Kiba Park is a large park in Tokyo's Koto ward that is great for active people. If you need a place with a lot of wide open spaces to run, exercise or just to enjoy some time in the sun, this park might well be for you! And to top it all off it has a centerpiece that is great for photographers.
If you are wondering about the name, Kiba, it means 'wood place', and it was through here, during the Edo era, that timber was brought into Tokyo for the construction industry. In 1977 the area was designated as parkland to commemorate Emperor Hirohito’s fiftieth year on the throne, but it was only in 1992 Kiba Park developed into its present form.
Kiba Park is quite large, almost 60 acres, which makes it a little larger than Shinjuku Gyoen. It is divided into north and south by a small river which makes it rather unique in Tokyo. The south has a large lawn area, an area for barbeques, a dog run, kid’s play area, a jogging track and on the western side you can find a small botanical garden.
The north holds tennis courts, a general sport/event space and a little wading pool for kids. The pool is usually open from mid-July to the end of August from 10 am to 4 pm with a thirty-minute break around midday. Next door to the to the northern side of the park you’ll also find the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, which is unfortunately closed for renovations until sometime in 2018.
For most people, the centerpiece of the park is probably the bridge which joins the both sides of the park. The bridge is of modern design, offers great views of Tokyo Skytree. Even during the day, you can get some great shots of the tower, but for nighttime photography it is superb. I can’t wait to get some of my own shots, taken around sunset, up here.
If you’ve been to either Shinjuku Gyoen or Hama Rikyu Gardens, you’ll soon realise Kiba park is a very different type of park. It is not there just for a quiet walk to admire the view, it is there to be really enjoyed so you’ll see lots of kids running around, playing ball games, people jogging and doing whatever else people do in parks in Japan! I’ve even seen people do tai chi there. And throughout the year you might even find some quite large events held there as there is certainly space for it.
For many people, Kiba Park might be a little far, as it is out on the east side of the city, quite far from places like Shibuya, Shinjuku and Harajuku, but it could well be worth the effort if you are after a park with difference. You can see it’s Japanese website here.
How to get to Kiba Park
It might be a little far, but it is quite easy to get to. All you need to do is to use the Tozai subway line to get to Kiba station. From the station use Exit 1 and the park will be about 200 meters away. Here is a Google map to help you:
Entrance to the park itself it is completely free. Some of the facilities at the park, such as the tennis courts are not, so please consult the park’s website for full information.
Kiba park is open twenty-four hours a day, however, some of the parks facilities such as the dog run, bbq area and tennis courts are not, so please consult the park’s website for full information.
Use of park facilities
The dog run, BBQ area and tennis courts require registration plus booking (by certain dates for the following month in some cases). In the case of the BBQ area, you’ll have to bring everything - food, chairs and even the hotplate. For complete and accurate information please consult the Kiba Park (Japanese) website.
If you enjoyed this article you might also enjoy:
Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery – a beautiful cemetery for Japan’s unknown war dead
Hokutopia – one of the smaller observatories in the city
Jindaji Botanical Garden – one of Tokyo’s best rose gardens
National Museum of Nature and Science – a big museum that could keep you occupied for hours and hours
Zojoji – one of Tokyo’s largest and most popular temples