Why yes, not only is there an amusement park in Asakusa, but one so close to Senso-ji Temple! The Hanayashiki Park was initially conceived as a flower garden themed park in 1853 near the end of the Edo period, but it is now best known for being Japan’s oldest amusement park in Tokyo. Not bad for a flower garden! Imagine my surprise as I have lived for years in Tokyo and have been to Asakusa, Sumida, and even Kappabashi area and never even noticed this place. What a treasure!
Not only is it the oldest theme park in Japan, but it also is home to the oldest steel track roller coaster in the country. Granted it only goes approximately 42 km per hour but still manages to thrill its customers daily. There is even a so-called Ninja Dojo that teaches one how to be a ninja – complete with martial arts and swordplay. It is for an hour long and a big hit with the kids and the young at heart.
The theme park even has its own appropriately kawaii (cute) mascots or pandas and can be seen throughout the park. The pièce de résistance or its signature ride, however, is the Bee Tower. Situated high above the park with candy house-looking gondola seats, the ride affords you quite a view of the area. It’s a great way to see the skyline and all the iconic sights such as the Tokyo Skytree, the Asahi Flame (aka “the golden poop”), and the Asakusa Shrine all from your own unique perch giving you a literal birds’ eye view. (Note: In August 2016, Hanayashiki Park decided to close the Bee Tower attraction.)
The park itself has over 20 attractions. Granted they may not be as thrilling as the other big and popular amusement parks in the area, it not only gives you quite a good bargain for the price but also lets you immerse in an experience and nostalgia of times past. Perfect for exploring Japan with your little ones. So if you are in the area, make sure to check this out. Happy exploring!