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The Spectacular Tulips of Showa Kinen Park

Updated on June 4, 2014

Showa Kinen-The Ultimate Urban Park

One of the things I love about my city is that there are more than enough things to keep one occupied for an entire lifetime and beyond. Tokyo is known for everything high-tech and trendy, and while most visitors come for all the action and excitement that this incredible city offers, I find the need to take breaks from all the glitz and glamour on a regular basis.

One of my most recent discoveries of this incredible city is, what I believe to be the ultimate public park in all of Tokyo. Not only is it one of the best parks in all of Japan, but is probably the best place to view a variety of flowers that bloom year-round.

*Photos taken by myself unless otherwise noted.

Get to Know Tokyo

Tokyo Megacity
Tokyo Megacity

A visual and descriptive exploration of Tokyo that combines old, new traditional and trendy, like no other city in the world. Tokyo Megacity presents the districts of the city in the order they originally developed, starting with the Imperial Palace all the way to High-City. The combination of stunning photographs and wonderful descriptions capture the diversity, vitality and sheer livability of this megacity.

 
Koinobori at Showa Kinen Park
Koinobori at Showa Kinen Park

Escape to a World of Incredible Beauty

On this particular day, I literally felt the effects of everyday stress getting to me as my head swirled uncomfortably with anxiety. My head was not in the best place and I desired two things. I craved something different, an escape from things familiar. I wanted to go to a place I've never been to before - somewhere peaceful and quiet and hopefully a place with lots of space.

As I boarded the train, I wasn't exactly looking forward to the long train ride to visit a park. But at least I found an empty seat so I could relax. I decided to do some research online with my ipad to find out more about this park.

Apparently this park was established as part of a project to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Emperor Showa's reign, and it is huge as it comprises an area of approximately 163 hectares. There are also a variety of things to see and do, it's almost mind- boggling.

According to the official website, there are forests, spacious lawns, beautiful flowering plants and even a Japanese garden. Visitors can take part in activities such as bonsai classes, tea ceremonies, bird watching, cycling, boating and croquet. Add to that numerous restaurants, a handful of cafes and barbecue areas, and you barely have enough hours during the day to do it all.

What Should I Do First?

Showa Kinen Park
Showa Kinen Park

After learning more about the variety of things at the park, I became excited to see it with my own eyes. Once we arrived and took a look at the map, I was surprised to see how big the park actually was. I had underestimated the size of the place. According to the brochure, there seemed to be a flower festival going on. Various flowers were supposed to be in full bloom including rapeseed flowers, poppies and colorful tulips.

Due to the sheer size of this park, the recommended way of touring is by bicycle. However the hour-long wait for the bike rentals immediately ruled that option out.

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Matcha at Showa Kinen Park
Matcha at Showa Kinen Park

A Proper Tea Near the Bonsai Garden

While perusing the brochure, the Japanese Gardens immediately caught my attention so with map in hand, I went in search of this area. After a good 15-minute walk, I finally caught a glimpse of the main entrance to the gardens in the distance.

The Japanese Gardens was located inside its own enclosure, forcing you to enter through one gate, so it felt more like a separate park rather than a part of one. This arrestingly beautiful area included carefully arranged trees and plants that were planted around wooden bridges, meandering streams, and man-made hills. In the center of it all was a large pond with a Japanese Teahouse, allowing one to enjoy a refreshing cup of Matcha. Further back, one could find a bonsai garden, showcasing masterpieces as old as 150 years!

I spent quite a bit of time here. Beautiful koi fish and turtles swam through the streams and pond while the azaleas and wisteria plants added color to the otherwise zen landscape. After a soothing cup of Matcha, I made my way out to discover the rest of the park.

The Japanese Garden

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Bonsai Makes the Perfect Room Decor

Bonsai Boy's Monterey - Double Trunk-Preserved Bonsai Tree Preserved - Not a living tree
Bonsai Boy's Monterey - Double Trunk-Preserved Bonsai Tree Preserved - Not a living tree

Neither plastic nor silk, this preserved bonsai tree has real foliage and a wooden trunk that was carefully handcrafted and preserved to protect its natural fragrance, color and texture indefinitely. No maintenance is required. The perfect accent piece for any room.

 
Koinobori at Showa Kinen Park
Koinobori at Showa Kinen Park

Komorebi Village-A Japanese Farm Village

Right next to the Japanese gardens lie Komorebi Village, an area depicting a farm village on the Musashino Plain in the 1950s and 1960s. This area features authentic rice paddies, sweet potato and tea farms, where we can learn about the wisdom of nature through agriculture.

On this certain day, the area was decorated with "Koinobori" or "carp streamers" to celebrate Children's Day. There were many activities planned throughout the day in this small area, and although I was immediately interested in the soba ( buckwheat noodles ) making class, I knew I wanted to see the tulips way on the other side of the park.

Komorebi Farm Village

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In Search of Tulips

Tulip at Showa Kinen Park
Tulip at Showa Kinen Park

Looking for the tulips was not an easy task. After a light lunch and rest at a cafe, I continued to walk through the park looking for those tulips that were advertised in my brochure. After walking for what seemed like hours, the trees opened up to an expansive open space of grass. And way on the other side of the open field, I could just make out the colors of what looked like a field of tulips!

Encouraged by the colorful sight, I put one foot in front of the other towards the promised land. Fifteen minutes later, I am rewarded with the most beautiful sight. Row after row of tulips in all its variety fill my vision and I am amazed at the beauty of it all.

The Spectacular Tulips Display

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What About the Dragonfly Pond?

Tulip at Showa Kinen Park
Tulip at Showa Kinen Park

As all good things must come to an end, it was time to head on home. Unfortunately, the park closes at dusk and I was asked to start heading towards the exits. As I made my way out, I realized something. Although I had enjoyed the day, I was kind of bummed. I wanted to see more and I barely scratched the surface of this huge park.

As I looked at my map, I realized that had barely covered half of the park and I didn't want to leave yet. I haven't even gotten to the rapeseed field, or the poppy field. Or the dragonfly pond! I wanted to feel the wind through my hair on a bicycle. What about those rowboats on the brochure? There was so much more!

Sitting on the train ride back home, I had already decided to come back. In fact, my desire was so strong that I knew I would be back soon. I wasn't exactly sure when, but I knew it would be soon enough.

Showa Kinen Park Official Website

Where do you go to escape? What do you do to add variety to the everyday grind? As always, your comments are appreciated. Thanks so much for reading!

Thanks for Reading

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    • smine27 profile image
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      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Thank you so much Ilonagarden. You just made my day.

    • Ilonagarden profile image

      Ilona E 3 years ago from Ohio

      This is an outstanding article. The photography floored me!

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @esmonaco: It was my pleasure esmonaco.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Merrci: Thank you Merrci. I sure walked a lot. By the way, I did go back and my journey continues on another lens. ;)

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @TanoCalvenoa: Wow thank you. I guess you can tell I was really into the tulips. ;)

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @GrammieOlivia: Aww thanks so much grammieo. I really appreciate it.

    • profile image

      GrammieOlivia 3 years ago

      Nice lens! I thin I'll share it over on the Weekend Gardeners FB page, just so that people can enjoy them some more.......

    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 3 years ago

      The photos in this lens are amazing, and yes the tulips are definitely spectacular.

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      You have such a gift for travel writing! The park looks amazing! The first shot of the water made me think I would want to sit there all day and enjoy it, but then the farm would be so interesting and then tulips...Love tulips. I want to go back again too! It sounds like you got in a lot of walking--it was worth it to us!

    • esmonaco profile image

      Eugene Samuel Monaco 3 years ago from Lakewood New York

      Once again thanks for another wonderful tour and pictures of your travels :)