8 Wondrous Picnic Spots in Tokyo

Tiffany

Cherry blossom season isn’t the only time to roll out your mat and prepare your basket with edible goodies! Whether it’s a sunny, breezy spring day; a hot summer afternoon; or a cool day in autumn, there’s always a good excuse to have a picnic (except during winter). Here are some spots to consider for your next picnic:

1. Yoyogi Park

yoyogi park picnic spot tokyo
Photo by Tranpan23 used under CC

Access: Harajuku or Yoyogi Station

No list of recommended picnic spots in Tokyo is complete without Yoyogi Park, Tokyo’s hippest park. Some parks are visited for the scenery, but Yoyogi Park tends to be a center of activity, so holding a picnic here is not unusual—winter’s pretty much the only time when you don’t see picnicking groups over here. The park is spacious and grassy, and in between enjoying your food, you can also go people-watching.

2. Showa Memorial Park

showa kinen picnic spot tokyo
Photo by Yuki Shimazu used under CC

Access: Tachikawa Station


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Admission: 410 yen (adults), 80 yen (children 6-15 years old), 210 yen (senior citizens)

Hours: 9:30 am-5:00 pm (4:30 pm from November-February)

While Showa Memorial Park is a bit far from central Tokyo (about 30 minutes away from Shinjuku), this huge park is 1.8 sq. km. large—enough space for a nice picnic. In fact, every year, the park plays host to Tokyo Picnic, a mass gathering of picnickers and an effort to get more people to enjoy outdoor activities. (The 2015 Tokyo Picnic will be held from November 14-15, for those interested.) And speaking of outdoor activities, Showa Memorial Park offers a few, such as cycling and boating. It’s also a great place for a barbecue, but we’ll get to that in another article.

3. Mizumoto Park

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Photo by Yoshikazu Takada used under CC

Access: 7-minute walk from Mizumoto-Koen bus stop (Keisei Bus bound for Togasaki-Soshajo or Nishi-Mizumoto 3-chome)

This park in Katsushika Ward doesn’t enjoy the same amount of fame as Yoyogi Park, Inokashira Park, or Shinjuku Gyoen, and its lack of accessibility probably contributes to that, as the nearest station (Kanamachi Station on the JR Joban Line) is about 2 km away, which means that you have to take a bus from the station. (From March to November, the park administration offers a special bus service to the park on weekends and holidays, though).
So what does Mizumoto Park have to offer? It’s Tokyo’s biggest park with water landscapes, and it’s also the area in Tokyo with the most irises. Being surrounded by water, and having a forest of metasequoia trees to boot, it’s considerably cool there, so it might be a good idea to visit Mizumoto Park during the summer. Its central field is perfect for picnics and barbecues.

4. Inokashira Park

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Photo by Kimon Berlin used under CC

Access: Kichijoji Station

You’ve probably heard of Inokashira Park because of its popularity as a cherry blossom-viewing spot. Even without the cherry blossoms, though, Inokashira Park’s forest-like ambiance makes it a suitable picnic ground. Being in suburban Tokyo, Inokashira Park isn’t exactly surrounded by skyscrapers, so for a moment, you can relax and pretend that you’re not in the city.



5. Shinjuku Gyoen

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Photo by Japanexpertna.se used under CC

Access: Shinjuku Station

Admission: 200 yen

Hours: 9:00 am-4:30 pm

While Shinjuku Gyoen is a popular picnic and sightseeing spot (especially when the cherry blossoms are in bloom), it’s notable for having stricter rules than other parks. For one, bringing alcohol into the park isn’t allowed, and security actually does a baggage check before you enter. Loud music is also not allowed here. If you want to have a peaceful, quiet picnic, this is the place for you. The ban on alcohol also makes this park more family-friendly.



6. Kasai Rinkai Park

kasai rinkai tokyo picnic spots
Photo by Yoshikazu Takada used under CC

Access: Kasai Rinkai Koen Station

A sprawling park with attractions such as a Ferris wheel, aquarium, and bird sanctuary, Kasai Rinkai Park is worth considering for its spaciousness and tranquility. It hasn’t reached the same level of Yoyogi Park, after all, so it’s easier to enjoy some peace and quiet here. It also allows barbecue parties.

And for the hikers out there, here are a few places where you can reward yourselves with a picnic amidst beautiful scenery after a long hike:

7. Mt. Takao

takao picnic spots tokyo
Photo by Yoshikazu Takada used under CC

Access: Takao Station

Tokyo’s resident mountain, it provides lovely, scenic views, especially during spring and autumn. There are picnic tables around the area for you to relax after your hike.

8. Okutama

okutama picnic spots tokyo
Photo by Guilhem Vellut used under CC

Access: Okutama Station

An area in Western Tokyo that borders Saitama, Okutama is popular in autumn for its vibrant leaves. It’s hard to believe that Okutama is still part of Tokyo because of its natural beauty: clean, flowing waters; valleys; and lots and lots of trees with not a skyscraper in sight. Okutama has several hiking trails, but it may be intimidating for beginners due to its rugged terrain. Along the trail, there are picnic benches where you can take in the scenery.

Bonus: Kinchakuda, Saitama

mount hidawa view
Visibility wasn’t the best

We also covered a nice countryside walk in Satiama, just 45 mins away from Ikebukuro station. There’s a few picnic spots along the way. Read the article for a full detailed itinerary.

Access: Hanno Station

In the mood for something a bit heartier? Try these BBQ spots around Tokyo.

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One Response to “8 Wondrous Picnic Spots in Tokyo”

  1. Ash Baker

    I randomly went to Anderson Koen a few weeks back, amazing place. Should be on the list, really good with kids as well.


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