One of the things that I found challenging when I first arrived was to find places to take the children to where they could have fun, learn new things and experience this amazing country. I have decided that I will write a review of the places that we visit so to encourage others to experience this country with kids in tow!
For my Japanese readers, I seriously doubt that I need to write a post on Yoyogi park, but for my other readers I felt it vital and interesting. Vital, because if you have kids in Tokyo, then Yoyogi park is a crucial part of your “Let’s-get-the-kids-outdoors” arsenal, interesting because the visit is never the same experience twice!
Yoyogi park is to the north of Omotesando and Shibuya. At 134 acres it is one of Tokyo’s largest parks. It borders Meiji Shrine and is easily accessible from Harajuku or Yoyogi-koen stations. It has trees all round the edge, which make it wonderfully cool in the summer and a haven for photographers in autumn.
The park provides a place where people can relax and unwind, practice their dance moves or musical instuments.The open field in the center is a place where children of all ages can skip, fly kites, play football or whatever.
My girls and their friends had a wonderful time one spring day, when they joined in with a group of Japanese students who were playing skipping games. The students were only too happy to let the ‘gaijins’ join in!
(Gaijin- a Japanese word for foreigner/ alien.)
It is a wonderful place for children to burn off energy and be free.
There is a cycle centre where you can rent bikes for all ages and cycle round the park, or on the circuit, if you’re little and still learning. Admittedly I’ve yet to use it, though it’s very tempting as my 4 year old still can’t ride a bike! Ours love the freedom that the park offers, from climbing the trees or the modern art statue, digging the ground with the toy diggers, putting leaves on the vent from the underground and watching them fly into the air or just stroking the animals.
Aaah the animals…
So dogs dressed up in coats and other outfits,
(or their owners dressed as dogs)
riding in a pram or bike, isn’t overly uncommon, but it does bring new meaning to the word personification. Yoyogi park, does provide two dog runs (one for medium- large dogs and one for medium-small dogs.) where people can let their dogs off the lead and run free.
But I’ve seen a pet rabbit going for a walk, a tortoise and most recently a pet owl.
Like I said, no visit is ever the same and it always an interest factor about it!
Yoyogi park is open from dawn to dusk, all year round (except this summer just gone where there were some reported cases of dengue fever resulting from a visit there. In true Japanese style, they closed the park for nearly 3 months, and I believe they sprayed it with insecticide as well.)
Access is easy too, as it has its own car park and Yoyogi-Koen station (on the Metro Chiyoda line) is right underneath the park. On overland trains, Harajuku station on the JR Yamanote line is a 5 minute walk, as is Yoyogi Hachiman station on the Odakyu line.
I love Yoyogi park and every little aspect of it, and I would love to hear about your experiences at it too.