Plenty of space and some interesting connections with the nation's cultural and historical heritage, the parks of Itabashi CIty Ward are as interesting as they are popular. Family friendly, they are a natural drawcard for parents and children and make for an authentically enjoyable suburban Tokyo experience. Here is an introduction to some of the parks and gardens of Itabashi and how to access them.

Akatsuka Park

There is a deceptive amount of space here with plenty of cherry blossom trees to enjoy. However, the main claim to fame of Akatsuka Park is its location of the former 15th century Akatsuka Castle. The park also features plenty of sports fields and, stretching out over an extended area, connects to numerous smaller parks including the bamboo grove of Takenoko Park.

A 10-minute walk from Takashimadaira Station on the Toei Mita Line.

Akatsuka Park (Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikkot02/50359158223" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">Mikhail Kotykhov / CC BY 2.0</a>)
Akatsuka Park (Photo: Mikhail Kotykhov / CC BY 2.0)

Akatsuka Botanical Gardens

With its hundreds of plant varieties, the Akatsuka Botanical Gardens turns out to be Tokyo's first municipal garden. It also serves as the entrance to the Man'yo Garden, a garden named after the Man'yoshu, Japan's oldest work of poetry courtesy of the medicinal plants and herbs mentioned in it and found in the garden.

A 16-minute walk from Narimasu Station on the Tobu Tojo Line.

Akatsuka Botanical Gardens (Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/8305862@N07/33213920550/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">Takayuki Miki / CC BY-ND 2.0</a>)
Akatsuka Botanical Gardens (Photo: Takayuki Miki / CC BY-ND 2.0)

Johoku-chuo Park

Straddling two city wards, Itabashi's eastern section of the huge Johoku-chuo Park is home to several baseball fields, tennis courts, children play areas as well as a large variety of trees. A magnet for families on the weekends and a popular location for joggers, the neighbouring ward's section of the park features the Kurihara Ruins.

An 8-minute walk from Kami-itabashi Station on the Tobu Tojo Line.

Johoku-chuo Park (Photo: <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Johoku-Chuo-Park-2010.jpg" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">Koujigenba / CC BY-SA 3.0</a>)
Johoku-chuo Park (Photo: Koujigenba / CC BY-SA 3.0)

Mitsugi Park

Highlighted by its huge pond, the family friendly, Mitsugi Park is a great location for some easy fishing and boat rides with the kids. The park also features some two hundred plum trees and, along with the cherry blossoms, waterfall and play area, makes for a fantastic suburban day out with family and friends.

A 5-minute walk from Shimura-sakaue Station on the Toei Mita Line.

Mitsugi park (Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/8305862@N07/26783245015/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">Takayuki Miki / CC BY-ND 2.0</a>)
Mitsugi park (Photo: Takayuki Miki / CC BY-ND 2.0)