Exploring Japan Our Slice of Tokyo

Afternoon Stroll at Showa Kinen Park

Last Sunday, my husband and I went to Showa Kinen Park in Tachikawa.  It is still part of Tokyo metropolis but a little far west from Tokyo Central. Going there, we went to Nakano via Tozai Line from Nishi-Kasai and transferred to Chuo Line going to Takao. We were fortunate to catch the Ome Special Rapid because we only had three or four stops between Nakano and Shin-Tachikawa station. Finding the park from Shin-Tachikawa station was so easy. Right outside the station, one can immediately see the gate of the park.

At the gate of Showa Kinen Park are automated ticket machines where we bought our entrance tickets. There is also a small window for those who prefer to buy tickets from the staff.  Tickets for adults over 15 years old cost 410 yen each; 80 yen for children between 6 to 14 years old; and 210 yen for adults over 65 years old. Discounts are also available for groups with 20 or more while children below 6 years old are free.

 

About Showa Kinen Park

The park was built in 1983 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Emperor Hiroto’s reign. When he died in 1989, he was given the name “Showa” which people started to call him since 1990. He was the 124th emperor of Japan based on traditional order of succession.  Emperor Hiroto governed Japan from 1925 to 1989. He was the first emperor to travel Europe and the USA. He was also the emperor when the World War 2 happened.

The establishment of the park started in 1975 however it took eight years before it was fully completed due to its vast area. The park was placed in a former Tachikawa Air Base with a land area of about 180 hectares. It is further subdivided into five (5) zones to cater to the various recreational areas.

 

Exploring the Zones of Showa Kinen Park

My husband and I started somewhere in the middle (Zone C) since we entered from Shin-Tachikawa gate. We were first welcomed by blooming flowers in different colors and a refreshing view of Waterfowl Lake. There were boats for people to enjoy and a restaurant for those who wish to relax and eat. As we walked a little further, our attention was caught by the laughters and giggles of the children having fun at the Water Playland.

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Colorful Blooms Welcomed Us at Showa Kinen Park

 

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People on Boats at Waterfowl Lake

 

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Kids Beating the Heat at Water Playland

 

It was around 12 noon but we were not bothered by the sun’s heat because of the shady trees in Zone D. This zone is intended to create a green relaxing space for its visitors. There is an open field for different activities, a sports area. and a barbecue garden.

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Enjoying the Sakura Shades

 

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Barbecue Party: A Fun Way to Enjoy the Nice Sunny Day

 

As we reached Zone E, the wind feels cooler and the shades of the trees became darker. Zone E was created to preserve the image of a dense forest. For me, this zone is a must-see when visiting Showa Kinnen Park.  There are lot of things to do and see for kids and adults. We first went to the area for kids and kids-at-heart. The Children’s Forest has several playgrounds decorated with colorful stones.

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Colorful Stones Everywhere!

 

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Small Glass Ball with Stone Arts at the Children’s Forest

 

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Huge Play Area at Rainbow Hammock

There is also a Misty Forest that suddenly releases fogs which makes the visitor feel like walking in the clouds.

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Children Mystified with the White Clouds

There is a also a giant Bouncing Dome where children can enjoy jumping to their hearts’ content.

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Jumping and Yelling on the Big Bouncing Dome

 

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The Pyramid of the Sun at Showa Kinen Park

I personally enjoyed watching the children having a great time playing inside and out the dragons buried in the ground.

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Bejeweled Dragons Buried in Showa Kinen Park

As well as finding our way out between the big boulders.

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Finding Our Way Out

There is also a Forest House for those who want to learn wood crafts.

 

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Workshop for Wood Craft Lovers

Next to the Children Forest is  the Japanese Garden. On our way, we saw a group of not-so-old-but-not-so-young men enjoying a friendly competition of Frisbee golf.

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Playing the Frisbee Golf

 

The Japanese Garden

The Japanese Garden inside Showa Kinen Park combines the tranquility of a traditional Japanese garden and the freshness of the forest. There is a big lake in the middle which serves as one of the garden’s main features. There are also small streams and falls in the periphery.

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A Serene Ambiance Inside the Japanese Garden

 

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Enjoying the Sound from Small Streams and Falls

 

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Wooden Pathway to Enjoy the Irises

 

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Showa Kinen Park is Home to Dragonflies too!

It also serves as home to the National Museum of Bonsai which features a variety of prized bonsai species.

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Information About Bonsai History and Techniques Inside the National Museum of Bonsai

 

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The Bonsais of All Bonsais! Thumb-size Bonsai Species

 

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Prized Bonsai Inside Showa Kinen Park

Still in Zone E and a few meters away from the Japanese Garden is the Komorebi Village. It is a reproduction of a farm village on the Musashino Plain in the 1950s and 1960s. The village exhibits different technologies and tools used in farming and agriculture.

 

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Farm Life at Showa Kinen Park

 

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Traditional Way of Making Silk

 

The Flora of Showa Kinen Park

Showa Kinen Park is famous for its natural greenery as well as its flowers. We were lucky to catch the ajisai or hydrangeas in full bloom. We also enjoyed huge walking in the middle of huge iris flowers. And their herb garden is to die for.

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Enjoying Summer with Hydrangeas

 

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Best Time to Enjoy Irises

 

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One of the Park’s Many Cones

 

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Fragrant Herb Garden at Showa Kinen Park

 

The Green Zone

For our last leg, we visited Zones B and A on our way to Tachikawa Station. Zone B serves as a linking path between the center park and Tachikawa Entrance Gate. It has a more formal approach in terms of garden design because of the finely sculpted topiaries, a canal, and a big fountain.

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Enjoying the Symmetry and Forms

A little further is Zone A which is also known as the Green Zone that combines urban living and green environment. What I love most in this zone is its floating garden on top of the Hanamidori Cultural Center. Coming from Showa Kinnen Park, I did not immediately notice that I was already at the floating garden until I saw the escalator connecting to the ground floor. On top, it feels like a natural park. And from the ground, it looks magical with all the big trees and grasses on it.

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Hanamidori Cultural Center: Museum at the Bottom, Garden on Top

 

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The Floating Garden from a Far

 

 

 

 

 

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