The gift that keeps on giving. That's Shimizu Koen. A sprawling outdoor adventure park in Noda City, Chiba Prefecture, Shimizu Koen has been continuously serving up family friendly enjoyment for many a decade now.
One of Japan's top 100 spots for viewing the cherry blossoms, Shimizu Koen is an open-air lover's delight. Not only featuring the nation's iconic floral representative, the park offers temples, shrines, camping, adventure obstacle courses both on land and water, botanical gardens, children's playride attractions, BBQs, restaurants and yes, even pony rides.
With some serious space, visitors used to Tokyo's bustling numbers or Kyoto's refined traditions, the suburban outpost of Noda City may seem sleepy in comparison. Well, let's be frank. It is sleepy. But isn't that part of the charm - suburban Japan with space and open skies?
Now, one of Shimizu Koen's most appealing attractions is the trout fishing pond. For a small fee of JPY200 for rod and bait, you can catch as many trout as you want to eat. Now, while you can catch and release your trout, each one you do keep will set you back JPY400. With a grilling fee of JPY100 per fish, you have a very affordable little lunch.
And tasty too. Salted fish grilled over charcoal, what a most pleasant and rustic way to enjoy an afternoon outside in the suburbs. There's not much else like it. The scores of families feeling the same way only adds to the appeal.
Surrounded by sky, space and sun, Shimizu Koen and its trout pond is a lovely place to visit if you want to experience a bit of Japan's Japan. Catch some trout there, enjoy the time with your family, and you'll soon see why Shimizu Koen is a gift that keeps on giving.
Take the Tobu Urban Park line to Shimizu Koen station. The park is a pleasant 10-minute walk from the West Exit.
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A Japanese Permanent Resident who enjoys drooling over proper soba and sushi, Japanese aesthetics ticks all the right boxes for me and I enjoy stringing words together. I've almost one hundred published articles on Japan as well as five English language books written in the traditional Japanese zuihitsu-style.