Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden (新宿御苑 Shinjuku Gyoen?) is a large park with an eminent garden in Shinjuku and Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan. It was originally a residence of the Naitō family (Daimyo) in the Edo period. Afterwards, it became a garden under the management of the Imperial Household Agency of Japan. It is now a park under the jurisdiction of the national Ministry of the Environment. The imperial gardens, which were once meant for the royalty, were completed in 1906 and destroyed in 1945, during the later stages of World War II. The jurisdiction over the Imperial Palace Outer Garden and the Kyoto imperial garden was transferred to the Ministry of Health and Welfare (now part of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare) with Shinjuku Imperial Gardens in 1947. On May 21, 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 name "Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden." The gardens, which are 58.3 hectares in area with a circumference of 3.5km, blend three distinct styles: French Formal, English Landscape and Japanese traditional. A traditional Japanese tea house can be found within the gardens. The gardens are a favourite hanami (cherry-blossom viewing) spot, and large crowds can be found in the park during cherry blossom season. With its proximity to Shinjuku ni-chome, Tokyo's best-known gay village, the park is also popular among gay men, and mass hanami parties are organized in the park by local gay bars. The gardens have more than 20,000 trees, including approximately 1,500 cherry trees which bloom from late March (Shidare or Weeping Cherry), to early April (Somei or Tokyo Cherry), and on to late April (Kanzan Cherry). Other trees found here include the majestic Himalayan cedars, which soar above the rest of the trees in the park, tulip trees, cypresses, and plane trees, which were first planted in Japan in the Imperial Gardens. Horticulture work has been going on in the greenhouses in the gardens since 1892. The present greenhouse, built in the 1950s has a stock of over 1,700 tropical and subtropical plant species on permanent display. The gardens have three access gates: Shinjuku Gate, Okido Gate and Sendagaya Gate. Shinjuku Gyoen is open from 9:00 until 16:30. On Mondays the gardens are closed, except during the cherry blossom and chrysanthemum seasons: late March--late April and early November respectively, when the gardens are open seven days a week. The greenhouse, usually open from 11:00 until 15:00 is closed until some time in 2011. The last admission is 16:00. Admission is JPY 200 for adults, JPY 50 for children. The gardens are a short walk from Shinjuku-gyoemmae Station on the Marunouchi Line or Sendagaya Station on the Chūō-Sōbu Line. The garden is on the Fukutoshin Line near Shinjuku-sanchōme Station. From that station the garden is a four-minute walk. Shinjuku Gyoen should not to be confused with Shinjuku Central Park, a small green area located behind the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Nishi-Shinjuku. Shinjuku Gyoen official website : http://www.env.go.jp/garden/shinjukugyoen/english/index.html