A Hidden Gem: Ikuta Ryokuchi Park In Kawasaki
Free & Fun locations near Tokyo
People chatting, people laughing; a man selling ice cream, singing Japanese songs. It's Saturday in the Ikuta Ryokuchi Park, and no, it doesn't have to be the 4th of July.
Just west of Tokyo, 20 minutes on the Odakyu Line from Shinjuku, you will find Mukogaoka-Yuen station. Take a short walk from there and you’ll stumble upon one of Kawasaki’s most-prized parks: Ikuta Ryokuchi.
In addition to the three museums, traditional craft workshop and two cafes, Ikuta Ryokuchi boasts an impressive array of seasonal flora, making it a delightful destination in any season.
But it’s the unique mixture of indoor and outdoor features with stunningly beautiful koyo (leaves changing color) that can be seen throughout the park that makes Ikuta Ryokuchi a great autumn day trip with (or without) kids.
Here are five reasons why it’s worth taking a visit to Ikuta Ryokuchi this autumn.
1. Picturesque Walkways Galore
Inside the park you can find cobblestone paths that lead you through towering redwoods, offering glimpses of the folk houses inside the open-air museum, past peaceful ponds and picturesque huts and all the way up Mt. Matsugata. I challenge you to meander the paths and NOT let a satisfied smile spread across your face.
2. Fountain Square: Picnic Perfection
In my opinion no park is complete without an open space for stretching out on the grass and enjoying a picnic. Ikuta Ryokuchi boasts a small but great one. It has several picnic tables, a clock tower and a bed of luscious green grass. It sits right next to the science museum, cafe and bathroom facilities. Next to the field there are two train cars that are open for children explore.
3. Science Museum and Planetarium
The Kawasaki Municipal Science Museum is not a large museum but contains a planetarium, making it an interesting visit for adults and children alike. Special sessions for kids and babies are usually held on Wednesdays twice per month.
4. Mt. Masugata Playground and Observation Tower
If you make the effort to hike up Mt. Masugata (using the word ‘hike’ liberally — it’s a 5-10 minute walk up a sharp hill), you will be treated with another open space with a playground. Head up the observation tower to take in views of Tokyo and Kanagawa. On a clear day, you can see Mt. Fuji and the ferris wheel at the nearby Yomiuriland theme park.
5. Open-Air Folk-House Museum
In 1965, the City of Kawasaki began to relocate traditional Japanese houses from all over Japan to the Open-Air Folk-House Museum so that residents might appreciate the beauty of traditional Japanese architecture. The museum, which holds 25 buildings including a shrine and a kabuki stage, provides a great opportunity to learn more about Japanese history and culture while keeping any young ones entertained.
Open-Air Folk-House Museum: 9:30am-5pm (4:30pm from Nov-Feb), adults ¥500, students ¥300, children (not yet in high school) free.
Science Museum and planetarium: 9:30am-5pm, entrance to the museum is free, entrance to the planetarium is ¥400 for adults, ¥200 for high school and university students, and free for children (not yet in high school). Also has a cafe.
Taro Okamoto Museum of Art: 9:30am-5pm, adults ¥500, children (not yet in high school) free. Also has a cafe.
Traditional Indigo Dyeing Workshop: Open hours are the same as the Open-Air Folk-House Museum, entrance is free.
Address: 7-1-10 Masugata, Tama-ku, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture
Entrance fee: Free! (Some facilities require admission fee)
Operating hours: 9:30am-5pm (Closed Mondays)