The Garden of Words in Shinjuku Gyoen is one of Tokyo’s largest and most popular parks. The anime “The Garden of Words” directed and edited by Makoto Shinkai was inspired by the place and is the main subject of this article.
The movie focuses on Takao, who dreams of becoming a shoemaker and skips school and sketching shoes in the garden of words in Shinjuku Gyoen. He meets a mysterious woman, Yukino, who is older than him. Then, unconsciously, the two start to see each other again and again, but only on rainy days. While Takao is skipping his classes to design shoes, Yukino is also avoiding work due to deep personal problems. When Takao learns Yukino’s identity, the two grow closer and both learn that they have been teaching each other to cope with their respective lives.
Following the summer break, Takao returns to school and spots Yukino. His friends inform him that she is a literature teacher and that she had been the target of gossip and bullying. Out of kindness and to avoid further confrontation, Yukino opted to avoid work and retreat to the park, hoping she would learn to overcome her fears. How will their relationship pass through this as the rainy season stops?
The park seen in the anime movie is based on Garden of Words in Shinjuku Gyoen and even though there were changes in the landscapes and infrastructures inside the park, we can still recognize most of the spots.
So let’s start by the park’s entrance. The garden has three access gates: Shinjuku Gate, Okido Gate, and Sendagaya Gate.
The Shinjuku Gate
Shinjuku Gate in the Garden of words
This is one of the entrances to the park, Shinjuku Gate. The entrance gates themselves have been replaced with newer ones as seen below:
Takao at the Shinjuku gate at the Garden of words
The entrance gate in real life
There is another entrance leading to the Garden of Words in Shinjuku Gyoen which is named the Sendagaya Gate.
The Sendagaya Gate
Sendagaya Gate in real life
Sendagaya Gate seen in the anime
If you head out of Sendagaya Gate towards Sendagaya Station you’ll see this pedestrian underpass where Chūō-Sobu Line trains run.
The pedestrian underpass towards Sendagaya Station
The main place from the anime is the spot where Takao and Yukino meet for their dates. There is a slight difference in the images as the spot got an ashtray in real life but other than that it matches perfectly.
The pavillon in the Japanese garden;
Takao going to meet Yukino at the pavillon
The pavillon has an ashtray in its middle
The ashtray is present in real life but not seen in the anime’s pavillon
Yukino sitting in the pavillon
The exact spot in real life
Near the pavillon, there is a pond where our lovely characters can be seen in the anime. If you go near the pond, you may be lucky to see koi fish there.
Takao and Yukino were seen near the pond
The pond in the Garden of Words
There is a big pavilion in the park called Taiwan Pavilion. It is a site that attracts a lot of tourists and many pictures are taken from this spot in the Garden of Words in Shinjuku Gyoen.
Shinjuku Gyoen Garden is one of Tokyo’s largest, most beloved public parks. For an admission fee of just 500 yen, you’ll have access to one of the best spots in the city for cherry blossom viewing parties.
9:00 to 18:00 (March 15 to June 30 and August 21 to September 30)
9:00 to 19:00 (July 1 to August 20)
9:00 to 16:30 (October 1 to March 14)
Admission ends 30 minutes before closing
Shinjuku Gyoen Garden is often closed on Mondays (or the following day if Monday is a national holiday), from December 29 to January 3. There are no closing days during the cherry blossom season (March 25 to April 24) and the Chrysanthemum Exhibition (November 1-15).
Where is the Garden of Word Located?
The garden is a short walk from Shinjuku-gemmae Station on the Marunouchi Line or Sendagaya Station on the Chūō-Sōbu Line. The garden is on the Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line near Shinjuku-sanchōme Station. From that station (exit C1) the garden is a four-minute walk.
The Garden of Words in Shinjuku Gyoen is 58.3 hectares in area. There are more than 20000 trees in the gardens, including some 1500 cherry trees. It was originally intended for royalty and was completed in 1906. By 1949, the gardens became open to the public as “National Park Shinjuku Imperial Gardens”. It came under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Environment in January 2001, with the official English name “Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden”. The official Japanese name remains Shinjuku Gyoen, where gyoen means “imperial garden”.
A good place for Cherry Blossoms
The garden is one of the best spots for cherry blossoms, and compared to other locations, the viewing season is much longer. With approximately 1,100 cherry blossom trees of over 65 types planted in the park, the park sustains a long season of full bloom from late January to late April. Famous events regarding cherry blossoms are held in the Garden of Words in Shinjuku Gyoen.
The hanami (Japanese tradition of cherry blossom viewing) for example is held every day from the 25th of March to the 24th of April. Another famous event is the Cherry Blossom Viewing Party. Held at Shinjuku Gyoen annually by the Prime Minister of Japan, this event is on invitation only and extremely exclusive. Celebrities such as athletes, comedians and actors and actresses are invited to this event.