Category Archives: TACHIKAWA

Think of Tachikawa as the big city nearest Yokota,  your own wee metropolis. This lively place is a mere 17 minutes from Fussa by train, but it feels so much more Tokyo, with lots of shopping and good eats. It’s got enough bright lights to dazzle but not exhaust you. If you need an urban fix and but don’t have time for a full-on Tokyo experience, Tachikawa is your best bet. Or maybe you’re jonesing for wide-open spaces, room to run around where no one knows your name. Try Showa Kinen (Memorial) Park. It’s just steps from the Nishi-Tachikawa train stop.

Ramen Square, Tachikawa

Ramen Square is a collection of seven ramen shops, combined on the third floor of a building in Tachikawa. When you step into the square, you feel like you are entering the streets of Manhattan. Each shop has a specialty ramen dish. Prices range from ¥500 to ¥1200. It’s open 11:00 to 24:00, last order is 23:30. Phone: 042-521-7111. Website: http://ramen-square.com/.

The Square is located south of the Tachikawa Station, near the Tachikawaminami Station. It’s on the third floor of the Arearea 2 building. It will be marked with green NYC style road signs. GPS: 35.6961514, 139.4128046. Michelle Nexon, July 2014.

Shravan Indian Restaurant

Shravan serves Indian cuisine prepared by 5 star hotel chefs. Located in Tachikawa, it’s a short 4 minute walk from the station, in the basement of a green building that’s easy to miss. But its customer service and cuisine are worth the trip.

photo 3For a starter, you can choose from a large variety of meats and vegetables, including tandoori chicken, fish and prawns. Once you have finished your starter, you can choose from a large selection of curries, including mixed vegetable, chicken masala, butter chicken, mutton, egg masala and more. Don’t forget your rice and/or naan. Pick from butter, cheese, garlic, sweet, sesame, tomato, etc. During lunch hours, you can order a set meal, which includes small salad, curry, naan or rice, and a drink. Sets are approximately ¥800 to ¥900.

To get there, walk out of Tachikawa Station’s South entrance. Head southeast. Please see the map below for more details, or use GPS coordinates to help find the way, 35.696000,139.415843. Shravan is open seven days a week, 11:00 to 15:00 and 17:00 to 23:00. Last order is 22:30. Visit their site for more information. http://www.shravan.jp/en/. Phone 042 526 1422. Michelle Nexon, April 2014.

 

Rose Hogs in Tachikawa

DSC_0067_1Rose Hogs is a great place to get an international beer very close to Tachikawa train station.  Directed here by a friend, my husband and I found ourselves at Rose Hogs during happy hour which lasts from 5:30pm-7:30pm.  They carry many international beers on tap from Belgium, Scotland, the USA…  Rather than a brewery, this is a pub serving traditional American pub fare: steak, hamburgers, fish and chips, and they have some great salad choices.  The Cobb salad was delicious!  The menu was in English and had pictures making it easy to navigate.  The best part for me was the beer from my home in Northern California!   They carry bottles from two Humboldt Country Breweries: North Coast Brewery and Mad River Brewery.  They also had a seasonal North Coast Watermelon Wheat on tap.  It was crazy good and reminded me of home.  During Obon, happy hour lasts from 5:30pm – 11pm.
rose hogs by sarah strausDIRECTIONS: From the Tachikawa train station, take the South Exit towards the three story McDonalds.  Go down the stairs near the McDonalds and head straight down that street passing McDonalds on your left.  About a half block down you’ll find a tall, narrow building that houses Rose Hogs on the 3rd floor.  This photo was taken from the elevated sidewalk right next to McDonalds and shows the sign for Rose Hogs, though it is hard to read in the photo.  Take the elevator up and enjoy! – Sarah Straus, August 2013

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Flatbreadz

Flatbreadz by RebekahFlatbreadz is a little restaurant directly beside Krispy Kreme in Tachikawa Station.  It is a fresh, FRESH, sandwich shop. The bread is made right in the line to order and the veggies are so fresh it is INSANE. It is sort of expensive, at  ¥700 per sandwich and up without a set, but it is worth it. They also have very simple but delicious side salads, fries and crispy chicken strips. They have mini muffin “cupcakes” for dessert, smoothies and lattes. Plus, you can take the buns home! I believe they are ¥150 – ¥300 each, but you can take them home and make amazing sandwiches yourself. It is a nice, relaxing place to munch after a long, stressful day in Tokyo and it’s always on the ride home! - Sierra, October 2012, photos by Rebekah Storman, May 2013.
flatbreadz by RebekahDirections: As you leave Tachikawa Station, go towards the North exit. Go down the stairs or elevator and you will see Krispy Kreme in all its lighted glory. Flatbreadz is just beside it.

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“Communist Gyoza” in Tachikawa (Gyoza 1059)

This restaurant is known by Americans as “Communist Gyoza”  but its real name is Gyoza Ten-Go-Kyo, which means “Gyoza Heaven.” (Just to confuse things, the owners do a little bilingual word and number play and write it as “Gyoza 1059.”) Tucked away on a side street in Tachikawa, this hole in the wall makes the best gyoza around! Gyoza is a small dumpling (similar to a wonton) which is steamed and pan fried. The gyoza served here are HUGE, about the size of a fist.  Flavors include mushroom, vegetable, garlic, green onion, potato, cheese, corn and shrimp. Seating is limited. Each plate (five very large gyoza) averages ¥700. The restaurant has a policy requiring each person to order a gyoza plate (versus sharing an order) and a drink. You can order more drinks later, but you are forbidden to order any more plates after your initial order. This policy and its enforcement has given rise to the “Communist Gyoza” moniker. No matter, because one plate will be plenty for anyone. Just be warned that the garlic order is essentially like eating a handful of nearly raw garlic. Most people can’t handle it, but you’ll definitely be safe from vampires. The restaurant is colorful and deliciously worthwhile. If Japan had a Seinfeld series, this place would be in it. Because it’s so popular and seating limited, you might want to arrive when it opens at 5:30pm. Otherwise, you may have a long wait. But they do take reservations. Hours: 5:30-10pm  (last order 9:30 pm),  Tuesday-Saturday. Tel: 042-526-2283. GPS: 35.6977,139.4179

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DIRECTIONS: Exit Tachikawa Station from the Granduo side. Turn left and follow the road that borders the Granduo and the railroad tracks. Stay to the left when the road branches. When you see the pedestrian path heading under the railroad tracks to the left, keep your eyes on the right, trained on the small alleys. Turn right to go up the second small alley. Now look at the apartment buildings on your left. There will be a very small black and white sign for Gyoza 1059 at the entrance of the first one. Go up a few steps and enter the restaurant. 
Teresa Negley, Karen Ozment, Kerri Wright, 1996. Liz Ruskin updated 2010. Directions verified 2011.

Takahata Fudo Temple

The Shikoku Pilgrimage is a life-changing 700-mile hike. Don’t have that much energy? Then head to Takahata Fudo Temple in nearby Hino for a nice day trip. One of the three famous Kanto Fudo temples, it has a much shorter hiking course with 88 replicas of places along the Shikoku. Start in front of the pagoda. A path winds past the statues marked one, two, three and so on, up to an observation point on the hill, then down to the 88th and final statue at the small Daishido Temple building. Takahata Fudo Temple was founded around the beginning of the 8th century and served the Imperial Family. The temple had small rooms on either side of the altar, one for the common people and one for the upper class. The original temple was located on the top of the hill. When it was destroyed in a storm in 1335, it was rebuilt in its present location. The Niomon Gate was built in 1342 and is now designated a treasure of Japan as is the Fudo Myo O statue in the building next to the office.
The five-story pagoda was completed in 1979. The new temple building was completed in 1987 and is a replica of the older structure. The 200-year-old ceiling with the painting of a dragon was transferred to the new building. It is customary to stand under the dragon to make a wish and then clap your hands; if you hear the dragon roar (the vibration), the dragon will make your wish come true. The new building still features the chrysanthemum crest, which represents the royal family and indicates the royal family used this particular temple at some time in the past. There are various monuments around the temple; on the hill just beside the pagoda is a “nose well,” supposedly the spot where the nose of the Fudo deity landed when it was swept away in the 1335 gale.
Special talismans are for sale at the office to protect the owner from fires, illness, and thieves, as well as those to ensure easy childbirth, family harmony, successful business, and traffic safety. There is a museum of antiquities in the basement of the pagoda. Admission costs ¥20, the museum is closed from December 1 through February 28. A nice flea market (shrine sale) is held here on the third Sunday of ever month. Another good day to visit is the 28th of the month when the regular Ennichi Fair is held. This temple is also a good place to observe New Year, Setsuban on February 3rd, and Buddha’s Birthday on April 8th. A statue is decorated, and sweet tea, amacha, is poured on the statue. Participants pray for individual requests. Special parades for children are held on January 28th and April 28th to ensure safety and growth. Hydrangeas bloom in June, and Shichi-go-san is celebrated here on November 15th. Hours: Tuesday through Sunday 9am-4pm. GPS for parking lot entrance: 35.66164,139.41131.
DIRECTIONS: Set your odometer to zero and turn right out the East Gate. At the first signal light, turn left. At the next light (0.6km), a five-way intersection, make a hard right turn. At 5.2km turn left at an intersection with a Suzuki dealer on the far right and a Toytopet dealer on the far left. This is a large four-lane street, Shin-Okutama Kaido, Route 29.  (At 5.0, the Suwa Jinja intersection, you’ll see a sign pointing you left for 29. Ignore it and keep going straight.) Continue on Route 29 until 9.7km, when you will see a VW dealership on the left, indicating your arrival at Tachikawa Five Corners. Turn right here onto 256 and cross the Tama River. Drive along until you reach the street that has the elevated monorail down the middle, at 10.8km. Turn left and follow the monorail line past a couple of stations, including one hanging over the road. At Takahata Fudo station you’ll go into a tunnel. At the next intersection(13.8km), signposted “Takahata,” turn right at the light toward “Kitano.” As soon as you make the turn you’ll see the tall pagoda ahead on the left. Turn left into a small parking lot. Please note this is a popular temple and parking is scarce during events.
DIRECTIONS BY TRAIN: Take the train from Fussa to Tachikawa. Exit the station and follow the signs for the Tama monorail station. Ride it until the Takahata Fudo stop.  The temple is a four-minute walk from there: Walk down the stairs toward the main train station. Just past the plaza, where all the bus stops are, you’ll see a red tori gate. Walk through the gate and along the shopping street. It ends at the temple. Barbara Kirkwood, Karen Sexton, Meg Gilster; directions updated by Liz Ruskin, 2012.

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Savini Italian Restaurant

After a day of shopping in Tachikawa, go to Savini for lunch or, better yet, for their “Imagination Cake.” This dessert is a light-tasting sponge cake with a generous amount of whipping cream, with small slices of kiwi, cantaloupe, and strawberries. It’s a delicious treat at ¥600 per hefty slice. Other desserts sounded equally scrumptious—baked pudding, chocolate mousse, homemade Italian ice cream, ricotta cheese cake, and fresh fruit (¥500-¥700). Lunch entrees include sirloin garlic steak, grilled lamb (¥1900-¥3500), goulash, veal or grilled chicken (¥1200). Sixteen choices of salad are available for ¥850 to ¥1250: spinach, seafood, tomato, green, octopus, bacon and shimeji, zucchini and eggplant, and crabmeat. Pizza in all combinations are offered: vegetarian, anchovy, shrimp, shorizo, pear, bacon, salmon, seafood, and seppie (squid ink). Pizzas with 19 or less items cost ¥1200 to ¥3900, depending on size. There is also a large selection of drinks. Open since 1968, this 30-seat restaurant fills up fast at lunch time with business women as well as women with bags filled with shopping bargains. There are English menus.

DIRECTIONS: Savini is located on the second floor of the Inoue Building. Take the train from Fussa to Tachikawa. Exit the station, walking past Lumine Dept Store, using the stairs on the left. Cross the street and go down the alley next to the Klimt Coffee Shop (pink awnings). Continue straight on this road and you’ll see the Savini sign. Hours: daily 11:00 am – 12:00 am. -Karen Ozment

 

Edo Ichi “Vikings”

NOTE: THE BRANCH THE DIRECTIONS LEAD TO RECENTLY CHANGED ITS NAME FROM VIKING TO NEO. STILL ALL YOU CAN EAT YAKINIKU AND SUSHI. 2012

This is a chain of all-you-can-eat restaurants where you cook your own food. When you enter, pay about ¥2500 (cheaper for children) per person and get a receipt. You will then be escorted to a table and your grill will be started. Put oil on the grill and head for the plates. There is a selection of sushi near the soda dispensers and rice, soup, and curry in large pots on both sides of the case where the plates are located. Go to the open refrigerated display cases and select as much of whatever food you want. There is a wide choice of meat, vegetables, gyoza, salads, fruit, and noodles. Take the plates to your table and grill your discoveries. For dessert, try cream puffs, chocolate pie, or ice cream. The ice cream is located in a separate case near the drink dispensers. One word of warning: Because many people are cooking, the room gets VERY smoky. Do not wear good clothes! I also take my contact lenses out. If you are tall, be careful not to hit your knees on the bottom of the grill because it is very hot! Try to go before the rush which is usually 6-7pm. Not only is the restaurant less crowded but so is the highway.

DIRECTIONS: Set your Odometer to zero and exit right out the East Gate and turn left at the first light (Inadaira Koen Minami intersection). At the next light (5 way intersection, 0.7 km.) Make a right hand turn (not a sharp right, but angled right towards Daiei). At 1.9 km bear right at the intersection, where this road merges with another (Family Mart on right Corner, Toyota dealer on left corner). Turn left at the second light onto Itsukaichi-Kaido Road (2.0 km, Tennobashi Intersection, just after you go under the tracks). Stay on this road until the light with Edo-Ichi Yakiniku all-you-can-eat Restaurant on the far right corner (3.5 km). The red sign reads “Sushi & Yakiniku Vikings.” Hours? Telephone?

Karen Ozmen. Liz Ruskin verified directions Sept. 2011

Tachikawa Shopping

Books Orion (English books)

Books Orion in Tachikawa is the closest bookstore that regularly stocks English books, including useful reference books for those living in Japan and children’s books. Pick up a complete JR East train map for ¥250,  or a an extensive Japanese phrasebook. To get there, take the train to Tachikawa Station. Exit the East Gate turnstiles and turn right, toward Lumine, then go out the North Exit. You will now be on an elevated plaza. Stay on the elevated walkway and go slight left toward Isetan department store. When you reach the building, turn left, walk to the corner of the building and turn right, keeping Isetan on your right. As you walk under the monorail track, you will see HMV Music ahead and to the left. Enter HMV Music from the elevated walk and go straight up the escalator into Books Orion. The English section is to the right as you get off the escalator. 10am-9pm every day but Jan. 1. Tel. 0425-221-1231. Liz Ruskin 2010

Grand Duo Mall

Grand Duo Mall is located inside the Tachikawa train station, and offers a variety of shops. Eddie Bauer is just one of the western brand stores available. The sixth floor is primarily restaurants – Indian, Italian, Japanese and an ice cream shop with, among other concoctions, green-tea soft-serve. The seventh floor is considered a local Chinatown with many Chinese restaurants. The eighth floor has beauty care shops, including two hair salons, an herbal shop and a hair supply shop.

If you choose to drive instead of taking the train, pay parking is available at other larger shops near the station, including under Takashimaya department store and at Lumine just past the train station’s North Exit (see the “Tachikawa Shopping” section for more precise directions). If you purchase a minimum amount (including meals at the restaurants within the building), parking is free for the first two hours. Takashimaya charges ¥500/hour unless you buy at least ¥5000 of merchandise.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS: It obviously easier to take the train, but if you need to drive, start at the East Gate. Turn left onto Itsukaichi Kaido. Stay on Itsukaichi Kaido until the light with the Yakiniku All-You-Can-Eat Restaurant on the far right corner (the turn for American Village) then turn right. Turn left at the second light (convenience store on the left.) Turn right at the next large intersection and pass Tachikawa Air Base and the main entrance to Showa Memorial Park. At the next large intersection, the sharp left will lead you to Takashimaya while the angled left will lead you to the North Exit of Tachikawa Train station. The drive time is 20-40 minutes depending on traffic. Shannon Edwards, 2000

Takashimaya Department Store

Located on the second floor of this emporium is a small Disney store with stuffed animals, kitchen items, baby goods, key chains, etc. While there, ride the escalators to all of the floors. There are specialty sections including items by Ralph Lauren, Mikimoto pearls, and famous French designers. Also found are hats, stationery, stereo equipment, clocks, wedding dresses, kimonos, optical goods, and home furnishings as well as a food court on the top two floors. Takashimaya is next to Cinema City.

TRAIN DIRECTIONS: From Fussa Station, ride the train seven stops to Tachikawa. Take the North Exit, then proceed down the stairs on the left. Cross the street and walk directly away from the station. Go down the alley next to Klimt Coffee Shop (pink awnings). Continue on straight and when you see the Inoue Building, continue past it to the large road. Takashimaya will be across the street in front of you on the left. See map on opposite page. Hours: 10:00 am – 6:30pm. Telephone? Karen Ozment, date?

Daiei

This is a chain of discount stores, supermarkets and burger bars. Resembling a vertical K-Mart, the merchandise includes chinaware, rugs, clothing, toys, sporting and electrical equipment. Personally, I find the nearby 100 Yen shops more fun.

TRAIN DIRECTIONS: Ride the train to Tachikawa station and take the North Exit out to the street below. Walk down the main street away from the station to the next big intersection. Turn right onto Midorikawa Dor. Daiei is in the middle of the block on the left-hand side. Hours? Telephone? Liz Ruskin 2010

100 Yen Store

Magnets and thumbtacks in every shade of cute, plus kitchen gadgets, hardware, garden supplies and fun miscellany. You know the drill: Everything is ¥100 (plus tax) unless otherwise marked.

DIRECTIONS: Exit Tachikawa Station on the North Exit, go straight across the plaza and down to street level. Pass Bic Camera. Before you get to the next big intersection, you’ll see a store called From Chubu. The ¥100 Store is in the basement.

Lumine Department Store

Lumine is a collection of boutiques and restaurants. This is a store for window shoppers arranged in standard Japanese department store fashion, with a basement supermarket. The first floor has a large gift food area. On the upper levels are two floors of variously priced restaurants. Besides food, there is an art supply area, a florist, myriad clothing sections, an art gallery, electronics, books, toys and specialty items.

TRAIN DIRECTIONS: From Fussa Station, take the Ome Line to Tachikawa. Turn right as you exit Tachikawa’s train ticket gates and you’ll see Lumine from inside the Tachikawa Station. Hours? Telephone?

Rachel Keyser-McClendon, date?

Bic Camera

Six floors of gadgetry and appliances. If it needs batteries or bulbs, it’s probably here. Along with the batteries. It’s like a mini-Akihabara. And, to feed your more feminine side, the 7th and 8th floors are a massive craft shop, Yuzawaya. One floor is devoted to fabric and the sewing arts. The 8th has yarn, paints, office supplies and an excellent collection of beads, included Miyuki Delica. 12-2 Akebono-cho 2-chome, Tachikawa, Tokyo 〒 190-0012 . Tel. 042-548-1111.

DIRECTIONS: Exit Tachikawa Station by the north entrance and keep going straight. Go to street level, keeping your back to the station, and you’ll see Bic Camera on the left side of the street. Liz Ruskin 2010.

Kikuya

This kitchen store has a good selection of dishes and lacquerware and seems to have a perpetual sidewalk sale with some good deals.  Cute sauce dishes for ¥100. Giant ramen dishes and snappy bento boxes for ¥600. Indigo shibori (Japanese tie-dye) aprons for ¥980.

DIRECTIONS: Exit Tachikawa Station from the North Exit and keep going straight down to the street. Stay on the right side of the main street leading away from the station and continue straight through the first big intersection. Kikuya is in the middle of the next block, on the right-hand side. The cafe upstairs – “Louvre” – has a more prominent sign. Liz Ruskin 2010

Showa Memorial Park & other Tachikawa parks

showa kinen sarah strausShowa Memorial Park (Showa Kinen Koen)
This is a massive, lovely park with bike and walking paths, a lake for boating, a formal Japanese garden, water parks (See “Rainbow Pool” below) and, in winter, an outdoor skating rink and Christmas light show. You could explore for days and still find treasures. (Not to be confused with the simple “Showa Park” in Tachikawa. See below.) Among the many treats for kids are trampoline nets, roller slides, dragon sculptures and misty maze, but the park is probably most famous for its bouncing dome, a huge, marshmallow-like playground. (Sadly, a sign says adults aren’t allowed.)  On windy days bring a kite to fly in the middle of the park.
Showa Kinen Tulips Sarah StrausThe park is especially lovely in spring, as a multitude of colorful flowers and blooming trees are a feast for the eyes. The cherry trees bloom in March/April and then the tulips come up.  The tulip fields go on and on and are truly amazing – not to be missed.  A wonderful water fountain greets you as you enter the park from the largest parking area at Tachikawa, so don’t forget to bring your camera. Also near several of the entrances are bicycle rental areas, but feel free to ride into the park with your own bike – there are several entrances to the park just for bikes in fact.  Bike rental is just a few hundred yen for 3 hours.  There are kids bikes, bikes with child-seats, and even tandem bikes for rent.  However, if you are very tall, renting a bike may not be a good option.  Bring your own picnic lunch or check out the small, but tasty restaurants and snack bars located near the lake and throughout the park. Dogs are allowed in most areas but must be on leash everywhere except the dog run. I’ve even seen people bring their pet cats and bunnies to the park.  Admission is ¥400 per adult and ¥80 per child. Annual passes for adults are ¥4000. With an annual pass they will give you a plastic card with your photo on it and expiration date.  Also with the annual pass you an get ¥100 off parking, which is normally ¥800.  Hours: Park opens at 9:30am. Closes at 4:30pm in winter, 5pm in summer, and 6pm summer weekends. Open every day but Dec. 31, Jan. 1 and the last Mon. and Tues. of February. Rachael Keyser-McClendon. Liz Ruskin updated directions 2011, Sarah Straus updated 2013, Photos by Sarah Straus 2011.

DSC_3957Japanese Garden
I think the Japanese Garden, located nearest the Sunagawa entrance, deserves its own section.  This is a gorgeous, formal Japanese garden with a lake in the middle, streams, and waterfalls.  There are three covered observation huts.  Turtles swim in the water and bask on rocks.  Don’t miss the bonsai japanese garden sarah strausdemonstration in the back of the garden – filled with the most amazing bonsai.  There is usually a man there working on one of the bonsai and it is so interesting to how he trims each bonsai with such care.  You can’t bring food into the garden, but you can drink tea there in a small tea house (in the photo above the tea house is the building on the right).  It costs ¥500 for tea and a sweet snack.  Come in November to enjoy the fall colors. – Sarah Straus, Oct 2013.

Sarah Straus Showa Kinen parkKomorebi Villiage
Located nearest the Sunagawa entrance, Komorebi Villiage is made to look like a farm on the Musashino Plain in the 1950′s and 60′s (ref: webpage).  Having passed by this area many times, we finally stopped in.  What a gem!  There are demonstration gardens, a large thatched roof farm house, a beautifully designed thatched roof storage house, and water wheel.  Volunteers place a kettle over a flame in the farm house and they are happy to talk about the village with visitors.  I’m looking forward to seeing this place in the spring!  Opens at 10am and has an earlier closing time than the rest of the park. – Sarah Straus, January, 2014.

TRAIN DIRECTIONS: From Fussa Station take the train towards Tokyo to Nishi-Tachikawa, about 15 minutes and ¥160 per person. Take the North Exit of the station and the park entrances is steps away.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS: There are three parking lots for Showa Kinen and additionally several bike/pedestrian entrances.  The closest parking lot to the East gate (about 2 miles away) is the Sunagawa parking area.  The next closest is the the Tachikawa parking lot, then the Nishi-Tachikawa parking lot. Parking costs ¥800. For all parking lots, turn right out the East Gate (0km). Turn left at the first light and drive until this road ends at the canal. Turn right, onto Route 59. At 2.2km you’ll pass under a set of railroad tracks.
Sunagawa Parking: .  Keep going straight after you go under the tracks. Drive until 2.8km. Here you’ll see a four-lane boulevard appear on the left. (It’s a “T” intersection, so the boulevard does not continue on the right.  It is at the fourth light after you go under the train tracks.) Turn left here. Drive until 4.2km and turn right into the Sunagawa parking lot for Showa Kinen Park. This lot is closer to the children’s forest and bouncing dome.  You can enter with your own bike and/or rent bikes at this entrance.  During the summer a shuttle will take you from this parking lot to Rainbow Pools.  GPS Coordinates to parking entrance: 35.72047, 139.39909.
showa playground sarah strausTachikawa Parking: Pass the Sunagawa entrance and keep going to the next opportunity to make a hard right hand turn.  Essentially you’ll be driving around the outside edge of the park.  This is a large boulevard with trees.  You will pass a fire station.  Look for the Tachikawa parking entrance on your right.  This the largest parking lot and the entrance near the large fountain.  During winter find the christmas lights show here.  You can rent bikes at this entrance and a shuttle will take you to Rainbow Pools from here during the summer.  GPS: 35.703842, 139.403413.
Nishi-Tachikawa Parking: Pass the Tachikawa entrance and keep going to the next opportunity to make a hard right.  You will just continue to drive around the outside edge of the park.  Go under the pedestrian bridge and turn right into the park area.  This parking lot is at the same entrance as the Nishi-Tachikawa train station.  This parking lot is very close to Rainbow Pools and to the lake where you can rent paddle boats.  No bikes at this entrance.  If you bring your bike, you’ll have to find one of the two bike entrances further down in either direction.  GPS: 35.704731, 139.392319.
sarah straus showa parkBICYCLE DIRECTIONS: Showa Memorial Park is a 25-minute bike ride from the East Gate.  Ride out the East Gate. Take a right, then immediately take the first left—almost straight out the gate. Take this small, quiet road alongside the parks until it dead-ends into the big road. Walk your bicycle across the street at the cross-walk, turn right, then cross the river just beyond the road as soon as you can. You will find a wide, quiet bicycle path that winds its way among trees along the river all the way to an entrance to Showa park exclusively for bicyclists and joggers. Click here for shortest Bike Map. See below for most pleasant bike map.

DSC_3231Driving Map to Sunagawa Parking

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Bike Map, low traffic road + bike path

View Showa Park by bike in a larger map

Winter Illuminationsshowa kinen winter sarah strausShowa Kinen Park has a nice lights show during December.  It is located at the Tachikawa entrance.  When I went with my kids we walked the area, ate a snack and did the little lights maze in one hour.  There are about 12 food booths scattered throughout the area.  For us it was a good destination on a school night, close and early enough to get home by the kids bedtime.  Park at the Tachikawa parking lot and pay just ¥200 to park starting at 4pm.  The lights come on a 5pm and end at 9pm.  The entrance fee is the same as during the day or you can get in free if you have a season pass.  In 2013 the show runs from Nov 30th through Dec 25th.  - Sarah Straus, Dec 2013.

Rainbow Pool & Water Park in Showa Memorial ParkSarah Straus, July 2012This place is a treat on a hot day. It’s fun, fabulous and close to Yokota.  We recommend parking at the Sunagawa Parking Lot, approximately four kilometers from the East Gate. (See “Showa Memorial Park” above for driving directions.) Once inside, take the free park shuttle bus from the gate to the water park.  The stroller-friendly bus picks you up behind the bike rental.

showa kinen by sarah strausThe standard price is ¥2200 for teens and adults; kids ages 6 and up ¥1200, ages 4 and 5 is ¥300. Age 3 and under are free. However, if you pay with your suica prices drop to: ¥2000, ¥1000, and ¥200.  Little kids will like the gradual entry wave pool (photo above). The pool is HUGE and the waves are mild. There is even a shady section of the wave pool. Older kids will be plenty entertained, too.  There are large water sides, a small water slide for little kids who can sit on a parents lap, a lazy river, a pool with waterfalls, two large pools and a spray park.

You might want to bring a tarp and anchor it down with all your floaties and pool toys to claim your space. (There’s a compressed air pump just outside the dressing rooms so save your breath for screaming down the water slides.) You can also bring a cooler and a shade tent.

Here are some tips for enjoying the park:
•Summer 2013 dates: July 13 – September 8.  You’ll need to translate this webpage – but here is more information for 2013: http://www.showakinenpark.go.jp/2013poolopen/index.html
•Save that stub! You’ll pay ¥400 to enter the park. Save your receipt to have this amount deducted from your pool entry price – or just pay for the Rainbow Pools at the park entrance.  However, you can also just buy the water park tickets at each gate.
•The magic of Suica: Show your Suica or pay with it and the price drops to ¥2000 adults, ¥1000 kids, ¥200 for ages 4 and 5.
•Come late! After 2pm, entry price drops to ¥1100 adults, ¥600 kids, ¥150 ages 4 and 5.
•Come often! If you think you might be a regular, go for the ¥6000 season pass, good until early September, kids season pass ¥3000.  Ages 4 and 5 season pass ¥700.
•Come pregnant! Expectant moms pay only ¥500!
DIRECTIONS: Same as “Showa Kinen Park” entry above.  Sarah Straus & others, 2012

Showa Park
Showa Park is an old-fashioned city park. There are a few small shrines, a five-tiered pagoda and assorted playground equipment. There are open areas for playing ball or soccer, a jogging track and a small animal zoo. It is shaded by trees and is a pleasant place for a picnic lunch. Vending machines for drinks are available. This park is free and easy to reach by car; free parking is available. Note: Showa Park is not the same as Showa Memorial Park (Showa Kinen Koen), at Nishi-Tachikawa station. Showa Park is a block south of the tracks and closer to Higashi-Nakagami station. Open daily from 8:40 am until 4:50 pm.
DIRECTIONS:Diane Cressman, Melody Messer, Patricia Caldwell date?