THIS POST WAS WRITTEN IN 2013.
I won’t pretend to understand the timing of Autumn Leaves in Japan. The leaves around here have started to fall, but 15 kilometres North West, in Shinrin park, the warm colours are coming into their prime. In theory, as the area is higher ground and further North the leaves should fall before this area…? Regardless, Shinrin park is one of the best places to enjoy Autumn leaves when you have young children.
The leaves have started to change colour, but it will be another week or so until the really vibrant shades can be enjoyed. It is still quite pretty at the moment. The reason I like this park for viewing is that there are plenty of playgrounds to keep the kids entertained while we appreciate the scenery. It is a park that you can spend a full day in with the result it attracts tourists, all year round, from near and far. Many commute from Tokyo and surrounding prefectures to see the leaves and illumination at this time of year. They have a special night-time entry for viewing the leaves with illumination for the month of November and part of December.
The park is vast, 304 hectares, to put that in perspective; 65 times the size of Tokyo Dome! You can’t bring your own bikes into the park, but you can rent a bike. It is 450 yen to rent an adult bike or mamachari for 3 hours, 200 yen for children. They have designated cycling courses. We saw segways today, too. There is also the park bus that goes between the gates of the park and stops at the popular spots en route.
The adventure playground, giant ball play area and the musashi kids dome are close to each other and its easy to walk between each. However, the “ponpoko mountain”, Japan’s largest trampoline, is at least a 20 minute walk away. You can use one of the afore mentioned modes of transport to go from the play areas at the West entrance to the ponpoko mountain near the central gate.
There are many activities and attractions on offer to people of all ages.
ACCESS AND FURTHER DETAILS
Shinrin Park is what the locals call it, but the official name is Musashi-kyuryo National Park.
Address: Hiki-gun, Namegawa-machi, 滑川町Yamata, １９２０
Phone: +81 493-57-2111
Hours: 9.30 am to 4.30 pm **Hours change during the seasons and there are extended hours during winter illumination
Tobu Tojo Line from Ikebukuro Station
From Shinrin-koen Station on the Tobu Tojo Line
Get off at Shinrin-koen Station on the Tobu Tojo Line, and there is a bus stop and taxi stand at the North Exit. It is approx. a 3 km (approx. 40 min.) walk to the Shinrin Park’s South Gate.
Bus: To Shinrin Park South Exit (Running on Saturdays, Sundays, and national holidays only), Get on the direct bus to Shinrin-koen,and get off at the last stop
To Kumagaya Sta. South Exit and To Rissho Daigaku, for South gate get off at Namerikawa Chugakko, and walk approx. 5 min. For West Gate, Get off at Shinrin-koen West Ent., and it is directly before you
JR Takasaki Line to Kumagaya
From Kumagaya Station on the JR Takasaki Line
Get off at Kumagaya Station on the JR Takasaki Line, and there is a bus stop at the South Exit.
BUS: To Shinrin-koen Station, For West Gate: Get off at Shinrin-koen West Ent., and it is directly before you. For South Gate: Get off at Shinrin-koen South Ent.,
and it is directly before you
Please visit their website, for information in English and / or to check opening hours, access and entrance and parking fees; http://www.shinrin-koen.go.jp/english/