Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, Dec 2017

I love Japanese gardens and parks. 

Well-kept, well-loved, and well-cleaned. What's not to love? They're gorgeous spaces to feel recharged in, and have I mentioned THEY ARE CLEAN? Civic-minded people ARE THE BEST.

Mini-rant: I like hiking in my home country, but I have to say I'm always disappointed to see rubbish and garbage left behind by other fellow hikers which I often see on each hike. Once I saw a family break off the top of some tree branches to get a better view from their picnic spot. For the love of nature, WHY?! 

In early December, I wanted to see autumn leaves. It was one of the MUST-items in my travel list, so on 2nd December 2017 I made my travel mates go to Shinjuku Gyoen. It was a 10 minutes or so walk from Shinjuku Station, and admission tickets are sold from the vending machines stationed outside the garden gates.

Fact, not opinion: Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is well-worth the ¥200 admission fee.

Look at that ground. Spotless except for leaves. 

The autumn leaves were still in full swing in early December, and we all marveled at this wondrous creation of nature by taking lots of pictures (when you come from a tropical country that is sunny/ rainy all year long, all of this is extra marvelous).

Traffic light ala nature.

Shinjuku Gyoen covers a vast land, and even though it's a tourist attraction, it's still large enough for people to find themselves alone in some spots. There were stretches of time where I just enjoyed the crunching sounds of of fallen leaves under my feet, the occasional calls of birds, the rustle of the cool wind air, and practically nothing else - no humans talking, no cars driving by, no beeping alarms...


I adore autumn. It's my favourite season.

I don't know if it's nature making people nicer, or just Japanese people in general. There were a few Japanese middle-aged to senior men walking around toting large cameras taking pictures of scenery, so I caught up to one and asked if he could help me take a picture of my travel group.

Next thing I know, he's already telling us to stand in position, pose well, kneeling on the ground with my camera, and taking several pictures from several angles.

So, pro-tip from me: next time you want a Japanese person to take a picture for you, aim for the ones holding huge cameras that can probably commit murder if you hit someone on the head with one.

All in all, Shinjuku Gyoen was a lovely spot to spend two to three hours in. They also have rotating exhibitions and organised garden walks.

Do go if you love nature, and civic-minded people. You'll leave feeling extremely happy, I promise.