One of the things I set out to do while in Japan this year was to pay a visit to the Godzilla Slide in Yokosuka, which is further down the coast, just west of Yokohama. The recent snowstorm did not keep me from going. Actually, it was snowing in Yokosuka the day I visited.
I got up early in the morning to make the trek. It was cold in Tokyo, but I didn't let that dissuade me from heading down to Yokosuka.
I took the Yamanote Line to Shinagawa Station in Tokyo to catch the Keikyu Limited Express train to Yokosuka. The cost of the one-way train ticket was under ¥700. The final stop of the Limited Express was Kurihama Station in Yokosuka, that is also the closest station to the Godzilla Slide, which is at the Kurihama Flower World park.
I arrived at the Kurihama Station about an hour after leaving Tokyo. When I arrived, snow was falling. I decided that I should have a light breakfast before heading to Kurihama Flower World. At the train station, I found a coffee shop. So I went there and had some French toast with a cup of coffee.
After finishing my meal, I went outside and hailed a taxi. Although the walk to Kurihama Flower World is about a 15 minute walk from the station, I guessed (correctly, it turned out) that I should conserve my energy and my feet to concentrate on taking the hike to the slide. Therefore, the taxi was the logical thing to do.
Once I got to the park, I checked the big map boards to see which is the most direct way to the Godzilla Slide in the park's Adventure Land. There really wasn't any. So I went to the trail head that was nearest to the park's entrance and proceeded on.
I should warn you, especially if you aren't the hiking type or have any physical limitations, the hike is uphill and moderately steep. The trail is paved and it has a some steps to climb. Fortunately, I've had some experience in hiking steep grades, so I knew how to pace myself (especially now that I have clocked over 60 years of age).
The hike itself seemed longer than the 15-20 minutes it actually took, only because the snow was falling a little bit harder and the wind was blowing bone-chillingly cold. Frankly, the ideal time to do the hike is in the autumn or spring months, where the temperatures are not in any extremes. It might be good to hike it during the summer months as the forrested trail has plenty of shade from the surrounding trees. The walk downhill is a lot more enjoyable.
Once I got to the hilltop clearing where the Godzilla Slide is located, I found that the area surrounding it was a few inches deep in snow, and where there wasn't snow, it was a big and very wet mud puddle. In order to keep my shoes from getting soaked and muddy, I carefully walked in areas were people had already walked and compacted the snow. As I walked around the Godzilla Slide, I snapped a few photos of it. It is 10 meters tall (about 33 feet) and kids can go down the slide from Godzilla's stomach (actually, the entrance to the slide is at Godzilla's crotch, which is a little bizarre) to tail.
The current Godzilla Slide replaced an earlier one that got so weather-beaten that it had to be demolished in 1973. The locals missed having the slide, so a campaign was started to raise funds to erect a new one. The new one opened in October 1999, 26 years after the original one was demolished.
If you are a Godzilla fan and are physically fit enough to undertake the hike, I recommend a visit to Kurihama Flower World's Adventure Land to see the slide.
As I visited Kurihama Flower World during winter, there were no flowers to be seen. However, if you visit the park in the spring or summer months, many flowers will be in bloom (the dominant color is pink from fields of poppies) and there is also a herb garden to enjoy.
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Armand Vaquer is the author of "The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan." He has visited Japan eight times researching locations and landmarks used in Japanese science-fiction and fantasy movies and kaiju-related attractions. He has spoken on the subject at Monsterpalooza, G-Fest, Mad Monster Party and Stan Lee's Comikaze Expo conventions and at Distant Lands Travel Bookstore and Outfitters in Pasadena, California. He has his own blog, "Armand's Rancho Del Cielo" and contributes to "Monster Island News." He is an insurance claims examiner and resides in Tarzana, California.