It’s happened! You’re living in Japan and finally have the opportunity to go out and explore! Now what? If you’re looking for a bite-size experience nearby Yokota Air Base, something that you can get to easily and within 15-20 mins, […]
It’s happened! You’re living in Japan and finally have the opportunity to go out and explore! Now what? If you’re looking for a bite-size experience nearby Yokota Air Base, something that you can get to easily and within 15-20 mins, and spend around an hour doing, we got you covered!
Here’s a brief list of local options for summer weather within 15-20 minutes drive of Yokota. If you want to add on something else small nearby, there are also some nearby food suggestions to check out. Given our current restrictions due to COVID 19, these are all within the permitted “local” area as of June 30, 2020, and focus on permissible activities to ensure we keep everyone safe. (Yes, that does include visiting breweries now!)
Option 1: OUT THE WEST GATE
Get outdoors at Sayamaike Park – this small park is a little over 5 mins away from the West gate, and is a wonderful spot for walking around, looking at ducks, koi fish, and turtles, and taking some photos. There is a small shrine and playground with restrooms as well. The parking lot is free but small near the fountain, and there is additional street parking on the other side of the park. Young children can probably spend 45 mins to an hour here, and there is some shade / cover from rain. Ready? Sayamaike Park Google Pin
Nearby food: Westland Farm – Go for a treat with delicious gelato and coffee about 5 mins away from Sayamaike Park. This dairy farm offers various homemade flavors and covered outdoor seating, with an English menu and staff available. There are also adorable baby goats – need I say more? No credit cards accepted. Closed on Wednesdays. Westland Farm Google Pin
Option 2: OUT THE SUPPLY or FUSSA GATE
Relax at Ishikawa Brewery – drive 8 mins out the Supply Gate to discover some of the history behind Tokyo Sake and Beer. Although the tours are currently suspended due to COVID 19, you can still walk the grounds, purchase sake from the cellar, and dine at their Italian restaurant, Fussa No Birugoya, in the outdoor garden. The Minamiinari Shrine directly across the street is small, but has a playground for little ones not interested in buying sake. The Brewery website has great information for any planners out there, but this is also an easy spot nearby to just show up and explore! Closed on Tuesdays. Google Pin to Ishikawa Brewery
Nearby food: Sushiro (Conveyor Belt Sushi) – If you’re ready to move on, drive 2 minutes down the road from the Brewery to this popular chain with really affordable sushi with a great variety, and once you’re seated the meal is quick! You have the option of ordering off an iPad with an English menu, or just grabbing what you see as it goes by! Particularly if you’re new to eating sushi or going out with the family to eat in Japan, this is a low stress and fun option. Credit cards accepted. Sushiro Fussa Google Pin
Option 3: OUT THE EAST GATE
Experience some local culture at a Buddhist Temple – a scenic 15 minute drive out the East Gate will take you to this interesting temple complex of Kinjoin (Kannon Yamaguchi) near Sayama Lake. Complete with dragons, a 5 story pagoda and a frog pond, you’ll also get a view of the MetLife Dome where the local baseball team plays. Parking is free and it’s usually not very crowded because it’s a little off the beaten path. Be prepared to take more than one try making the turn into the complex, and have fun. Google Pin to Kannon Yamaguchi Buddhist Temple Complex
A couple of minutes down the road you’ll find additional parking for Sayama Lake where you’ll get a view of Mt Fuji if you’re lucky! For those looking to run or bike, there is a trail to Sayama Dam, and once restrictions are lifted, be sure to check out indoor skiing at Sayama Ski Hill nearby as well.
Nearby food: on the way back to base, you’ll have a ton of options out the east gate, but if you’re just in the mood for a coffee or dessert, it’s an 8 minute drive from the temple complex to Takakura-Machi Coffee for some Japanese fluffy pancakes or seasonal specials. The inside of the shop feels very western and is good for bigger groups or sitting and relaxing for a little while, but the food is very much like the trendy pancakes being served in central Tokyo. Credit cards accepted. Google Pin to Fluffy Pancakes (you’re welcome!)