By Dmitry Rakin
If you want space to breath in Tokyo then Kiba Park is the place for you. Once an integral partof Tokyo's lumber industry, Kiba Park was given park status in the mid-70s to commemorate 50 years of the Emperor Hirohito's reign and has evolved to become a much appreciated green spot for the locals.
A huge and most impressive suspension bridge, itself worthy of visiting, crosses the Sendai-bori River and connects the two sides of the park. On the south side, you'll find the relatively small but well maintained Toshiryokka Botanical Gardens with walking paths through the foliage, a large open green area that includes a barbecue area, a dog run and a visitors centre known as the Midorium. At the north-east end of the south side you'll find hidden amongst the trees a children's playground while on the north-west is the Event Pond.
The Event Pond deserves some attention as it is the remains of what was once a staging point for the lumber industry in Tokyo. Logs were transported by barge to the pond for storage and sorting. Kiba's lumber heritage is maintained through the Koto Ward Citizen's Festival where people perform all manner of balance tricks on logs floating in the pond.
Cross the suspension bridge and you'll come across a surprisingly decent kiosk serving all manner of hot foods and ice cream. It's not gourmet food, by any stretch of the imagination, but it is far more than vending machine fair. Six tennis courts can be found here, as well as walking paths through the trees and a few children's play areas. At the far end of the north side lies the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo.
Kiba Park is another example of local Tokyo and local space working together for everyone's benefit. Lots of green, lots of space and lots of fun, Kiba Park is a lovely place to relax, unwind and watch the people go by.
Take the Tozai Line to Kiba Station. The park is about 5 minutes from Exit 3. Otherwise, it's a 15-minute walk from Exit 1 of Kiyosumi-shirakawa Station on the Oedo Line.
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A Japanese Permanent Resident, I drool over proper soba and sushi while Japanese aesthetics ticks all the right boxes for me.With over 100 published articles on Japan as well as 5 English language books written in a traditional Japanese style, I also happen enjoy writing. Funny that...I'm also the Regional Partner for Tokyo, Japan's never ending capital, so if you've anything to say about Tokyo - or Japan in general - don't be shy and contact with me via firstname.lastname@example.org