By Shinya Ota
The air has become clear. The sun has grown milder. The temperature won’t go over 30C in the daytime. It seems the typhoon of the last week has taken the summer with it. I feel relieved as we had a long scorching hot humid summer. I could not but go out for a walk on the weekend in such a nice weather. It really encourages me to go.
Negishi Shinrin Park or Negishi Forest Park is one of my favorite places to go on a beautiful day. It is on a hilly area of Negishi, a 40 minute-walk from the Yamate area.
The park contained the first horse race track in the nation until 70 years ago. The oval walk of 1.3km and the ivy covered racetrack stands remind you of it. Now trees are planted and the grass covers a large part of the park. I like this place because there is no noise from the streets, but rather, chirping of birds. It is a quiet and peaceful place. You can forget you are in the town. Some people are jogging. Some are walking with their dogs. Some are playing with balls on the grass. Some are doing Tai Chi under the tree. It is a place of relaxation.
Throughout the year, people visit this park. There are some 350 cherry trees in the park. When cherry blossoms bloom in spring, people come with their families or friends to spend weekends having lunch on the grass under the trees. Some are even singing Karaoke. That is the most crowded season of the year. I visit here every season. I like the park in spring and fall. I also like it the day after it snows. I like walking in the cold air looking at snow on the grass.
The ivy covered old stands of the horse racetrack are located outside the park. It is in a restricted area. You cannot enter the building.
The Equine Museum of Japan stands next to the park and it has a stable called Pony Center where about 8 horses and a few ponies are kept. In the morning, the horses are taken care of by the staff. The third Sunday of the month visitors to the museum can ride the horses. (In April and June through November, both on the 1st and the 4th Sunday)
Ponies: Kids from 3, and younger than 8 years old: 13:30 -14:20
Horses: Kids 8 years old to adults 13:45 – 14:20
It is a great place to spend outside in the beautiful weather in fall.
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