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I have to say, after visiting this park, if I only had time to visit one park in Tokyo this would be the one I would visit.

Today we are headed for Showa Kinen Park in Tachikawa. It took about an hour from our hotel taking several trains to get to the park.

More photos from the day can can be found on my website.

When we arrived we came out of the Tachikawa Station on the second level on what appeared to be a raised pedestrian roundabout one level above the street. We had see something like this in Tokyo and it seems to be quite efficient and eliminates the problem with pedestrians having to cross traffic when navigating a major intersection. We decided to stop at McDonald’s and get some coffee. It was one of the few places that was open early in the morning. We had a good view of the roundabout and the monorail station.

Japan is so very clean but I hadn’t seen that many people out cleaning the streets. On this morning, within about 15 minutes. Three people went by dusting the railings and sweeping the sidewalk.There was a taxi stand near the train station and I was admiring the immaculate taxies and how the drivers were out polishing them and how they assisted passengers. This was in stark contrast to our arrival home when we had to open the taxi doors and find a place to put our bags. The taxi was filthy and looked terrible. Americans don’t seem to have any pride in their work.

We decided to walk around a bit. Actually we were trying to find the park but were lost. We walked past this large bike parking ramp at the train station. We also ran across these policemen directing traffic and an intersection near the train station.

After wandering around a bit we ended up back at the pedestrian roundabout and decided to follow the monorail line out toward the park.

I noticed this artwork on one of the buildings.

In Tokyo the pedestrian walk signs don’t use numbers to tell you how long you have to cross the street they use the little lines on each side of the symbol in indicate waiting and walking time. In this case there will be a short wait before we can go.

As we neared the park it appeared that some type of outdoor recreational event was being held. Tents were being setup, camper vans were on display and the scouts had a demonstration area setup.

There were also food trucks that were being setup for the day.

The promenade leading to the Park was beautiful.

It was still early but it was a Sunday and there were a lot of people heading for the park. It was also a beautiful fall day.

As we entered the park we encountered Ginkgo Avenue. The Ginkgo trees were just starting to turn yellow.

This was the first of several wedding parties that we encountered in the park.

Here are several views of Showa Kinen Park Fountain.

I’m not sure what was going on here. There was a large open area displaying many figures made of large branches. Some of them were designed for kids to play on.

There were many kids in the park and probably as many dogs.

An interesting piece of artwork.

After walking for a while we encountered a large lake. There were a variety of ducks in the lake.

We encountered a Segway tour getting instructions. When they saw me taking their picture the lost their concentration and I thought they were going to have an accident.


It was early in the day and there were already a large number of boats out on the lake.

This little girl was working on here scooter skills while the family was setting up a picnic nearby.

Even though it was early November, there were a lot of flowers blooming in the park.

We encountered a large open area where sports were being played and folks looked like they were camping for the day. There was a huge field of flowers surrounding the open area.

We stopped on a bench and had lunch and people watched.

Our next stop in the park was the Japanese Garden and within that the Bonsai Garden where they had an amazing collection of bonsai trees.

We then continued on to main Japanese Garden. While the fall colors were not at their peak the were still beautiful.

We were about halfway in our walk around the park when we found a small rural farming village. Komorebi Village is a replica Japanese agricultural village from the early Showa period and you can see different things there, depending on the season. Since we were there in the fall the harvest season was represented. The village has a working windmill.

Continuing on we encountered a large area geared toward children. There was a place to eat and purchase trinkets.

This area was called Clowd Ocean and consisted on a number of bouncy domes that kids could jump on.

A climbing area where there were a large number of nets.

A number of cement dragons  and other creatures that kids could climb on.

A large slide that was very popular and the kids and adults were having a great time on it.

Another slide.

I’m not sure what this was. Kids were climbing on these hills and in the summer the far end has an area that sprays water that kids can run through.

While we were watching the kids this wedding party walked through the area. What was strange was that the bride was holding a cat that was also all dressed up.

The park also has a large Barbecue Garden. This is the only place in the park where visitors can barbecue or use fire, and is a great place to casually enjoy cooking in the great outdoors. Most people in Tokyo live in small apartments and don’t have room for a barbecue. No problem, you can show up empty-handed—no ingredients, no equipment, nothing!  You can rent everything and buy platters of meat, seafood, vegetables and noodles.  Pets are also allowed and the ground rents out chairs and tables, too. There is a large common area where you can clean everything up.

 

At this point we were on our way back to the entrance of the park. There were plenty of people getting their picture taken. I also took advantage of the opportunity.

There were a lot of dogs in the park. A couple of young women were trying to get their dressed up dogs to pose for photos. It took a while but they finally did.

There were a  lot of dogs in the park, many of them dressed up in clothes. It was strange, but a lot of dogs were being wheeled around in baby carriages or strollers. In fact, more dogs than kids were in baby carriages. There must be some regulation that animals have to be in carriers on public transportation because I noticed people putting their pets in cardboard carrying cases as they were leaving the park.

It was getting late in the afternoon when we were leaving the park. There was some nice light on the trees.

As I mentioned at the top of the blog there seemed to be an outdoor activities fair going on just outside the park.

The Scouts were in the process of taking down their display as we walked past.

The had a large number of hiking sticks available to try out and were providing demonstrations on their proper use.

Bikes were available for kids to try their skills.

How to chop wood was being demonstrated.

There were a variety of tents for people to look at and try out.

I captured this fellow running loose in the park.

On the way back to Tachikawa we encountered this singing group along the main street.

The police were still working hard at the intersection where we found them early in the morning.

We noticed a British restaurant called the HUB when we were walking around earlier in the day. Fish and chips sounded good so we went back for a bite to eat before returning to Shinjuku. The place was just opening when we arrived. Many places allow smoking in restaurants so we ate fast since the smoking area was starting to fill up. We were chastised by our son and his girlfriend for going to such a shady place. We couldn’t figure out what the problem was. Nevertheless the fish and chips was good

It was almost dark when we departed the Tachikawa Train Station on our way back to Shinjuku.

When we arrived in Shinjuku we wandered around the station looking at the lights before heading back to our hotel.

 

 

 

We spent the last week and a half of our Japan trip using Kobe as a home base while taking day trips to visit various sites. We also spent time visiting various sites in Kobe.

Meriken Park and Harborland

One day we walked back down to Meriken Park where we spent some time looking at the Earthquake Damage. We continued on to Harborland. This is a view of Kobe Port Tower and Okura Hotel from Harborland.

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Apparently Halloween is really big in Japan. This is a Halloween display at Harborland.

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Kobe Nunobiki Herb Garden and Ropeway

We took the Ropeway up to the Kobe Nunobiki Herb Garden. Ironically this was just a few steps from the ANA Crowne Plaza where we stayed when we first arrived in Kobe. At the time we didn’t know about the Herb Garden.

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There were some beautiful views of Kobe from the Herb Garden.

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The Herb Garden also had a Halloween display.

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There were some beautiful flowers at the Herb Garden.

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As we were walking back down the mountain to catch the Ropeway an older gentleman was walking along with us and he kept wanting to take our photo so we have quite a few photos of us at the Gardens. Apparently one of his hobbies is talking to tourists and finding out where they live. He has his map along so we could point out where we were from so he could mark our home on his map.

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This is a photo of him.

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Disaster Reduction Museum
It was a rainy day so we were looking for things we could do inside. We took the Train out to the Disaster Reduction Museum. The train station was a few blocks from the museum so we had to walk a ways in the rain. This is the location we thought we were going to on the first day we were in Kobe. The Museum documents the earthquake and spends a lot of time discussing the reconstruction and the lessons learned from the Reconstruction. We spent most of the morning in the Museum.

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When we emerged we decided to take the bus back because it was raining hard. When we arrived at the bus stop we were able to decipher the schedule and determined the bus would arrive in about a half an hour. The bus stop happened to be in front of a McDonalds so we stopped in for some coffee and ice cream while we were waiting for the bus. The ice cream was the same but the coffee was not up to U.S. standards.

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When we went out to catch the bus this gentleman was also waiting to catch it. Turns out he was one of the tour guides in the museum. We had a long chat with him. He was in his 80’s and was in Kobe during the war. As I recall he said the U.S. bombed Kobe 26 times. He also rode the bus to our stop and when we got off of the bus he gave us a batch of bananas.

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After visiting the Museum we stopped at one of the large shopping malls to look around while it was raining.

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Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum

One of the places we wanted to tour was a Sake Brewery. We had tried to find this place on another day but when we exited the train station we couldn’t find it. It started to rain so we decided to get back on the train and try it again later. As it turned out the directions we had were not good. One person on Trip Adviser gave up and took a taxi. Later that evening Linda found some great directions on the Lonely Planet Website.

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The Lonely Planet directions were very detailed and we had no problem finding the Brewery Museum. Unfortunately there were no tours of the Brewery but the Brewery Museum did provide a good overview of the process.

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When we finished they were offering samples. We tried them all. I’ve never had sake and found it to my liking. We decided to wait until we returned home to buy some.

Ikea

I had been wanting to visit Ikea in Kobe. Part of the reason for the visit was to have an excuse to take the Portliner from Sannomiya station. The Portliner was worth the trip on its own because it offered some great views of the harbor area. Ikea is my favorite place to eat when I’m home so I wanted to see what it was like in Japan. It was interesting to see what they had for furniture etc. The merchandise was much different than it is in the U.S.

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Sorakuen Gardens

On one of our last days in Kobe we stopped at Motomachi Station and walked up to Sorakuen Gardens. It looked like they were getting ready for a fall display at the gardens.

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Touring Kobe

On our last day in Kobe we took a harbor tour on the Royal Princess. I was a well appointed boat and far better than any tour boat I’ve been on in the U.S.

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After the Harbor Tour we decided to ride the Kobe Tourist Bus around town making stops along the way.

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When we were finished with the tours we headed back to our Airbnb. We were scheduled to meet Justin at Sannomiya station and catch a late bus for Osaka. We were flying out Osaka early in the morning so we had him book a hotel for us near the airport. This interesting sign was on the hotel door.

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More photos from our visit to Japan can be found on my website.