4 Botanical Hangouts in Tokyo
Sometimes when you’ve been in the city for too long, you crave a little nature—for a breath of fresh air; to ground you; to feel relaxed. You can drive an hour out of some cities and find yourself in a green space. But when you’re in the truly massive expanse of urbanity that is Tokyo, it’s kind of a different story. If you find yourself desperate for a bit of greenery but don’t have enough time to go on a day trip, why not visit some of these places? They’re easy to access and all feature some of the city’s most vibrant and beautiful flora!
Image courtesy of Botanist.
A few steps from the iconic LaForet department store in Harajuku is a gorgeously green shop called Botanist. Botanist is a Japanese beauty brand offering affordable body and hair care products that are made from a wide variety of plants and smell heavenly. The shop is a minimalist’s dream: monochrome, spacious, and with calming green plants hanging from the walls, it’s truly the epitome of the word “fresh”. But wait, there’s more! Take a look upstairs and you’ll find a café that continues the same aesthetic with plants but with a touch of magic delivered by fairy lights! The menu has a good range of options including vegetarian and vegan dishes. They also offer seasonal items like the cherry blossom burger during Spring, so be on the look-out for any exclusive items when you visit!
Image courtesy of Japan Guide.
One of Tokyo’s biggest and most beautiful parks is Shinjuku Gyoen. It features a Japanese garden, an English garden, and a French garden. There’s also a greenhouse if you visit during the winter months! It’s known as one of the best places to view Japan’s awe-inspiring cherry blossoms in the springtime. Every year thousands of locals and tourists flock to the park in the early hours of the morning to stake their claim on the best picnic spot. And if you’ve ever wanted to be the protagonist of a movie, now you can! The famous animated film Garden of Words is mostly set in Shinjuku Gyoen, and with the hyper-realistic style you feel like you’re visiting the real park.
Image courtesy of Aoyama Flower Market.
Aoyama Flower Market
Flower shops are kind of a big deal in Japan. There are many species of flowers that are unique to the country and flower arranging (ikebana) is an art form. You’ll see florists on nearly every street corner, but the most popular is a chain called Aoyama Flower Market. As you enter the store, you’re greeted with a charming display of different types of flower arrangements that change according to the season and occasion. There might be sunflowers, lilies of peace, or birds of paradise all depending on what’s been freshly grown. The chain’s biggest stores in Tokyo, located in Aoyama, Kichijoji and Akasaka, are also home to the Aoyama Flower Market Tea House. You’re sure to find the most Instagram-worthy food here: french toast, parfait, salads—perfectly decorated with edible flowers!
Image courtesy of Kay Knofi.
If you are a keen thrifter, you’ll probably have heard of Shimokitazawa—a district of Tokyo with many a thrift store. And now, due to the area’s popularity with fashionistas, there has been an upsurge of retail brands setting up shop. One particularly quirky store is CUNE. On their website, their concept reads: “We do not ask you to buy. We just want you to keep an eye on what we are doing from a distance”—pretty unconventional for a brand! But where does the green come in, you ask? The Shimokitazawa branch of CUNE has a café with an indoor tree, green frog characters, and green mood lighting. It’s definitely a cozier, more low-key vibe than the other places on our list of green hangouts and the coffee is pretty cheap, too!
Written by Kay.