Founded in 1873, Shiba Park (Shiba Koen) is Japan’s oldest public park. It’s best known for the distinctive red and white Tokyo Tower that looms over it. The park provides much-needed open space in the crowded central city, and it’s a great place to take a walk while in this part of Tokyo. Visitors can also admire the ancient trees in the park, as well as the temple at its center.
The 20th-century Tokyo Tower may be the park’s most famous sight, but it’s also a fascinating area for history lovers. The park contains evidence of megalithic burial grounds, and the Zojo-ji Buddhist temple complex at its center dates from the 14th century. Some of its trees are thought to have been planted by the first shogun of Japan, Tokugawa Ieyasu, while others are known to have been planted by US President Ulysses S. Grant. Other draws include tennis courts, a baseball field, and an artificial gorge with a waterfall.
The park’s a popular spot to visit before or after a trip up the Tokyo Tower, or you can combine it with a trip to nearby Roppongi Hills, and there are plenty of comfortable hotels nearby.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The park is frequently featured in TV shows and movies for its tower views. If you hang around long enough you may encounter a film crew.
- For super convenient accommodation, Shiba Park Hotel is located right on the east side of the park.
- If you want to get some exercise during your visit, try out the park’s fitness machines.
How to Get There
Like most parts of central Tokyo, Shiba Park is best reached by train or subway rather than by car. Take the JR Yamanote Line to Hamamatsucho station; the Mita Line to the Shiba Koen or Onarimon stations; Toei Oedo Line to Akabanebashi station; or Toei Oedo or Toei Asakusa lines to Daimon station.
When to Get There
Shiba Park is open 24 hours per day, year round. Visit in the spring to see pink cherry blossoms, or in fall, when the artificial Momiji-dani gorge glows with the colors of autumn leaves.
Shiba Park is located in the Minato area, as is the impressive Roppongi Hills complex, one of the tallest buildings in the city. For two totally different experiences, combine a visit to the park and Roppongi Hills on the same day. The skyscraper complex is full of shops, restaurants, museums, gardens, seasonal and special events, housing, an observation deck, and more. In fact, it’s been called a city within a city. If you lived here, you may never need to leave.