Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden Walking Trail

When people hear Tokyo, they often imagine a vast, Blade Runner-like metropolis of skyscrapers and neon lights—which for parts of Tokyo is accurate. But Tokyo is huge and heterogeneous, with many oases where you can relax and appreciate the serenity of nature. Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is one of those.

We went to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden the day after a typhoon (one of the six during our trip). With hurricanes in Florida, you usually get clear, cool weather afterwards; in Japan, you get clear weather, but it’s unusually hot. We found this out the hard way! Luckily this garden is full of shade.

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Miami Beach Botanical Garden: A Tranquil Oasis

Panama Queen Miami Beach Botanical Garden

Panama Queen  or Coral Aphelandra (Aphelandra sinclairiana)

A couple weeks ago, Corey and I fled Chicago to Miami for some much-needed sunshine. Two of the things we miss most about living in Florida are the close proximity of nature and the relative ease of escaping into it.

Miami Beach Botanical Garden is a tranquil oasis, away from the party culture and entertainment tourism typical of South Beach. It’s a small park, but manages to showcase a wide a variety of plants—both local and exotic—and contains meandering paths, a Japanese garden, small ponds, a softly flowing fountain, and a hidden gazebo.

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