Home » Kitanomaru Park – great for spring & autumn photos

Kitanomaru Park – great for spring & autumn photos

Kitanomaru Park has strong ties to nearby Tokyo Imperial Palace.  So it’s a little strange it took me so long to get there.  Laugh if you will!  Still, it was good to photograph it finally.  It wasn’t exactly what I expected.   I didn’t find it very camera friendly.

Kitanomaru Park pond cherry blossoms

First, I have to say I made a small mistake visiting it for the first time in summer. Summer at the park is almost a sea of green. I didn’t find it very attractive for my camera, except for the hydrangeas. The pond in the middle did look nice, though. Other than that, I couldn’t find many options for photographs.

hydrangea plant

To experience the park at its best, go in autumn or spring.  During those seasons, there are more flowers throughout the grounds.  Chidorigafuchi Green Way, over the moat, is famous for its cherry blossoms in spring.  Autumn is good too when the tree leaves change color.

This is what makes it pleasant to have a walk or go jogging.  There are even some winding paths in the park and one of the old Edo-era gates to explore.  And then there are the museums.  But not much for photography.

Kitanomaru park waterfall

The most interesting subject is a little waterfall. It has a drop of about three meters.  It makes for good long exposures.

Kitanomaru Park was in the northeastern part of Edo Castle, known as the Kitanomaru.   Tokugawa family members used it as a medicinal garden and a residential compound.  When Imperial power returned, it was a base for the Imperial Guard.

cherry blossoms near Kitanomaru Park pond

After World War II, most buildings were removed.  Only the Meiji period headquarters (erected in 1910) remained.  That became home to the Craft Gallery.  In 1969 the park opened to the public to commemorate the sixtieth birthday of Showa Emperor.

Why do photographers like Kitanomaru park?

  • Cherry blossoms (in spring)
  • Nippon Budokan
  • park grounds (woods, waterfalls, pond, etc.)
  • Science Museum (unfortunately, not free)
  • Shigeru Yoshida (a former Japanese Prime Minister) statue
  • It’s a great place to practice outdoor model photography.
man walking over bridge

Tips for photography at the park

There isn’t much to say, except summer is hard work. The park has some old walls and gates but no sweeping landscapes or cityscapes. Your options are limited.  Creativity is needed.  Spring and autumn will offer much more.  

Where is Kitanomaru Park?

Kitanomaru Park is in the middle of Tokyo.  It is between the Imperial Palace and Yasukuni Shrine.  You can easily walk from one to the next.

Closest train/subway station:

If you are looking for the closest train/subway station is Kundanshita.  You can get there by the Hanzomon, Tozai, or Toei-Shinjuku lines.  Leave via Exit 2, and Kitanomaru Park is about a five-minute walk.

Here is a Google map:

Opening hours

Twenty-four hours a day.

picnic under Kitanomaru Park tree

Admission costs


Other photo spots near Kitanomaru Park

Wrapping Up

Kitanomaru Park isn’t a must-see for photographers.  It seems more suited to picnics and resting by the pond during the hotter months.  For pictures, spring and autumn are best.  

But, it does work for particular purposes like model photography.  I have seen a lot of people there doing that.  Kitanomaru doesn’t attract huge amounts of people.  That means you’ll have a lot of space.  You’ll be able to do what you want.

Shachihoko on roof

I wouldn’t make a special trip to Kitanomaru.  It’s not a bad park, but it doesn’t rank with others in Tokyo like Shinjuku Gyoen or Showa Memorial.  Those have far more to offer.  But, if you were in the area during spring or autumn, drop in and see what you can find.

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