Thursday, December 29, 2016

Showa Kinen Koen ~ Koyo 2016

A few weeks ago, at the height of the Ginkgo season, I took a day and traveled to Showa Kinen Koen.  I've tried going to this park during ginkgo season for the last two years, but on the days I usually have available it was either raining or so cold that I didn't think the kids would last long.  This year, however, my amazing husband had the day off, so I made the two hour trip on my own.  
So, I hopped on the mid-morning train out of Yokosuka Chuo switched to the JR line at Kawasaki, which put me on the Nambu line and that thing stopped a million times!  Ok, not a million, but close to 30 in one hour.  Whatever it was, it was a lot!  I hopped off at Tachikawa station and then walked the awesome raised walkways to find the park. 

As I was waiting at the crosswalk to enter the park I took a little look around this city.  And, what else would you expect to see on the outskirts of one of the busiest cities in the world...goats, of course!!

Ok, focus Terra!  Park time!  And, when I say park, I mean P A R K!!!!  This place is insanely huge!  I spent almost five hours here and I didn't even cover the whole park!  It's that big!

The entrance doesn't look like much

There's a large grass area at the entrance.  There were a lot of people here picnicking and kicking soccer balls around.  The bridge in the picture below is the Floating Garden.  The greenery on the rooftop is supposed to help control temperatures inside the building, keep it cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

That's Tachikawa city just outside the park

Here's a view of the Floating Garden's underside

After a walk around the Floating Garden, I made my way across the bridge and then toward the area I've been waiting to see for years!  

That's it!  That's it!  Yellow!  Yellow!  GINKGO!!!!!!

A cloud of yellow above and a carpet of yellow below!  My most favorite tree ever!

Not only were the ginkgoes amazing, but the maples were in a range of blooming stages.  Some were all red, some were red and green, some were red, orange, green and yellow.  

All. The. Colors.

This is a view toward the entrance I came in.

Just past the ginkgo paths was a little area with wooden creations.  I'm not sure if it was a play area for kids to climb on, or if they were just to look at.  I didn't see anyone climbing, so maybe just to look at.  Beyond this little area was the pond.  The big pond.  I took a right hand turn and followed the edge of the pond all the way to the back.  

The reds on the maples were so unbelievably vivid!

This was a little maple area with a boardwalk over a marshy spot.

Here's a shot of a section of the boardwalk.

There was a little flower garden back in this area.  Since it was almost winter, there weren't a lot of flowers in bloom.  But, there was a cute frog freezing by the tiny pond.

There was also a bird blind.  I only saw two little birds.

Around the pond and across a bridge brought me to another gingko area.  

There's a good size play area back here.  It even has a small outside shower to get all the dirt off when you're done. 

Another gigantic open space.  According to different maps I saw around the park, there are tons of different blooming, gingko, maples, rapeseed, azalea, tulips.  I think the flower area is on the back side of this large grass area.  I opted to visit that another time.

From here I made a turn back toward the other side of the lake so I could get back to the train station. It was almost 4 pm and the clouds were starting to roll in, making it a little chilly.

A few flowers I found along the way.

Pictures just don't show how magical this flower is!  The center was almost a fluorescent yellow color.  


This is the water park inside the main park.  Obviously, it's closed right now.  But, it looks like a nice place to cool off during the crazy hot/humid summers.

Strange sculpture, anyone?

For 410 (3 hours) or 520 yen for the full day,  you can rent a bicycle and ride all over the park.  There are nice paths everywhere.  I'm sure you can get a good view of the entire park this way.  For an extra fee you can also rent different kinds of boats.

Ok...I'm back to the ginkgo paths!  This time it was near sunset, so the yellows took on another shade of yellow.  So beautiful!

Then, as a last little goodbye, an amazing sunset!

Back at Tachikawa station (only a ten minute walk or so from the park) and I made my way home.