Sunny weather? How about a lunch picnic at Kitanomaru Garden?

Tokyo has many large, beautiful parks. Even in the city center, you can find calm green spots surrounded by busy neighborhoods and skyscrapers. So how about escaping from the crowds and relaxing at the park on a beautiful sunny day? For this article, I ordered some take-out at a popular avocado restaurant and had a picnic at Kitanomaru Garden.

‘avocafe’ is a restaurant specializing in avocado cuisine. There are only two stores in Japan: one is in Okinawa, the other one is in Jimbocho, Tokyo’s book town. From their vast variety of main dishes to desserts, everything is made using avocados – even their ice cream bowl!

The take-out menu features a gorgeous ‘Makunouchi Bento’ (a standard bento-style of rice and some side dishes) as well as a daily bento and other dishes. There is something for anyone, especially if you’re a fan of avocados.

You can take the avocado seeds at the cash register for free! A poster explains how to grow an avocado plant using the avocado seed.

Once you got your lunch-box, head to Kitanomaru Garden by walking through the bookstore district Jimbocho. It should take you about 15 minutes on foot to reach the entrance of the park.

Kanda Suzuran-Dori Street and Sakura-Dori Street, which are located just behind the main street. These two shopping streets have a unique atmosphere.

During the Edo period (1603-1868), Kitanomaru Garden was part of Edo Castle. Nowadays, the park is home to a handful of popular museums and has been turned into a refreshing green space that is open to the public.

A map of Kitanomaru Garden

Even today, you can find some historic places inside the park. One of these places is the Edo Castle Shimizu Gate, one of the entrances to the park. It’s a gate with an atmosphere reminding me of the locations used in Akira Kurosawa’s samurai movie “Ran”. There is no straight road leading inside. Instead, you have to turn right and left, and climb some steps. Then, there finally is the park gate.

Shimizu Gate
It is said that this labyrinth-like structure was to prevent enemies from getting inside the castle.

Everywhere in Kitanomaru Garden, you will find benches and tables that are placed in the shade, or in the middle of wide lawns, and near lakes where seasonal flowers bloom. I decided to eat lunch at a table by the lake!

It’s a very large park and a great place to get away from the crowds of the city.

So, do you want to know how I liked my lunchbox? It was fantastic and really special. One big avocado half was placed right next to the white rice. It felt a little unusual but very innovative to have an avocado as the main side dish. The big avocado half had a taberu raayu topping, which is a new type of chili sauce, with coarsely chopped ingredients, such as garlic. The combination with chili oil was lovely and very tasty!

‘Makunouchi Bento’ contains a huge avocado.
This is an avocado and rafute (Okinawan braised pork belly) bowl which was the daily bento of that day.

Having a picnic lunch at the park on a warm, sunny day makes everyone happy. So when visiting Kitanomaru Garden, don’t forget to bring something to eat!

Relaxing with a fruit and avocado smoothie! Remember to take your trash home. There are no trashcans!
avocafe Jimbocho Main Store
Wealth Building 3F, 1-2-9 Kanda Jimbocho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Google Maps:
Nearest station: Jimbocho Station, Ochanomizu Station

Kitanomaru Garden
1-1 Kitanomaru-Koen, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Google Maps:
Location of the Edo Castle Shimizu Gate:
Nearest stations: Kudanshita Station, Takebashi Station