Perfect for a picnic! 16 relaxing parks in the Kanto area
As places where children can freely enjoy themselves, locations that become crowded with people enjoying cherry blossom parties in the spring, and areas that provide beautiful landscapes and environments for the city, parks are indispensable to our lives. There are various types of parks which serve different roles and here ANA carried out a project in collaboration with “Tastes of JAPAN by ANA,” which works to discover the most charming locations all over the country, and Trip Advisor, to introduce some of the most popular parks within metropolitan Tokyo and the 7 prefecture that make up the Kanto region.
Shinjuku Gyoen, which is a 10-minute walk from JR Shinjuku Station, was an imperial garden in the Meiji period. Along with three gardens, consisting of a Japanese garden, a French-style garden, and an English landscape garden, it also has a greenhouse, and as many as 10,000 trees. Often referred to as an “urban oasis,” it is appealing for its tranquility, which you wouldn’t expect to find within Tokyo, while also being renowned as a place for cherry blossoms in the spring and autumn leaves in the fall.
This park was built in commemoration of the 50th year of the Emperor Showa. Seasonal flowers bloom in the spacious garden and many events such as flower events are held here. In addition to strolling around the Japanese garden and Komorebi no Oka (“hill with sunlight filtering through the trees”), you can also enjoy activities such as cycling, boating, and barbecues. In summer, it opens its rainbow pool, which is the largest in the Tokyo metropolitan area.
This park is known as a famous place for flowers where various flowers bloom in every season, including narcissus and tulips in the spring, roses and sunflowers in the summer, and cosmos in the autumn. In particular, the nemophila (baby blue eyes) that color the vast “Miharashi no Oka” (hill with a view) in blue in the spring and Kochia summer cypress that create a crimson carpet in autumn are a must-see. A cycling course and a barbecue square are also set up in the park, allowing for very active enjoyment.
This park is named after the warlord, Ashikaga Shigeuji, also known as “Kogakubo”, who was prolific between the Muromachi period and Sengoku period. The park contains traces of Ashikaga’s Imperial Palace, a peach forest that reproduces the “Furukawa Momozono” (Furukawa peach grove) which was begun by Edo lords planting peach trees, and an open lawn space, and you can walk around it in about 1-2 hours. About 1500 peach blossoms bloom from late March to early April, and its beauty creates the impression of an earthly paradise.
This park is rich in nature, with broad thickets of quercus serrata and oaks surrounding the Igashiraike (Igashira pond) in the center of the park, where the sound of wild birds reverberate throughout. The park is most popular from late May to early June, when the rose garden is in full bloom, and during the summer vacation season when the popular swimming pool and waterslides are opened. You can also enjoy boating in the pond, along with cycling, and putter golf.
This park, located in the center of Utsunomiya, has attractions that the entire family can enjoy for the whole day. These include the Utsunomiya Tower, which overlooks the city, the “Adventure U” outdoor athletic facilities that include large playground equipment such as a Tarzan ropes and slippery slides, and animal houses with Japanese cranes and raccoons. It is also known as a famous flower spot in Utsunomiya and many cherry blossom viewers visit in the spring when about 800 cherry trees and 700 azaleas bloom.
This is a general park with several sports facilities such as a baseball field and an athletics field. While it is a famous place for flowers, with cherry blossoms and azaleas blooming in the spring and Japanese iris blooming in early summer, it is also known for its admission-free amusement park. You can enjoy rides at some of the lowest prices in the nation, including a merry-go-round and mini steam train for just 70 yen, a 65m-high Ferris wheel for 280 yen, and a roller coaster for 350 yen.
This park extends from north to south between the Tonegawa and Hirosegawa rivers. On the south side of the park are sports facilities such as athletic stadiums and baseball fields where J-League games are held, as well as rugby fields. It is popular as a place for recreation with rose gardens and children’s squares on the north side, which are also symbols of the park, as well as boat ponds. About 7,000 plants of about 600 species are planted in the rose garden and rose events are held in spring and autumn.
This park was built on the site of the Tokorozawa Airfield, which was the first airport in Japan. The two airplanes displayed in the park can be observed for free, and you can learn about the history of airplanes and airfields at the Tokorozawa Aviation Museum. There are other facilities such as a library, a dog run, tennis courts, a Japanese garden, tearoom, and various events are held on the outdoor stage.
This was the first national park in Japan, and it is so large that it has 4 entrances, 8 bus stops, and a 17km long cycling course. There are a variety of facilities for physical activities, such as Japan’s largest air trampoline and athletics equipment consisting of 24 kinds of playground equipment. You can also see cherished animals and plants in a variety of natural environments, such as thickets, ponds, swamps, and grasslands.
Sakura no yama Park, located on a hill next to Narita International Airport’s runway, is famous for its cherry blossoms and as being a great location where you can see airplanes from anywhere in the park. Depending on the time, you can see planes taking off and landing every few minutes. There is an observation deck and a large lawn open space, and many people from all over the country visit to take photographs of airplanes, have picnics, and so on.
This is a theme park inspired by Denmark and named after Hans Christian Andersen, a fairy tale writer born in Odense, Denmark, a sister city of Funabashi. The park, which has buildings reminiscent of Denmark, such as windmills, consists of five zones, including one of Japan’s largest outdoor athletic facilities and a children’s museum where you can enjoy creative experiences. It has a reputation for the beauty of its flowers throughout the four seasons.
Negishi Forest Park, which spreads over the hills of Yokohama and Negishidai, was built on the site of the Negishi Racetrack, which was Japan’s first full-fledged racetrack. There is only a small amount of playground equipment in the park, but there is a large open lawn space that takes advantage of the gentle natural hills. There is also a “Horse Museum” where you can learn about horses and horse racing, and you can also enjoy horse riding at the Pony Center.
Facing the port of Yokosuka, this is a historic city park built along the themes of water, light and sound, where a battleship of the Great Japanese Imperial Navy, that played an active part in the Russo-Japanese War, the Mikasa, is preserved. Inside the Mikasa, materials related to maritime activities are on display. At the fountain square in the center of the park, you can watch music and fountain shows every hour and a half and, in particular, when it is illuminated at night you can immerse yourself in a fantastic atmosphere
Located on a hill about 10 minutes by car from Yamanashishi Station, when the weather is nice you can see the Kofu basin with orchards spreading out into the distance and further away you can see a spectacular view of Mt. Fuji. In addition, the beauty of the night view is exceptional and has been certified as one of the “New Three Major Night Views of Japan”. There are also spots related to fruits within the park, including exhibition facilities that introduce the history and culture of fruits, fruit parfait cafes, and so on.
This park is located on the north shore of Lake Kawaguchiko, one of the Fuji Five Lakes. The park is not very large, but it is a great location for viewing Mt. Fuji over the lake. Seasonal flowers are planted along the lakeside promenade, and it becomes crowded from early in the morning with people taking commemorative photos against the backdrop of Mt. Fuji. Lavender, which is the most planted flower there, is a symbol of the park, and the vibrant purple flowers, weaved with the summer view of Mt Fuji is truly spectacular.
There you have it, some of the most recommended parks within metropolitan Tokyo and the 7 prefecture of the Kanto region. There are many ways to enjoy these parks, which include flower spots, amusement parks, and scenic locations. Why not visit these parks on one of your days off when the weather is nice and experience the enchantment?