Yoyogi, Hibiya, Ueno, Shinjuku … when you think ‘Tokyo park’ these are the heavy hitters that spring to mind. No doubt, all worthy park experiences in their own right. Head further afield though, and one can find more swathes of green hiding in Tokyo’s suburbs.
Komazawa Olympic Park is a little gem. No, that’s wrong, it’s absolutely massive! The park sits in Setagaya-ku, amongst the money ghettos dotted along the Tokyu Den-en-toshi Line (a 15 min walk from Komazawa-daigaku Station, just follow everyone else). Despite its affluent location, Komazawa Park is good for an outing on the cheap in Tokyo, and is free to enter.
First impressions here are of the clash between countryside greens and hulking great, 1960s post-modern(?) concrete architecture. Here lie facilities built for the 1964 Olympic games. Komazawa has continued this sporting tradition so don’t stare at the architecture for too long; here you have to be on the lookout for sporty types of all shapes and sizes; joggers, cyclists, kids wobbling on unstabilized bikes, rouge dogs, glaring skaters ….
And then there are the facilities; stadiums, pitches, tennis courts, archery ranges … everything you could need to accommodate an international mob of Olympians. See a comprehensive list on the park homepage, here.
Komazawa (Olympic) Park has much to offer the casual visitor too, and a lot of it for free. A sizable skate park houses ramps, a half pipe, and a strict code of conduct laid down by the locals (there’s a sign!). The park (the green bit) is also a great place to bring the kids, with play areas and a special space for them to practice riding their bikes. As we mentioned earlier, watch as you walk around Komazawa; there are extensive jogging/cycling (bikes available for rent) courses snaking through the park with a steady stream of users, in varying states of physical condition!
Those who fancy lighter forms of exercise should make a bee-line for the the ペアペア/Pair Pair Cycle Course. Hand over 210 yen (and possibly your dignity), and settled into some kind of four-wheeled, pedal-powered, mechanical hilarity, for a couple of laps around a meandering course. Drop any too-cool-for-school attitude you may have, and you’ll have a blast. The kids will love it, too. We gave it a bash, and made a video as we did (whilst doing our best not to take out any stray joggers!).
Check out our Komazawa Park video above!
Address: 1-1 Komazawa-Koen, Setagaya-ku Tokyo
Find a simple map .. here.