Happo-en (Tokyo), Blooming cherry trees in front of Kochuan, a restaurant with traditional architecture


Exceptional Landscaped Garden in Tokyo

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Happo-en is a Japanese garden in the Shirokanedai area, located in Minato Ward in the south of Tokyo. The venue is well-known for hosting luxury events but its traditional landscape is also open to the public on the daytime, and for evening light-ups in spring and in autumn.

Located in the former feudal capital (1603 – 1868), in the south of Edo’s heart, the site of the future Happo-en garden was first the residence of samurai Okubo Tadataka (1560 – 1639). Its ownership was later transferred to the Shimazu Clan, and in moderne times, the place became the properties of influential businessmen: Shibusawa Eiichi (1840 - 1931) and Fusanosuke Kuhara (1869 - 1965) during the Showa Era (1926 - 1989).

In this later period, Kochuan, its gastronomic restaurant, was inaugurated and the garden was also given its current name (八芳園), which means that the landscape’s beauty can be admired from all directions. In 2023, Happo-en celebrated its 80th anniversary.

Happo-en (Tokyo), Night illumination in blue

A landscaped park associating 4 natural elements

Laid out around a central pond, the Japanese garden was also designed including the 4 natural elements:

  • Trees (樹 ki);
  • Stones (石 ishi);
  • Water (水 mizu); and,
  • Earth (土 tsuchi), meaning the ground.

This splendid traditional park, of an about 2,6 hectares superficies, is made of small hills and lovely winding alleys. It is said that the garden is still home to trees offered by shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu to Okubo Tadataka. Among the elements to see, there are:

  • A beautiful collection of ancient bonsai, some being several centuries old; and,
  • An authentic resting pavilion built by the water and from which it is possible to admire the entire garden.

A sakura 🌸 viewing spot in spring, and a koyo 🍁 spot in fall, Happo-en can be visited all year round, all the more as it is free and with large opening hours. The garden is indeed frequently open in the evening: for visitors to enjoy the seasonal night illuminations, then at the occasion of private ceremonies and parties.

Happo-en (Tokyo), Couple doing a wedding photo shooting in the garden

An address for weddings and fancy parties

Several buildings (cafes, restaurants, a chapel and shrines) within the garden host private banquets, and especially wedding ceremonies. It is therefore not unusual to meet a bride and a groom wearing wonderful kimonos for a traditional wedding photo shooting.

The park can also be completely privatized for very select events. For example, Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida organized an informal banquet for U.S. President Joe Biden in Spring 2022 in Happo-en.

The garden successfully combines a stroll garden for all in the daytime and an exceptional site to hold high-end events in the evening. Shirokanedai area’s discovery can be completed by visiting the large Tokyo’s Institute for Nature Study, and the neighboring art museum (Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum), as well as the elegant Platinum Dori avenue, whose gingko bilobas turn yellow at the end of November.

⬇️ Further down this page, discover our visit guide in Happo-en and around.
By Kanpai Updated on March 19, 2024 Happo-en