In the residential neighbourhood of Mejiro lies a curious opportunity to experience the tranquility of the natural world. The area now occupied by Mejiro no Mori - Mejiro Woods - was originally slated for development. The residents, it turned out, weren't too happy about this, agitated against the plans to build and ended up managing to preserve the area as is.
Officially a 'forest for the residents of the city', Mejiro-no-Mori is not actually a public park, nor even a garden. In practice, though, it can be either as the area is filled with Japanese beech trees, camphor trees and the botanically minded will also notice myrtle, soapberry and mochi plants. Bird lovers will no doubt enjoy spotting the numerous bird species to be found here including bulbuls and bush warblers.
Along with the natural flora, the woods also feature a number of benches for visitors to relax on, a hand water pump that is popular with the kids, an information centre in the form of a log house, wheelchair accessible toilets and a small pond aptly named Tonbo Ike - Dragonfly Pond. Besides the dragonflies, the pond is also home to crayfish and, if you visit when spring starts, tadpoles too.
Perhaps the most curious feature of the wood is its sculpture. Formed out of the root system of a tree, this sculpture was donated by resident volunteers as a monument to help 'watch over' the area. Volunteers also watch and survey over the wild birds who make use of the wood.
A visit to Mejiro no Mori will go a long way to thank the residents who managed to protect this little piece of nature in the middle of Tokyo.