Five minutes’ walk south of Komagome Station on the Yamanote line, Rikugi-en (六義園; daily 9am–5pm; ¥300) is Tokyo’s best surviving example of a classical, Edo-period stroll-garden, designed in the early 18th century by high-ranking feudal lord Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu. Both a perfectionist and a literary scholar, Yanagisawa took seven years to create this celebrated garden – with its 88 allusions to famous scenes, real or imaginary, from ancient Japanese poetry – and then named it Rikugi-en, “garden of the six principles of poetry”, in reference to the rules for composing waka (poems of 31 syllables).

Few of the 88 landscapes have survived – the guide map issued at the entrance identifies a mere eighteen. Nevertheless, Rikugi-en still retains its rhythm and beauty, beginning as you enter with an ancient, spreading cherry tree, then slowly unfolding along paths that meander past secluded arbours and around the indented shoreline of an islet-speckled lake. In contrast, there are also areas of more natural woodland and a hillock from which to admire the whole scene.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Tokyo features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Uncovering Tokyo’s nightlife: a neighbourhood guide

Uncovering Tokyo’s nightlife: a neighbourhood guide

Until recently, running a club in Japan was a risky business. The fueihō laws, created in 1948, put restrictions on any small venue where patrons had to “act…

09 Jun 2017 • Rebecca Hallett insert_drive_file Article
26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

From ancient temples to hyper-modern skyscrapers, these are just a few of the world's most incredible architectural wonders. Whether you're looking to wander l…

01 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
Where to stay in Tokyo: an area by area guide

Where to stay in Tokyo: an area by area guide

As the biggest city in the world, it’s unsurprising that Tokyo is crammed full of different places to stay – and with each district boasting its own charact…

11 Nov 2016 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right