Saga is without a doubt a small city. But the reality is that not all of Japan is a high-paced neon metropolis. Some use the term inaka or countryside to describe the setting. While there are some rural aspects to Saga, it's still a city with universities, museums, a castle, temples, and shopping districts. But in addition, there is ample access to a great deal of nature, including some beautiful parks.
I can’t say enough good things about Shinrin Park. It’s massive, diverse, and rife with gorgeous scenery. As a father of two very curious and energetic children, this park is the perfect place to fulfill the needs of both parent and child. It’s one of the first times my wife and I can just let them go off on their own and still be at ease. And the places and facilities for them to do so seem to be in abundance.
Now there’s much more here than just open space to explore. There are three different playgrounds, a nature boardwalk, a bird observation station, a lake, flower gardens, and even a sports arena. And the play areas are far from the dangers of any busy roads. So this is ideal to just relax and let your kids run free.
There's also a pond designated for playing during the hotter seasons. A filtration system is used to regulate the water so it's safe to take your shoes off and go in. During the summer, this area is very busy with lots of energetic kids.
I should also emphasize that this park is not just for children. On a nice day, you are bound to see families having picnics, couples out for a stroll and other people by themselves just resting on a park bench sipping on a beverage while enjoying the peaceful scenery.
Like many parks in Japan, they come well-equipped with places to change and care for your infant and/or toddler. There are restrooms, vending machines and even an indoor rest area in front of the main parking lot.
I have been to many parks, but none that have matched this one in terms cleanliness, size and variety. No matter if you have a family, are a couple, or just out on your own, I highly recommend a stop at Shinrin Park.