Three Great Tokyo Parks You’ve Never Heard Of
If you’re tired of fighting the summer crowds at all the usual parks, then try heading to a spot that’s slightly off the locals' and tourists' beaten path.
What are your favorite Tokyo parks and why? Let us know in the comments, and in the meantime check out three of Savvy’s top picks for outdoor fun.
1. Kyodo no Mori, Fuchu
Forget about the fact that this park houses an open air museum showcasing traditional housing; what makes this tree-lined and lush parkland so special is the magnificent, cascading man-made water feature where anybody and everybody is allowed to wade or swim.
When August 31 comes and goes and, by Japanese standards, summer is deemed to be over, resulting in the majority of water parks and pools either closing or drastically slashing their opening hours (even though it still remains ludicrously hot well into September and sometimes October), Kyodo no Mori is the answer to your prayers. Splish splash with the kids, and make use of the vans parked nearby selling snacks, ice cream, non-alcoholic drinks, beer and chu-hi. Right next to the water is a large grassy area that’s great for kicking a ball around, or simply lying on to dry off.
Getting there: From Fuchu Station on the Keio Line, take the local bus to Kyodonomorimae (10 minutes)
Admission: ¥200 for adults, ¥100 for kids
Open: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
2. Kasai Rinkai Park
The largest park in central Tokyo, Kasai Rinkai Koen houses an aquarium, a sea bird sanctuary, a black sand beach where swimming is allowed, a massive Ferris wheel, marshlands and an observation building.
Built on reclaimed land in an effort to preserve some of Tokyo Bay’s natural habitat, this park is a good place to take a packed lunch and explore for the day. There are a myriad of walking trails that you can discover with the family, your sweetheart, or good friends. But to really get a good view of your surroundings and Tokyo, ride the Diamond and Flowers Ferris Wheel. At 117 meters high, it is the second tallest Ferris wheel in Japan, and on a clear day, you can even catch a glimpse of Mt. Fuji.
Getting there: 1-minute walk from Kasai Rinkai Koen Station on the JR Keiyo Line
3. Showa Kinen Park, Tachikawa
With outdoor barbecues, areas set aside for numerous activities including croquet and lawn bowling, and beautiful gardens with diverse plant life, Showa Kinen Park is one of Tokyo’s best-kept secrets.
Hire a bike and cycle around some of the park’s 14 kilometers of paths, or rent a paddleboat to navigate its lake. Visit in May, during the Flower Festival and see a kaleidoscope of color blossoming before your eyes, or take in the stunning autumn colors in the later part of the year. Kids and adults alike will love jumping on the huge bouncy dome.
A great spot to picnic with friends or families, the park has strollers, baby beds and changing facilities available, as well as hot water if required! For opening hours and other information, check out the park website.
Is the weather not cooperating? Savvy mamas will also want to check out some of our favorite indoor places to go with kids here.
Photos: Fuchu no Mori by Elisabeth Lambert; Kasai Rinkai Park and Showa Kinen Park by Ajari.