Tokyo is a city almost completely devoid of green, an in particular lush green grass. Where there is grass of any quality in Tokyo, it tends to be surrounded by a fence with 立ち入り禁止 (keep out) written on it, or a ticket barrier demanding an entrance fee.
For several years, if I wanted to sit in a park, I resigned myself to the fact I’d just have to jump on a train to somewhere like the Tachikawa national park and pay the entrance fee to get my fix of sitting on some grass.
Then one day I randomly stumbled across this (pictured above) large expanse of lush grass behind Meiji Shrine (called Yoyogi Shibafu Park), with trees and rolling hills in the middle of central Tokyo. Moreover there’s no entrance fee, and no it’s not Shinjuku Gyoen (which is nice but still has a ¥500 entrance fee, and gets rather crowded).
I almost don’t want to reveal the location of this ‘secret’ park for fear of it becoming too popular. Most days that I’ve been, there’s been just a scattering of other visitors which is mind boggling considering it’s only a 10minute walk from the main central yoyogi park which is usually pretty rammed on a warm spring day.
Probably the easiest way to get there is to alight at Yoyogi Station, head to the North entrance to Meiji Jingu and follow the path leading to the right.
If I see too many people in this park, then maybe we’ll have to take this post down!
No Eating, Drinking, Running…
Whilst you will likely see some unruly types enjoying a picnic, you’ll hear regular tannoy announcements in Japanese and English reminding you eating and drinking is forbidden in this park. In my experience a subtle snack, or bottle want attract attention, but I’m sure a large bluesheet chu-hi picnic will quickly get shut down. In addition running is also banned, as is cycling or even just wheeling your bike through – the guardmen at the gates will quickly thwart any attempt.