are also many walking trails and some playgrounds.
Entrance to the park is free but some attractions cost money. It is located in front of Kasai Rinkai Koen station on the Keiyo Line.
Perhaps one of Tokyo's most famous parks- it was originally part of Kaneji Temple grounds. The park is famous for it's cherry blossoms and many museums and zoo. You could easily spend a day here and still not see everything. The park itself is free but the attractions have a separate fee.
Located less than 2 minutes walk from Ueno Station.
For more information on parks in Tokyo in English check out - Tokyo Metropolitan Park Association (http://www.tokyo-park.or.jp/english/park/)