How to Enjoy Tokyo’s Seasonal Highlights Like a Local

Three hotel gardens that are worth a visit in their own right

Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa in spring

Japanese people have a strong appreciation of the changing seasons, cherry blossoms in particular have been deeply loved since ancient times. Whilst cherry blossom season is a standout in Tokyo there are highlights throughout the year showcasing other blooms and foliage events.

Discover some of Tokyo’s best-kept secrets, seasonal delights cherished by locals and why missing the cherry blossoms does not mean missing out.

The ancient calendar in Japan had 24 distinctly named seasons, each with its own natural features, cultural links and associated festivals.

Tokyo locals continue to celebrate the seasonal changes. We have created a quick reference seasonal highlight calendar with some of the best places to view and enjoy the city just like a local.

Download the Seasonal Highlight Calendar here.

Click to download the Tokyo Seasonal Highlights Guide

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Best Japanese Gardens at Tokyo Hotels

Japanese gardens are renowned for their transcendent beauty bringing a sense of calm and peace whilst highlighting the wonders of the present season. A great many Tokyo hotels have views onto gardens and garden-scapes, something known as ‘shakkei’ (or borrowed view). Tokyo locals make good use of the capital’s hotels and go to enjoy the garden views. We have selected some standout hotel gardens to be enjoyed throughout the year.

Hotel Chinzanzo Tokyo

1. © Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo / 2. Tokyo Sea of Clouds © Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo

The name Chinzanso literally means the ‘guest house of camellia hill’ and that’s precisely what it was. The site was a natural attraction for hundreds of years as wild camellias naturally flourished there. Today this luxury hotel is unique in Tokyo for its authentic Japanese garden. All the seasons can be enjoyed here from spring cherry blossom to summer fireflies, deep red maple leaves in autumn, and not forgetting the winter camellias.

Apart from botanical wonders the garden also has historical artefacts including a 600-year-old three-storey Pagoda, stone statues of Rakan, Zangetsu, a tea house that is registered as a National Tangible Asset of Japan.

Highlight: Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year and to mark this milestone, the property has embarked upon a 3-year project, starting with ‘Tokyo Sea of Clouds’ and ‘One Thousand Lighta’ – details here.

Hotel New Otani Tokyo

1. Japanese Garden © Hotel New Otani Tokyo / 2. Japanese Garden Autumn © Hotel New Otani Tokyo / 3. Japanese Garden Spring © Hotel New Otani Tokyo

With a history of more than 400 years, this garden had in the past been the property of various known samurai lords. The 4 hectare-ground in Tokyo’s centre features several ancient stone lanterns, scarlet bridges over koi ponds, a stone garden, a waterfall, as well as a myriad of flowers and rich foliage that bloom or change colours from season to season. While nestled in the heart of this busy city, the quiet and peaceful ambience that enfolds the expanse provides a moment of repose to hotel guests and visitors alike.
Open to guests and visitors from 6:00am to 10:00pm every day.

Download the Japanese Garden Guide Map here.

Download the hotel’s garden highlights here.

Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa

1. Garden, spring | Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa / 2. Garden | Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa / 3. Lounge, Momiji | Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa / 4. Garden, autumn | Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa

This beautifully landscaped mature 2-hectare garden is nothing short of impressive. Designed by a famous Japanese garden designer who also worked on the construction of the new Imperial Palace, this garden is located at the centre of three Prince Hotels in the lush green of Takanawa. The flowers, trees, and ponds present themselves with different expressions as the seasons change and many historic and artistic landmarks gracefully dot the grounds. Lounges and restaurants with lush garden views are a highlight. The garden has many cherry trees and hosts a Sakura Festival each year which is open to guests and visitors who can wander through the grounds freely.

You could go in the draw to win a stay at Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo or Hotel New Otani Tokyo – Sign up and complete the Tokyo Tourism Expert program by 14 March 2022 to be in the draw – REGISTER HERE.

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