One of the great places to visit in Japan is the Ikuta Ryokuchi Park (生田緑地), a hidden gem in Kawasaki (川崎). It is not just your ordinary park as it is one of the best places to enjoy nature due to its abundant forestry. Check out this park and its different features below!
Kawasaki City is located between Tokyo (東京) and Yokohama (横浜). Here lies Ikuta Ryokuchi Park which is very popular due to its several facilities that tourists can access in one location. It is surrounded by small woods made up of various oaks and consists of several gardens having different flowers which you can enjoy in all four seasons such as cherry blossoms, hydrangeas, and camellias. It is very entertaining with its playgrounds and museums.
Ikuta Ryokuchi Park offers scenic walkway galore, a fountain square which is picture perfect, a playground, and an open-air folk house museum. Cobblestone paths can be found inside the park which leads to towering redwoods, peaceful ponds, and picturesque huts.
Moreover, the park has an open space where you can stretch out on the grass and enjoy some picnic time. There are several picnic tables which are accessible to a cafe and bathroom facilities. Children can also do some exploration with the two train cars located next to the field.
Now, let’s see the various intriguing cultural Japanese treasures that make the park worth a visit!
The Kawasaki Municipal Science Museum (かわさき宙と緑の科学館) is a science museum with a state-of-the-art planetarium where guests can enjoy the starry skies and an abundant natural environment. The museum was reopened on April 28, 2012 in which a variety of ingenious measures have been implemented to allow visitors to enjoy and become familiar with themes relating to science, nature, and astronomy.
A top-class experience of viewing the beautiful starry skies is possible inside the planetarium that uses an excellent planet projector. You can also observe the planets and stars visible during the daytime through a computer-controlled telescope.
There is also an exhibit room where you can find several specimens such as insects and plants that will give you an idea about Kawasaki’s natural environment. You can experience nature yourself by joining in lectures and tours such as the Ikuta Park tour, science experiment classes, and nature workshops.
Although the place is not that large, it is still an interesting visit for children and adults alike. There are special sessions given to kids and children during Wednesdays which happen twice a month.
Another feature of the park is the Taro Okamoto Museum of Art (岡本太郎美術館) where you can find several collections and exhibits related to Taro Okamoto’s works and arts. Taro Okamoto is a Japanese artist who is known for his abstract and avant-garde paintings and sculptures. Another part of the museum are the works made by his parents which include contemporary artworks.
There’s also a traditional rose garden in the park which is open to the public during spring and autumn. The garden is considered to be among the oldest in Japan which consists of 4,700 roses having 530 different kinds. The opening of the garden depends on the time the roses bloom. Everyone can visit this place as admission is free.
Another feature is the Traditional Craft Center (伝統工芸館) where guests can learn about the history of a variety of crafts and learn to make them as well. You can also experience traditional indigo dye craftsmanship at the Traditional Indigo Dyeing Workshop in which the entrance fee is also free. The staff will carefully guide you in trying out indigo dyeing by using a plain handkerchief. The first experience is assured to be easy and often takes 30 minutes to an hour long.
In order to appreciate the beauty of Japanese traditional houses, you can visit the Open-Air Folk House Museum (日本民家園) which holds around 25 buildings plus a shrine and a kabuki stage. These are on display on the gentle slopes of Tama Hills. There are several activities and special exhibitions happening such as traditional carpentry and demonstration workshops, as well as a special exhibition on their “Wonder Folk Tools” collection.
In order to learn more about the lives of people in the traditional folk houses, the curator will give you an explanation while touring around. The tour lasts for about an hour and anyone is free to join. The meeting place varies but the explanation area is at the Kanto Regional Village. Multimedia displays are used to explain how the folk houses were designed and built. It also illustrates the lifestyle of people who lived in there.
Three points of view have to be considered in looking at the houses: the arrangement of the rooms, the structures, and the designs. Some crafts such as those made of straw and bamboo are also for sale. These are on display and are being sold at reasonable prices at the historical house.
The museum is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m ([Nov. – Feb.] 9:30 – 16:30). The admission fee for adults is 500 yen, while the admission fee for students is 300 yen.
The park doesn’t only help visitors learn about the history of Japan in an entertaining way, but it also serves as an opportunity to learn more about the country’s culture. This place is a unique mixture of both indoor and outdoor features.
Additionally, you can also go hiking up Mt. Masugata (枡形山) where you can head to the observation tower and see great views of Tokyo and Kanagawa (神奈川). Depending on the day of your visit, you may get to see Mt. Fuji from afar as well as Yomiuriland theme park’s (よみうりランド) Ferris wheel.
With all these available activities and attractions, Ikuta Ryokuchi Park definitely makes for a great day trip. So what are you waiting for? Drop by this park as soon as you can!