Inside this huge park are three museums, a planetarium, easy hiking trails surrounded by lush trees, a big picnic area and a viewing deck where you can see Mt. Fuji on a clear day. The best thing is, the entrance to the park, the science museum and the viewing deck are FREE. The park itself is open 24x7 so you can come as early as you want.
Let’s talk about the first museum first. As you walk in through the East gate, you’ll find the Nihon Minka-en or the Japan Open-Air Folk House Museum on your right. Inside are more than 20 Japanese traditional folk houses and three of them are just like the thatched roof houses that you see in Shirakawa-go. The Yamashita house has a soba restaurant inside. I highly recommend eating in the restaurant to see and feel the architecture of a gassho-zukuri house. The entrance fee is 500 yen for adults and 300 yen for students.
As you go up the slope, you will see the picnic area with a steam locomotive display and the Kawasaki Municipal Science Museum. It is a small science museum but still worth taking a look at. If you are tired from all the walking and want to cool down, I suggest buying a ticket and relax inside the planetarium. The chairs are spacious and I guarantee you will get sleepy while watching the show. On special days, they let you use the telescope to view the sun and planets. The planetarium ticket costs 400 yen for adults and 200 yen for students.
Walk past the picnic area and the tall trees, then go up the flight of stairs. There, you’ll find the Taro Okamoto Museum of Art. See the interesting works of Mr. Taro Okamoto, a Kawasaki born artist. His most famous artwork is the Tower of the Sun, a 70-meter building located in Osaka. There is a replica of it inside the museum. The permanent exhibition fee is 500 yen.
After indulging yourself with art, why not experience Japanese Aizome. It’s a traditional dyeing technique with a deep blue color design that is commonly seen in handkerchiefs and T-shirts here in Japan. The workshop building is located near the Taro Okamoto Museum of Art. It takes about 60 to 90 minutes to do the workshop. The cost for dyeing a plain handkerchief (45cm x 45cm) is 700 yen, while the bandana (54cm x 54cm) is 880 yen.
Do a little bit of hiking and look for the Mt. Masugata observation deck. It’s a small platform but you can see Tokyo Skytree and Mt. Fuji. I suggest going during the spring season as it surrounded by beautiful cherry blossom trees. There is also a picnic area so you can enjoy cherry blossom viewing in spring.
If you still have the time and energy, go all out and visit the Fujiko-F-Fujio Museum and the Rose Garden. Both are a 20-minute walk from the East gate of the park. Fujiko Fujio is a manga artist who drew the famous Japanese anime character Doraemon. You will have to buy the tickets in advance as the museum does not accept walk-in guests. The Rose Garden is only open during the spring and autumn season. Season opening schedules can be found on their website.