Sometimes I think Mogusaen is the red-headed stepchild of Tokyo parks. I really do. It seems to get so little attention. It’s a little far from the center of Tokyo. And once you get out to there, you find it isn’t in the ideal location. That’s how most people seem to look at it. See what I mean? He’s not a naughty boy, just not given a fair chance. Just look at him the right way, and you might find he’s actually a very nice cute little boy.
Yes, Mogusaen only has a couple of tricks to keep your attention, but they are seriously good tricks. In spring it has 500 of them, all plum trees. And believe me they are worth seeing – white, pink and yellow. As soon as you walk in, almost to the very top of the hill, the place is covered with them – it is one of the best places, probably the best place to see plum blossoms in Tokyo. There are even two places in the park where several trees have historical significance.
If you make your way to the very top, provided there is no heavy cloud cover, you can enjoy some exceptional views. In one direction you’ll be able to see all the way to Shinjuku and even Tokyo Skytree on one side, and on the other will be Mt. Fuji. In both spring and autumn this view, I think, is spectacular. As for summer and winter, to be honest, are a little lackluster as they have little to offer. I think this is the part where the park gets treated like red headed stepchild. Every other park in Tokyo seems to have something to offer in every season, but not this one … poor boy.
And now for thing everyone finds fault with. The location … well, it is located on a big hill, so even getting there might be a trial for some people who have any health or physical problems. Seriously, the hill is pretty steep. And once you are inside, as you might have already guessed, is all uphill. But don’t let that put you off. No pain, no gain as they say.
Other than that, there are some monuments to Japanese literary figures, Bokusui Wakayama and Basho Matsuo, that is pretty much it. There used to be a great soba shop there that occupied Shorenan House, which has unfortunately closed, leaving only a couple of kiosk-type places that sell only drinks and snacks.
So, for some people, Mogusaen isn’t that big and lacks the all-round versatility of Shinjuku Gyoen, Rikugien and Kyu-Shiba Rikyu Gardens (another tiny park) I honestly think it is worth a visit, especially in spring for the plum blossoms. And even though some might consider it a little far from the center of Tokyo, once you get there and on top of the hill, it is wonderful. Being on that hill from where you can see for miles and is wonderful.
If you are a plum blossom lover and don’t mind traveling a little, then I highly recommend this little park. But if you are on limited time, then other parks in Tokyo like Koishikawa-Korakuen (which is also famous for its plum blossoms) might be for you. You can see Mogusaen’s website here.
How to get to Mogusaen
Mogusaen is a little far from Shinjuku, but quite easy to get to. Take a Keio line express train to Fuchu station, then change to a local train and take it four stops to Mogusaen station. From the station’s south exit Mogusaen park is about a 15 minute.
Here is a Google map to show you the way:
Opening hours for Mogusaen
Mogusaen is open from 9am to 5 pm, however in November and December it closes at 4:30 pm. It is closed on Wednesdays (or Thursday if the Wednesday is a holiday) and over the New Year period (i.e. December 30 to January 3).
General entry to Mogusaen for adults is 300 yen and 100 yen for children.
If you enjoyed this article you might also enjoy:
Edo-Tokyo Museum – learn some of the history of this great city
Kiba Park – my favourite park in Tokyo
Nezu Shrine – an historical shrine and a really beautiful one!
Tama Cemetery – another of Tokyo’s amazing cemeteries
Roppgongi Hills – a superb observatory