National Showa Memorial Park · Yellow Leaves
If you and your significant other visit Japan in Autumn, it is impossible to miss the beauty of the tree leaves changing their color. In my opinion, Autumn is an especially romantic season in Japan. It is not too hot or too cold to spend the time outside, and it is nice to feel the warmth of your sweetheart’s hand, leisurely walking, taking pictures and enjoying a cup of warm tea or coffee. One of the best locations to visit for this purpose is the Showa Memorial park.
Built in commemoration of the 50s anniversary of the reign of the late emperor Showa, this 160 hectare park is a superb destination for couples who are tired from the big city and want to reconnect with the nature. The train to Showa Park takes only 30 minutes from Shinjuku!
The signature attraction of Showa Memorial park during the Autumn are numerous maple and ginkgo trees, offering their red, pink, orange and yellow Autumn “costumes” for the visitor’s delight.
My personal favorite is the valley with 98 ginkgo trees in the Southeast part of the park. Because of the fallen bright yellow leaves, it looks as if the road is made of gold! And if you enter through the Tachikawa entrance, you will enjoy the view of 106 yellow ginkgo trees on the both sides of a 200 meters long fountain. Just so you know, ginkgo trees smell pretty bad, but not too bad to ruin the whole experience!
Showa park has many seasonal flowers, and although most of them are blooming in the spring, there is one kind that blooms in the Autumn. On a hill near the Momiji (Maple) Bridge, which is near the Barbeque area, the bright pink Dahlia flowers are blooming, creating a beautiful contrast with the blue sky.
Thanks to its gigantic size, Showa Memorial Park has several recreational spaces that are ideal for picnics and outdoor games. All of them are covered with a thick layer of grass, making it a nice spot for a midday nap. There is even a dog park, where your pet can roam free without the leash!
A 5 hectares Watefowl Lake offers magnificent views during Autumn. How about a romantic boat ride? There is also an exhibition of Japanese cars from 1960s-1980s, bringing the spirit of the Showa era.
If the idea of walking all day does not seem particularly appealing to you, there is a convenient bicycle rental system, featuring 14 kilometers of cycling trails, a bicycle rental shop near each gate and bicycle parking near all attractions. If you and your partner have never tried riding on a tandem bike, I would recommend it as a fun experience. The price for a regular bicycle is 410 yen for 3 hours. The rental booths open at 9:30 AM and you have to return the bicycle at least one hour before the closing time. Make sure to arrive early in case you want to rent a bicycle, because otherwise they all can be taken.
The Forest zone of the park includes a magnificent Japanese Garden, a recreation of a Japanese village from the Showa period, and a Children’s Forest – a giant playground that will make you both with you were little again! The Japanese Garden looks the best during Autumn, when its 300 trees change their bright green colors to vibrant red, orange and pink.
During the summer, a Rainbow Pool is available for those who would like to take a dip in the refreshing water. It requires a separate charge, but it is a full-size water park with water rides and a wave pool!
Hours and Admission:
9:30 to 17:00 (March to October)
9:30 to 18:00 (weekends and holidays between April and September)
9:30 to 16:30 (November to February)
Adults (15 – 64 years): 410 yen
Seniors (65 years and over): 210 yen
Children (6 – 14 years): 80 yen
Infants (0 – 5 years): Free