Once the residence of the powerful Tokugawa clan, this woodland park has been a haven for walkers, couples and visitors since opening to the public in 1969.
The park encompasses the Budokan, famous as a martial arts training center and concert venue, and close by is the Museum of Modern Art Tokyo (MOMAT) and its craft gallery as well as the Showa Memorial Museum.
The most convenient entrance to the park is from the Kudanshita side, through the Tayasu-mon Gate, just a two-minute walk from Kudanshita Station on the Tozai, Hanzomon and Shinjuku subway lines.
Once part of the Edo Castle grounds, the park retains several original gates and sections of the moat. The pond is the focal point of Kitanomaru, and a little brook plays hide-and-seek among the trees. If you need a culture fix, check out the National Museum of Modern Art or the Science Museum housed within.
During the spring, Kitanomaru Park is a wonderful spot for a picnic under pink cherry blossoms or gaze at the boats floating in the moat (and you can rent a boat if you like). Toward the west side of the park you'll find Momiji-en, a garden of maple trees that turn fiery red in the fall. Around the pond are several huge gingko trees adorned with bright golden leaves from late November to early December.
Keep your eyes open for the local wildlife, since the garden is also a wild bird sanctuary, with lots of berry-laden trees and bushes scattered around to tempt feathery visitors to stay.