My velvet escape travel tip” is a guest series about what the name ‘Velvet Escape’ evokes and what that would be in the hometown of the guest writer. With this series, I hope to uncover travel tips from places around the world to help visitors have a truly local experience.

Tokyo, the capital city of Japan. My home for the past eight years and a place I’ve grown to love for many different reasons. People I talk to, including friends back home, have a perception that this city is little more than a concrete jungle with salarymen, business deals, and regular crazy commutes being the order of the day. It’s certainly true that Tokyo has it’s fair share of urban stereotypes, but one of its secrets you slowly uncover when you spend some time here are the little pockets of serenity dotted around the city. Hidden velvet escapes waiting to be found. The best way to find them? Hit the streets and forget your guidebook.

Shinjuku-gyoen during hanamiSo what’s my favorite velvet escape in Tokyo? For me it’s Shinjuku Gyoen .

Shinjuku epitomizes in many ways the stereotypical urban landscape, but right in the heart of it, not far from the main train station, is a place I find my peace. Shinjuku Gyoen is about a 10 minute walk from the South Exit of Shinjuku station and if I need to get off the streets and retreat from the city hussle, this is the place for me.

Whatever the time of year, this is a beautiful place to be. There’s the cherry blossom festival, summer celebrations, and the gorgeous colors of the leaves in the Fall just to get you started. The noise and smells of the city completely disappear to be replaced by the sound of running water, birds singing, and the rustle of leaves in a gentle breeze. It’s a place where I can wish, dream, forget, or just watch the world go by.

I hope you find this Tokyo velvet escape as relaxing and peaceful as I do.

About this week’s guest writer
HonorHonor Dargan has lived in Tokyo since 2001 and has developed her own website to help people visiting Japan. Her goal? Tokyo made simple. If you want to learn more about travel to this amazing capital city visit her site, TokyoTopiaand start planning!

Follow Honor on Twitter.

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