When you are making the move to Tokyo with kids, having a good outdoor space to play in is very important. Most people in central Tokyo don’t have their own big garden, so public parks play a big role in entertaining children. This article will recommend five of the best parks around Tokyo.
1. Showa Kinen Park, Tachikawa, West Tokyo
Showa Kinen Park is located in Tachikawa, a little out West from Central Tokyo and not too far from the popular and trendy area of Kichijoji. There are many enormous parks in surrounding prefectures, but this is one of the few in Tokyo itself and therefore is a must-visit for everyone. If you live out West on the Chuo train line you will probably be a regular visitor.
If you will only visit once, aim to go in Spring for the sakura, poppy and tulip flowers, or the Autumn for the spectacular maple trees and flowering cosmos festival.
You can definitely spend an entire day here, so come prepared with everything you might need. They do sell some food inside, but it's not great so it is recommended to bring a picnic and buy snacks as needed. In Summer the swimming area is open, with several pools and even waterslides on offer.
As the park is so large, there are three ways to get around. The first is walking, but if your kids get tired then the little park train is another option. The most fun choice is to hire a bicycle. They have normal bikes, bikes with child seats and kid's bikes, along with tandem bikes and unicycles, and the park has extensive cycling trails which are so much fun to cycle on.
There are grassy lawns, flower gardens, wooded areas and ponds so you will definitely feel like you are out in the nature. If you are interested in Japanese culture, there is a traditional folk village re-creation in the park, but the kids might be more interested in the amazing playgrounds on offer. The playground consists of a mammoth play structure, nets to climb on and several giant bouncy pillows. One highlight is the "misty forest" where thick mist appears every 15 minutes.
Waterfowl Lake offers you the chance to try riding in a swan boat, while nearby is the "Flowering Tree Garden" which is worth visiting in Spring or Autumn.
Address: Midoricho 3173, Tachikawa-shi 190-8558
How to get there: Walk from Tachikawa Station or Nishi-Tachikawa Station on the Chuo/Ome Lines
2. Mizumoto Park, Katsushika-ku
Mizumoto Park is on the outskirts of Central Tokyo in a lesser-known ward called Katsushika. It is a old-style, traditional area where few expats venture, but Mizumoto Park is worth a visit, and if you choose to live on this side of Tokyo you will be rewarded with much better value for money and bigger housing.
The park is situated on either side of the Tone River and features the Koaidame Pond which was built to help control flooding in the area. Green lawns line either side of the river, with many flower gardens dotted around the path. Venture further down the river and find a lush forest to explore, allowing you to feel truly immersed in nature. There are more than 1500 Metasequoia trees – truly a sight in Autumn when they all turn orange!
Spring is a popular time to come, with over 500 cherry blossoms on display, while in June there are over 200,000 iris flowers blooming. As well as the numerous lawns for picnicking on, there is a barbeque area available for public use (reserve in advance). Wannabe-ornithologists might enjoy the bird sanctuary, known as a paradise for wild birds and a famous bird-watching spot. And of course, there are several playgrounds throughout the park for kids, as well as insect catching areas that they love so much in Summer.
Address: 3-2 Mizumotokoen, Katsushika City, Tokyo 125-0034
How to get there:Take the Keisei bus from Kanamachi Station to Mizumoto Koen, or walk 20 minutes from Kanamachi
3. Toneri Park, Adachi-ku
Toneri Park is situated in the “shitamachi” neighbourhood of Adachi, deep into the suburbs which the Nippori-Toneri Liner reaches. For people living in North or East Tokyo, or nearby Saitama, it is a wonderful park to visit. It is a huge park with rolling green lawns from which you can see the nearby Arakawa River. Trees of all kinds grow throughout the park and a large lake is the crowning centrepiece. For kids there is a grassy sledding hill with free-to-use sleds, an exercise equipment area and a small playground. In 2021 they opened a new section of the park which is located across the road from the monorail stop, past the park café. It is a mega playground, child friendly and fully fenced in, with sections for all ages. There is a small toddler friendly section, then a larger section for older kids with long tunnel slides, nets to climb and more. Definitely do not miss this new addition to the park. In Summer there is also an excellent swimming area with small pools, fountains and one water slide.
For those interested in yummy American-style cookies, try Heaven's Dough Cookies which is within walking distance of the park.
Address: 1-1 Tonerikoen, Adachi City, Tokyo 121-0837
How to get there: Take the Nippori-Toneri Liner to Toneri-Koen Station
4. Shinagawa Children’s Adventure Park, Shinagawa-ku
The Shinagawa Children’s Adventure Park is a wonderful park that you might never find unless you know about it in advance. It is actually located in the same recreation space as the Shinagawa Aquarium, but as it is such a large area, you may not realise it's there. The park is in a large, tree-filled space and contains a playground with a roller slide and numerous rainbow slides, bouncy pillows, an octopus slide and many more play things. There is also a mud park, where kids can use tools to build things, make crafts and best of all - get covered in mud! They also have a public pool which is open from July to September and free bike rentals for both adults and kids. There is a little shop selling snacks, so it is recommended to bring your own lunch and buy an ice-cream or snack from the shop as needed.
Once you have had enough of the park, you can try the Shinagawa Aquarium. This is a fairly old aquarium but one of the best in Tokyo in terms of variety and size. It has a dolphin show, a deep sea section and an area where kids can touch starfish and seaweed.
Address: 3-2-1 Katsushima, Shinagawa City, Tokyo
How to get there:Walk 5 minutes from Tachiaigawa Station on the Keikyu line
5. Komazawa Olympic Park, Setagaya-ku
Komazawa Olympic Park is located in the popular neighbourhood of Komazawa,
Setagaya, one of the nicest and greenest parks of inner-Tokyo. Many expats
live in this area and the dining and grocery options are numerous. This
popular park fills up on weekends, but it is large enough not to feel too
crowded. It boasts three different playgrounds, all with an animal theme,
plus a splash pool which is open in the summer. There are special lanes
which circle the park for jogging and cycling, and even a skateboard area.
There is a small cycling area for kids to bring a bike (or rent one) so that
they can learn to ride.
As the park was built for the 1964 Olympics, there is a large sporting stadium which has a small museum inside dedicated to the Olympics which you can check out for free. The park is also host to many events, festivals and flea markets. It's an excellent park to live nearby as it has something for everyone and can entertain your kids all day.
Address: 1-1 Komazawakoen, Setagaya, Tokyo
How to get there: Walk 10-15 minutes from Komazawa-Daigaku Station on the Denentoshi line. These are just five of the many amazing parks that are located in Tokyo, but there are so many more to explore! Once you expand your search to neighbouring Chiba, Saitama and Kanagawa you’ll find enough great parks to last your children’s entire childhood!
Article courtesy : OMAKASE Tour https://omakase-tour.com/