A woodland park at the heart of the capital, where you can encounter old Edo, the future, nature, and wild birds
The name Kitanomaru Park is derived from the fact that it was the site of the northern enceinte (kitanomaru), so-called because it was located to the north of the inner citadel (honmaru) of Edo Castle. The kitanomaru is where successive generations of the Tokugawa clan lived until the end of the Shogunate; following the Meiji Restoration, it became the barracks of the Imperial Guards, and was eventually opened to the public as a woodland park in 1969, to commemorate the 60th birthday of Emperor Showa.
While historic sites and relics redolent of the time when this was Edo Castle can be found in many parts of the park, including the castle gates and moat, there are also modern cultural facilities, such as the Science Museum and the National Museum of Modern Art, so it is a wonderful place representative of Japan's past and future, enabling visitors to conjure up images of the time when Edo was founded, more than 400 years ago, as well as looking ahead into the decades and centuries to come.
The extensive lawns, the ponds, and the diverse array of flowers, shrubs and trees create scenery that belies the park's location at the heart of the metropolis, and it is an ideal place for observing insects and wild birds. Moreover, there is also a Green Adventure Course that offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy a walk around the park while identifying the trees therein; you can also include a stroll through the adjacent East Garden and Kokyo-gaien, or outer garden, for a truly fulfilling day out. In spring, Kitanomaru Park is transformed into one of the capital's leading sites for enjoying cherry blossom. It's well worth a visit to see the delicate, pale pink blossom of 330 somei-yoshino (Prunus yedoensis) trees covering the surface of the moat.
Address: Kitanomaru Park 1-1, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Phone: 03-3211-7878 (Kitanomaru Park Management Office)
Admission Fee: Free
Directions: 10 minutes on foot from Takebashi Station on the Tokyo Metro Tozai Line; 5 minutes on foot from Kudanshita Station on the Toei Shinjuku Line