Hibiya Park is located in the Chiyoda City area of Tokyo, near the Imperial Palace and its gardens, the Shinbashi district, and the Kasumigaseki district. This 40-acre park is about as close to the center of Tokyo as it’s possible to be, but the wide open spaces and beautiful landscaping give travelers the chance to escape the city should they want some peace and quiet.
The park is perhaps best known for being home to the Shisei Kaikan, a Gothic brick building devoted to the city’s news services. Constructed in 1929, it was once home to the Domei Tsushin state wire service, as well as the Jiji Press and Kyodo News after World War II. Hibiya Park Tokyo also has tennis courts, though reservations are a must if you wish to play there, and two outdoor concert venues. The park also has wonderful rose gardens and is bicycle-friendly, making it a great place to spend time outdoors if you’re visiting Tokyo in the warm weather.
It’s possible to spend an entire day exploring Hibiya Park, and with half a dozen restaurants, a museum, the outdoor stage, and a few onsite shops to boot, you won’t go hungry or run out of things to do. In addition, there is a tulip garden, snack shops, two outdoor music domes, the Hibiya Library, and an underground parking lot. It’s also an easy journey to nearby Ginza if you wish to add some high-end shopping to your day in Hibiya.
This history of Hibiya Park is varied. Although it began as the grounds for a feudal lord’s palace, like many other Tokyo parks, there are unique aspects of social and military history as well. It was a military parade ground before being designated a public park in 1903, and its current peaceful atmosphere is at odds with its history as the site of the Hibiya Riots in 1905. Seventeen people were killed after the riots spread across the city, following the anti-Portsmouth Treaty protest that drew 30,000 people.
During World War II, nearly all the trees in Hibiya Park were cut down and any steel structures in the area were taken to as well, all to support the war effort. However, the post-war restoration effort, which included the construction of the 90-foot circular fountain in 1961, restored Hibiya to its original beauty, and this aesthetic sense persists into the 21st century.
Whether you come to Hibiya to see the historic curios, including stone currency from Yap Island, a Viking epitaph stone, an Italian statue of Romulus and Remus, and a chunk of gneiss rock from Antarctica, or simply to spend time relaxing on the grass, you’re sure to leave with fond memories of the area.
It is easy to reach Hibiya on the subway line, as it is a very short walk from both the Kasumigaseki and Yurakucho stations. Hibiya Park is open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, and admission is free, all of which makes this attraction a must-see during any Tokyo vacation—no matter when you go.