Quiet Tokyo: Where to Go to Escape the Crowds

What comes to mind when you envision Tokyo?

Bright lights? Swarms of people? Just…a lot going on?

Well, you’re not wrong! Tokyo has the tendency to be a little overwhelming, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ample opportunities for getting away from it all too.

Below are our top picks for getting your nature fix in this energetic metropolis.

Yoyogi Park

Image by GTMDreams Photos via Flickr

Large and peaceful, Yoyogi Park is true urban oasis.

This is also one of the few parks in the city where you can rent bicycles and makes for a perfect spot to do some cycling. Walking, running, yoga, and picnicking are also popular options and the park rarely feels crowded.

If you happen to be in Tokyo during cherry blossom season (March-April), you’re in for a real treat as the delightful flowers give it a fairy tale vibe.

Tip: Yoyogi Park is also located right near the popular Meiji Jingu Shinto shrine, so plan for a visit either before or after your time there!

Entrance fee: none!

Shinjuku Gyoen

Image by Tatters via Flickr

Easily accessed by the metro, this is easily one of the most beautiful gardens in the city. Impeccably maintained, here you’ll find a maze of walking paths that will take you past manicured trees, blossoming flowers, bridges and ponds.

The Greenhouse featuring rare plants, is a particular delight, and there’s a good chance you’ll have plenty of opportunities for bird watching as well.

Bring a lunch and enjoy the tranquil setting under the shade of a tree.

Entrance fee: ¥500 (approx. 3.50 USD)

Institute for Nature Study

Image by calamity_sal via Flickr

As a small forest in the middle of Tokyo, this is a great spot to head if you need a break from the concrete, but don’t have the time to travel far.

Walking paths will lead you around the park, and expect it to take about an 1-1.5 hours to cover all the ground.

On a hot summer day, this is a great place to escape the heat as the plentiful trees provide ample shade, though, perhaps the best time to visit is in Autumn when the spectacular momiji trees (Japanese maple) dazzle with their shades of reds, golds, and purples.

Entrance fee: ¥320 (approx. 2 USD)

Okutama Region

Image by Guilhem Vellut via Flickr

An incredible region for hiking and nature exploration in general, the mountainous Okutama region makes for an excellent day day trip from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Located an hour and half train ride away from central Tokyo, it’s easily connected vis public transit, though you may find an overnight stay will be worthwhile (camping anyone??).

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous you can even clamber to the top of some of the region’s peaks – you’ll be rewarded by some pretty epic views of Mount Fuji!

Todoroki Valley

Image by Daderot via Wikimedia Commons

A rainforest in the middle of Tokyo?! Yep!

As 15 meter deep ravine, the Todoroki Valley is not only peaceful, it’s a lot cooler as well – making it a nice escape where the sun and humidity feel relentless.

Multiple walking trails will take you along a stream passing lush greenery and bamboo groves, and you’ll even find a shrine and ice cream stand. Expect to spend anywhere from one hour to a half day here.

Entrance fee: ¥200 (approx. 1 USD)

September 26, 2023