By Mandy Bartok
The Komatsu manufacturing company has long had a presence in the city of Komatsu, a short train ride south of Kanazawa. In celebration of the company's 90th anniversary, Komatsu transformed a vacant lot, which was the location of their former manufacturing plant, into a sprawling park and green space that aims to welcome community members of all ages.
Komatsu is best known for their construction equipment, a claim that is certainly in evidence with one of the park's main attractions - the world's largest dump truck. The 930 Super-Large dump truck, unmissable with its coat of bright yellow paint, stands a towering 7.3 meters tall and can haul loads of up to 297 tons. When staff members are present, visitors are allowed to tour the massive machine's interior. The dump truck was actually used previously to haul copper in a Chilean mine.
The grounds also include the Waku-waku Komatsu Kan, a recreation of the two-story wooden headquarters that housed the Komatsu company from 1930 until the building's demolition in 1996. The current property, roofed with tiles sourced from the Komatsu area, is now a center with activities designed for children. Educators and former employees also use the pavilion to offer classes to young learners which emphasize science and manufacturing.
In one corner of Komatsu-no-Mori, nearly 20,000 square meters of land has been set aside as a natural parkland. This area, known as Genki-Satoyama,gives visitors and city dwellers the opportunity to experience a more rural side of the Kaga region. A bubbling stream runs through a portion of the parkland, attracting numerous aquatic life and showcasing a range of plants and flowers. Aside from the forested corner, there is also a cherry grove. In spring, the flowering pink trees provide the perfect backdrop for family picnics.
Entrance to all of the park's sections is free. The park is located just a short walk from JR Komatsu station.
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