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.
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.
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.
There is also a Misty Forest that suddenly releases fogs which makes the visitor feel like walking in the clouds.
There is a also a giant Bouncing Dome where children can enjoy jumping to their hearts’ content.
I personally enjoyed watching the children having a great time playing inside and out the dragons buried in the ground.
As well as finding our way out between the big boulders.
There is also a Forest House for those who want to learn wood crafts.
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.
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.
It also serves as home to the National Museum of Bonsai which features a variety of prized bonsai species.
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.
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.
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.
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.