Akatsuka Botanical Garden: Garden of Man’yō and Medicinal Plants

The main entrance to Akatsuka Botanical Garden
The main entrance to Akatsuka Botanical Garden


Akatsuka shokubutsuen man’yō-yakuyōen
Akatsuka Botanical Garden: Garden of Man’yō and Medicinal Plants




Akatsuka 5-17-14, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo


TEL: 03(3579)2533 (Japanese only)
d-midori@city.itabashi.tokyo.jp (Japanese only)



Opening hours

The garden is open seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (4:00 p.m. between December-February). It is closed between 28 December-4 January every year.

The Garden Office is closed every Monday, except when this falls on  a public holiday, when it is closed the following working day.


The garden is approximately 16 minutes walk from either Shimo akatsuka (下赤塚) or Narimasu (成増) stations on the Tōbu Tōjō line from Ikebukuro.

Alternatively, from the north exit of Narimasu station, take a bus bound for either Shimura sanchōme station (志村三丁目駅) or the west exit of Akabane station (赤羽駅西口) and get off at Akatsuka hacchōme (赤塚八丁目). The garden is approximately five minutes walk from this bus-stop.


The pond and marsh area of the garden.
The pond and marsh area of the garden.

The Man’yō garden is reached by walking up the hill along the paths of the main botanical garden itself. Upon exiting the garden by the rear exit, one is immediately faced by the Man’yō garden. This is broadly divided into three sections, covering plants of the plains, plants of the mountains, and plants of the marshes. A small pond forms a centre piece for the garden, crossed by a zig-zag wooden bridge, while a series of gravel paths meander through the garden, past the plants, and occasional benches where one can take a rest and relax while contemplating the beauties of nature. The Man’yō plants are marked with plaques giving their modern Japanese name, Man’yō name, and a sample poem, and about 90 of the approximately 160 plants referenced in the Man’yōshū are represented.

Both the main Botanical Garden, and the garden of Man’yō and Medicinal Plants are mini-oases of nature in the midst of urban Tokyo, which account for their popularity with the local people, although when I visited, early on a weekday morning, just after opening time, they were virtually empty, giving a welcome moment of solitude and peace after the hectic pace of Tokyo life.


Akatsuka Botanical Garden was established as the first municipal botanical garden in Tokyo in 1981. It covers approximately one hectare and hosts about 600 different varieties of plants. The garden of Man’yō and Medicinal Plants was established later, in 1986, when the local government had the opportunity to acquire the land immediately behind the main garden and, given the Botanical Garden’s proximity to a number of cultural and religious facilities (Itabashi Art Museum, Jōrenji temple – home to the Big Buddha of Tokyo), it was decided that the extension to the garden should contribute to the cultural and educational character of the locality, resulting in the decision to create a garden of Man’yō and Medicinal Plants. Prior to the construction of the garden, the land was residential, and some of the established trees, being Man’yō plants themselves, were retained and incorporated into the garden when it was built.

Principal Plants


Java water dropwort Rabbit ear Iris  Common Reeds Water fringe


Cogon Grass
Japanese bindweed
Japanese dock
Golden valerian
Asiatic Dayflower
Maiden grass
Northeastern violets
Superb pinks


Mountain lily
Dwarf lilyturf
Madder Blackberry lily

Trees and Other Plants

Japanese pieris
Japanese cherry
Japanese bush cherry
Japanese big-leaf magnolia
Hamilton’s spindletree
Japanese bitter orange
Torch azalea
Japanese star anise
Pussy willow
Japanese snowbell
Japanese apricot
Large flowererd barrenwort
Japanese camelia
Neem tree
Asiatic Jasmine


'Simply moving and elegant'