1. Shinjuku Gyoen greenhouse
    Photo: Shinjuku GyoenShinjuku Gyoen greenhouse
  2. Yumenoshima Tropical Greenhouse Dome
    Photo: Yumenoshima Tropical Greenhouse DomeYumenoshima Tropical Greenhouse Dome
  3. Jindai Botanical Garden
    Photo: Yoshihiro Iimura/Jindai Botanical GardenJindai Botanical Garden
  4. Institute of Nature Study
    Photo: Institute of Nature Study
  5. Yumenoshima Tropical Greenhouse Dome
    Photo: Yumenoshima Tropical Greenhouse DomeYumenoshima Tropical Greenhouse Dome

Best botanical gardens and greenhouses in Tokyo

Study up on Japanese and world flora at these majestic botanical gardens and greenhouses hidden in Tokyo

Written by
Kasey Furutani

It might feel impossible to take a break from the excitement of Shibuya Crossing and the shopping streets of Ueno, but there are pockets of calm right in the centre of our busy metropolis. Known for its traditional Japanese gardens, Tokyo also boasts a wide array of botanical gardens and greenhouses. Sometimes used for scientific research or just a place to relax, these gardens offer a stark contrast to the sculpted beauty of Zen gardens.

Wander through Tokyo’s largest rose garden, explore a nature reserve in Meguro and even learn about the tropics of the Ogasawara Islands at these botanical gardens and greenhouses.  

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The plant life

  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Shin-Kiba

Located on a reclaimed landfill and using heat from an incineration plant, the Yumenoshima Tropical Greenhouse Dome contains tropical plants, rainforest flora and Japanese greenery in its three approximately 30-metre-tall domes.

The first two domes focus on tropical and exotic plant life: Woody Ferns at Water’s Edge replicates a rainforest complete with a waterfall, while the Tropical Village grows royal palm trees along with warm climate fruit, such as mangoes and cacao. However, the most fascinating dome is the third one, featuring Plants of Ogasawara and the Traveler’s Tree, showcasing indigenous trees such as screw pines and the Pacific beauty palm, which is endemic to Tokyo’s sub-tropical Ogasawara Islands, located about 1,000km from the city. 

  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Chofu

Located in western Tokyo’s Chofu City, a 30-minute train ride from Shinjuku, the Jindai Botanical Gardens boast the largest rose garden in Tokyo, with over 400 different types and 5,200 flowers planted. Stop and smell the roses before exploring the rest of the 45-hectare botanical garden, filled with ume and cherry blossom trees blooming in spring and azaleas in summer. If the weather gets too warm, you can always relax in the greenhouse among 1,300-plus tropical plants, succulents and orchids. To keep that calm vibe going, check out the nearby Jindai-ji Buddhist temple

  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Shirokanedai

Who knew there was a forest smack bang in the middle of posh Shirokanedai? A part of the National Museum of Nature and Science, the Institute of Nature Study was established in 1962 but the land has a history much longer than that. Here you’ll find the Fabled Pine, an ancient pine tree dating back to 1664, which towered over a villa owned by Matsudaira Sanukinokami Yorishige (lord of the Takamatsu domain in Shikoku), and it still stands today. In fact, there are still some mansion ruins preserved here, too. The 20-hectare nature reserve has three different botanical gardens: the tree-lined Robo garden, the waterfront wetlands of Suisei and the original grasslands of the Musashino Plain.

  • Attractions
  • Wildlife centres
  • Shibuya

This small greenhouse near Shibuya Station is a breath of fresh air in the middle of the bustling city. Surrounded by more than 200 topical plants, including baobabs and dragon trees, visitors are welcome to relax on the upstairs terrace with food and drinks brought from home. The botanical centre is also child friendly – kids are welcome to play with blocks and toys made from natural wood and to learn about Japan’s plants and insects in the exhibition hall, with displays that change monthly. 

  • Things to do
  • Shinjuku-Sanchome

Tokyo’s most famous garden, Shinjuku Gyoen is a quiet oasis in the heart of the city centre. The sprawling 58.3-hectare property is also home to a greenhouse with approximately 2,700 different species of plants. The greenhouse has been rebuilt and renovated multiple times since its construction in 1875. The current building, dating from 2012, is an eco-friendly one, with an aim to conserve and cultivate endangered tropical plants from Okinawa and the Ogasawara Islands, tropical high-altitude plants such as the coffee arabica, as well as evergreen marsh plants. English information pamphlets are available.

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