10 Romantic Spots for Perfect Proposals

These picture-perfect locations are the best places for popping the question

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Why wait until your honeymoon to travel, when you can fly off to your dream destination for your engagement? Japan offers several picturesque proposal-worthy pockets, no matter what your couple-personality is.


For Plant Parents: Shinjuku Gyoen (Tokyo)


Shinjuku Gyoen hosts Japanese, French, and English landscaped gardens, and a tropical and subtropical greenhouse with walking paths and quiet ponds, permeating through its landscape. Its Kyu Goryotei (Taiwan Pavilion) was built especially for the Showa Emperor’s wedding.


When to go:


Spring (late March to early April) for cherry blossom season


Autumn (first two weeks of November) for the chrysanthemum exhibit at the Japanese garden; (November to mid-December) for the maple trees on the park’s eastern side

 

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Shinjuku Gyoen is located at 11 Naitomachi, Shinjuku City, Tokyo and is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (except on Tuesdays if Monday is a national holiday, and December 29 to January 3). It is a 5-minute walk from the Shinjukugyoenmae Station on the Marunouchi Line.


For Zen-thusiasts: Ryoan-ji Temple (Kyoto)


Home to Japan’s most famous rock garden, this villa-turned-Zen temple dates back to the 1400s. Ryoan-ji’s biggest draw is its rectangular plot with 15 rocks laid out in small groups. It’s said that no matter where you view the rocks, you’ll never be able to see all 15 of them at one time.


When to go:


All-year round, in the morning to avoid large crowds

 


Ryoan-ji Temple is located at 13 Ryoanji Goryonoshitacho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, and is open in March to November from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and in December to February from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It is a 30-minute JR bus ride from the Kyoto Station. For more information, you can visit their website


For Sporty Folks: Yoyogi Park (Tokyo)


Yoyogi Park was a former residential area for US military personnel, and was also the site of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Known more for its lawns, ponds, and forested areas than its cherry trees (it has considerably less than other parks in the city), it’s a great secret cherry blossom site for those who want to avoid the crowds.


When to go:


Spring (late March to early April) for cherry blossom season


Autumn (November to mid-December) for the golden ginko tree forest


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Yoyogi Park is located at 2-1 Yoyogikamizonocho, Shibuya City, Tokyo and is open from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. It is a 5-minute walk from Harajuku Station.

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For Museum Buffs: Ueno Park (Tokyo)


This large public park isn’t just about the 1,000 cherry trees located along its central pathway—it’s home to several museums, too. You’ll find the Tokyo National Museum, the National Museum for Western Art, the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, the National Science Museum, and the Ueno Zoo—Tokyo’s first zoological garden—all within the grounds.


When to go:


Spring (late March to early April) for cherry blossom season


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Ueno Park is located at 4 Uenokoen, Taito City, Tokyo and is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m (except on Tuesdays when Monday is a public holiday, and December 29 to January 3). It is a 1-minute walk from Ueno Station.


For Writers and Lit Lovers: Rikugi-en (Tokyo)


The literal translation of Rikugi-en is “six poems garden,” which makes it an ideal spot for those who have a love affair with the written word. The park was built in 1700 and hosts miniature reproductions of 88 scenes from famous poems. With teahouses, a large central pond, leisure trails, a stream, manmade hills, and forested areas, it is a charming spot for readers, poets, and writers alike.


When to go:


Spring (late March to early April) for the weeping cherry trees; and (April to May) for the azalea bushes


Autumn (late November to early December) for views from its Fujishirotoge viewpoint


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Rikugi-en is located at 6-16-3 Honkomagome, Bunkyo City, Tokyo and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with evening lights up to 9 p.m. during autumn color and cherry blossom seasons. It is a 5 to 10-minute walk south of Komagome Station. 


For Flower Children: Kawachi Fuji Garden (Fukuoka)


It isn’t easy to gain access to this private garden, which is most famous for its 100-meter long wisteria tunnels with roofs of drooping flowers. Tickets go on sale via Japanican starting February, and at 7-Eleven and Family Mart by March. An extremely popular spot for Japanese tourists during Golden Week (April 29 to May 5), it features bamboo groves and maple trees, too.


When to go:


Spring (mid-April to mid-May) for wisteria season


Autumn (mid-November to early December) for autumn color season


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Kawachi Fuji Garden is located at 2-4-8 Yahatagashi Ward, Kitakyushu, Fukuoka and is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. during wisteria season, and 9 a.m. to 5.p.m. during autumn color season. It is a 45 to 55-minute walk from the Kamishigeta stop of the Nishitetsu bus number 56.

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For Superstitious Couples: Meiji Shrine (Tokyo)


Located in the Meiji Jingu forest, the Meiji Shrine is famous for its huge gate (tori), its inner garden known for its irises, and its 400-year old well. Meiji Shrine also plays host to Shinto activities such as offerings, charms, and amulets; and writing out one’s wishes on small wooden plaques known as “ema.”


When to go:


Spring to Summer (May to July) for iris season




Meiji Shrine is located at 1-1 Yoyogikamizonocho, Shibuya City, Tokyo and is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or 4:00 p.m. from November to February. It is a 2-minute walk from Harajuku Station.


For City Slickers: Mori Tower (Tokyo)


If you want to skirt the crowds at Tokyo Skytree, Roponggi Hills’ Mori Tower’s observation deck is a posh and lovely spot giving you a wonderful view of the city. The 238-meter tall tower is one of the tallest buildings in the city and also hosts a modern art museum. If you’re willing to drop some cash, it’s also a hop, skip and a jump away from the Grand Hyatt.


When to go:


All-year round


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Mori Tower is located at 6-10-1 Roponggi, Minato City, Tokyo and is open from 10 a.m.-11 p.m. and until 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The Sky Deck opens from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. when the weather permits. It is a 5-minute walk from the Hibiya Line platform of Roponggi Station.


For Traditionalists: Kinosaki Onsen (Kansai)


Nestled between mountains and sea, this hot spring town has all the elements to bring the ideal spa break together: ryokan, open air hot springs, delicious food, bamboo forests, and traditional Japanese architecture. During cherry blossom season, you can look forward to blooms illuminated in the evenings.


When to go:


Spring (late March to early April) for cherry blossom season


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Kinosaki Onsen is located in the Hyogo prefecture, 2.5 hours away from Kyoto. For more information, you can visit their website.


For Animal Lovers: Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan (Osaka)


Explore the depths of the Pacific Rim and take the proposal plunge amidst the famous nine-meter-deep aquarium that is home to the whale shark. The eight-story aquarium spirals down, taking visitors through 15 different tanks stretched over several floors.


When to go:


All-year round




Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is located at 1-1-10 Kaigandori, Minato Ward, Osaka and is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (opening and closing times vary slightly depending on the season). It is a 5-minute walk from Osakako Station. For more information, you can visit their website.

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Additional photos courtesy of Chinggay Labrador. 


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