I went to Arisugawa-no-miya Memorial Park today, in Hiro-o. It has to be one of Tokyo's most "enchanted" parks: not all that traditional in layout, in fact not overtly "Japanese" at all, but beautiful all the same in a wilder and less organized way than a lot of the other parks in the city, in particular those you have to pay to enter.
Arisugawa Park is free, and is open 24 hours. Being that accessible, like any neighhorhood park, it is as much a place for the locals to chill out in as it is for tourists to wander through. There seemed to be roughly equal numbers of both.
The main wooded part of the park is nestled in a large dell. A stream flows down from the most densely wooded top end, down over waterfalls and under bridges, down to a large, irregularly shaped pond at the bottom. People are fishing in the pond.
The density of the flora is stunning. There is a huge variety of species of trees and plants. The amount of wildlife is amazing too. A large part of the Park's magic must be the cacophony of bird and insect cries that fill the air.
If you climb up to the far side of the park away from where you came in, you reach a large empty plaza dominated by an equestrian statue. The plaza is flanked by a children's playground near the wooded part and a circular lawn on the other where people were sunbathing. Across from the lawn is the Tokyo Metropolitan Library.
As well as being only two minutes' walk from Exit 1 of Hiro-o Station on the Chiyoda subway line, it is also only 11 minutes' walk from Roppongi Hills. A great post-shopping spot to forget the loss of your hard-earned?
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Sunday, September 09, 2007