Tachibananooka Park

Yokohama suburban parks - part 2

By Rey Waters    - 3 min read

Another nice park within a 50-minute walk of my home is little known Tachibanooka Park.

Many parks in Yokohama have very colorful histories and Tachibananooka is no exception. It became a community park in 2011 but before the area was incorporated into Yokohama, it was the site of Japan Carlit Hodogaya, a gun powder manufacturer. After WWI there was a large demand for gun powder, both military and private. As a result, Carlit Hodogaya was built in 1919. It is interesting that the company left the surrounding forest alone so it would be a buffer in case of an explosion.

One of four mixing rooms
One of four mixing rooms

As you walk near the former factory area there are earthen mounds, which also provided explosion protection. When the plant was expanded in 1955, there were a total of 40 such mounds. Throughout the park are historical markers, many are pictorial, so even if you cannot read Japanese the signs are self-explanatory.

Sign about the original wall
Sign about the original wall

Prior to the gun powder plant, the forest was filled with wildlife and they had to build a wall up on the hill to keep the hunters out.

Piece of the original wall
Piece of the original wall

The park is in both Hodogaya and Asahi wards and is also another great place for bird watching. There is a pond where I used to go, very early in the morning, to spot the kingfisher. In 2021 the pond was cleaned out and is yet to be opened it back to the public.

The original pond before its renewal in 2021
The original pond before its renewal in 2021

The pond was not easily found by the morning walkers as are some of the monuments in the park. One monument a memorial tower is well hidden in a bamboo grove. I have walked the area for years before finally noticing it a few months ago. When the plant was in operation there were a few explosions and this tower was built to memorialize those employees who died.

Monument dedicated to employees who lost their lives due to explosions
Monument dedicated to employees who lost their lives due to explosions

Near the main entrance to the park is an earth mound tunnel with rail tracks used to move carts from the mixing room to the Sun City Yokohama Factory. These brick entrances were also used as shelters away from the factory area.

Tracks used to move carts from the mixing room to Sun City Yokohama Factory
Tracks used to move carts from the mixing room to Sun City Yokohama Factory

As you walk around the forest there are some additional tunnels that are covered with overgrowth. When the area became a park, it was quite costly to maintain the mounds and tunnels and so it was decided to let them deteriorate and keep the ones on what was called Garden Road.

The park has some plum trees, several cherry trees with a very beautiful weeping cherry tree, donated by the Carlit Company. There are benches throughout the park, some in remote areas, great for sitting and watching the birds.

 Sakura cherry blossoms, April 4th
Sakura cherry blossoms, April 4th

Getting there

The park is a 5-minute walk from the entrance to Sun City Yokohama, Kawashima Iwama Line Road where are bus stops on both sides of the highway.

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Rey Waters

Rey Waters @rey.waters

Born in the U.S.A. - Worked 30 years in executive management high tech Industry, owned a management consulting firm and a wildlife art publishing company.  In 2012 completed the Ultimate Travel Writer’s course and published my first article Tower Hopping in Japan with Travel Post Monthly.  Since then I have published travel related articles and books in the U.S., Japan, and Costa Rica. As of 2018 I have traveled all 8 regions in Japan.   My objective in writing articles is to expose prospective tourists to areas of Japan outside the Tokyo - Kyoto corridor.   I enjoy writing about the outdoors, festivals, crafts, museums, local food, history, and the wonderful people I have met along the way. Residing in Yokohama for over eight years, I have explored the entire city by foot and have written about my experiences.   There is so much to see in Japan.

Join the discussion

Justin Velgus 3 months ago
A quick online search tells me the Carlit company is still producing gunpowder today for things like fireworks! There is an unrelated company here in Sendai that has long produced fireworks. It operates a rare gun store, selling hunting rifles to those that pass the rigorous license process and even antique guns.
Elena Lisina 3 months ago
I also like the shots of birds, sakura and nature. The creations of humans look ugly.
Kim 3 months ago
Great birdlife photos!
Sleiman Azizi 3 months ago
There's a lot of hidden history in these places.
Sleiman Azizi 3 months ago
I often found myself shaking my head in disbelief that I could have missed such discoveries whenever I found them.