By Cathy Cawood
Kasai Rinkai Park was recently brought into media attention when one of the resident Humboldt Penguins at its Tokyo Sea Life aquarium made a great escape into Tokyo Bay.
Aside from this astonishing news headline, Kasai Rinkai Park should be highlighted as one of the largest and most peaceful parks in Tokyo. It provides perfect refuge for those seeking respite from the grey concrete city.
So if you’re looking for a place to rest and relax instead of forking out for expensive trips to the spa, why not head back to nature? Located just on the edge of central Tokyo and just one stop from Tokyo Disney Resort, Kasai Rinkai Koen is easily accessible via the JR Keiyo line in less than 20 minutes from Tokyo station.
The wide expanse of green space overlooking the sea of Tokyo Bay is a popular weekend spot for picnickers, kite flyers, birdwatchers, nature photographers and the list goes on. Unlike other popular parks in Tokyo, this park never feels too cramped and crowded, and manages to maintain a constant atmosphere of calm regardless of whether it’s a weekday or weekend.
Dubbed by Tokyo Metropolitan Park Association as ‘the waterfront where greenery, water and people meet’, they also rated it top for families and BBQs, and for me this is indeed the perfect place for a Spring Hanami picnic next to fragrant plum and cherry blossoms or a Summer BBQ by the beach with friends (swimming however is prohibited).
The park has several areas that permit BBQs and one of these areas even provide BBQ rental grills for a fee; however you must reserve these well in advance as they are very popular. The alternative route (and the one I like to take) is to simply bring your own! By bringing your own BBQ set you can then have the choice of setting up on the beach (there are white-topped huts dotted around that provide taps to wash your sandy feet). Or find a peaceful grassy spot near the Ferris wheel to lounge under the shade of leafy green trees.
The impressive ‘Diamond and Flower’ Ferris wheel, named because of how the lights on it look against the night sky, pretty much dominates the landscape of the park. This Ferris wheel is the tallest operating wheel in Japan and offers stunning views of Tokyo Bay, Tokyo Disneyland and (if you’re lucky) Mount Fuji , to name but a few sights.
It costs 700 yen per person and takes 17 minutes to complete one rotation. I was lucky enough to catch the blazing sunset over the city skyline as I reached the highest point of the wheel. If you decide to ride the wheel in the evening then I recommend you go on around 8:15pm, as you are likely to see fireworks from nearby Disneyland (from 8:30pm) and the twinkling lights of Rainbow Bridge.
Overall in my opinion this park is one of the best in Tokyo and offers something for everyone; be it a romantic date, a family outing or a get-together with friends.
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Japan is such an amazing country and everywhere I go here, it never fails to surprise me with unexpected delights, whether they be beautiful parks and peaceful gardens, obsure islands, cool bars or awesome eateries.I'm here to share my passion for good food and drink and to introduce you to some of my latest discoveries. Enjoy exploring Japan! :)