I used to think that Shinjuku Gyoen was the best park in Tokyo. Now, I know I was so mistaken. The new king is definitely Showa Memorial Park. There is so much to do there, I really doubt you could do everything in one day. If you wanted just one place in Tokyo that could keep you occupied for an entire day, this is the place to go.
When I checked Wikipedia, I discovered Shinjuku Gyoen, another enormously popular park in Tokyo, is 58.3 hectares while Showa Memorial is over 180. For a Tokyo park, that is ginormous!! Luckily though, they have managed to utilize all of that space very, very well and given us a lot of stuff to discover!
I honestly think if you walked around the park at a leisurely pace there is no way you could discover it all in one day. To do that, you would probably have to power walk, and then you would risk missing some of it. Having said that, you could do it fairly quickly on one of their bikes (three hours that cost 410 yen for adults, 260 yen for kids) using the designated roads, which you can hire or take the park train (wheeled) that costs 310 yen.
For me though, the walking is what it is all about. After all isn’t that why we go to parks? You can take your time, talk to whoever you are with and easily stop to enjoy what is actually in the park. What is in the park? Lots of lots of beautiful flowers. The seasonal offerings are very nice. Showa Memorial is a flower lover’s paradise. Of course, spring would be most popular especially with the roses, tulips, poppies, azaleas and cherry blossoms but autumn in the park is very special too when the leaves in the trees change colour.
Showa Memorial is not only about flowers. There are other attractions inside the park there as well, a bonsai museum next to an enormous (11 hectare) field you’ll find a large children's play area with slides and bouncing domes. You can rent row or paddle boats on the lake, a barbecue and adjoining sports facility area, a waterpark (open from July to September) and a small folk village with a traditional farm house. Some of the attractions require additional fees so please check the park’s website. There are also cafes and kiosks stalls scattered throughout the park. And as the park was named after an emperor, you’ll find a museum, just outside the entrance, dedicated to his life.
Out of everything you can find at Showa Memorial Park the top two, in my opinion, are the Japanese Garden and Komorebi Model Village. The Japanese Garden is very big and immaculate with a huge pond and traditional bridge going across it. Komorebi Village is a replica Japanese agricultural village from the early Showa period and you can see different things there depending on the season. When I visited the park in the spring of 2017, they had some great displays up for Children’s Day.
Please come back and look at this article again at some point in the future. The reason for that is that, to be honest, I don’t think I’ve been to Show Memorial Park enough to give you the complete rundown, so I’ll return to it sometime later this year, probably in summer or autumn, to get you some more information so what is here can be expanded and reviewed if necessary. You can see the website for the park here.
How to get to Showa Memorial Park
There are two stations really close. One is JR Tachikawa and the other is Nishi-Tachikawa on the Ome line. Nishi-Tachikawa is closest (literally just over the road) but most people, I assume, will be coming from the direction of Shinjuku. If you do go from JR Tachikawa station, use the north exit. From there it is roughly a ten-minute walk. Here is a Google map to help you:
March 1 - October 31: 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
November 1 - end of February: 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Adults (15 - 64 years): 410 yen
Seniors (65 years and over): 210 yen
Children (6 - 14 years): 80 yen
Infants (up to 5 years): Free
If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy:
Bunkyo Civic Center – a slightly unusual observatory, but well worth a visit
The Railway Museum – for those that love Japanese rail history
Tokorozawa Aviation Museum – learn a little about Japanese aviation history
Tokyo Daibutsu – no need to go all the way to Kamakura to see a big Buddha
Zoshigaya cemetery – a really interesting place that is the resting place of a good many famous people