The Jindai Botanical Garden is worth a visit year-round because it always has flowers in bloom, but the best time to visit is between spring and summer. You can enjoy colorful plum blossoms in late February and early March. In late March and early April, the cherry trees along the parks path make a sakura tunnel of pink blossoms with millions of tiny leaves. At the beginning of April you might find a cherry blossom festival. Pink, red and white roses dominate the garden from late April to May. The park also has a large greenhouse bursting with tropical flowers, including orchids and begonias. Jindai has 100,000 plants with 3500 species. There are many places within the garden for picnics, but there are no food shops. You can find snack concession stands offering ice cream and cold drinks. The Jindai Botanical Garden was established in 1961 and encompasses an area of 356,683 square meters. Entrance fees are ¥500/adult, ¥200 junior high age, and children 12 and under are free. Hours: 9:30 am – 4:30 pm, closed Mondays and New Year’s Day. Telephone: 042-483-2300.
TRAIN DIRECTIONS: leave from Fussa Station for Tachikawa. At Tachikawa, change to the Nambu line on track for Bubaigawara (this train only goes in 1 direction from Tachikawa). At Bubaigawara, change to the Keio line for Fuchu/Shinjuku (the signs are in English). You can take an express or regular train and get off in Chofu. At Chofu, exit to the North side. You will see the Parco store and bus stops. To exit north, go up the stairs and through the ticket booths— the ticket booths at the bottom of the stairs lead to the South exit. The train fare to Chofu was about ¥420 from Fussa. You will need to take a bus, which will be located in front of the Baskin Robbins on the 1st floor of the Parco building. The bus stop number is 14, the bus number is 34. This bus will be to Jindai-ji, ask before getting on. The bus runs every 20 minutes during the week and more frequently on the weekends. Bus fare is about ¥200. The train takes about 1 hour and the bus ride about 20 minutes.
DRIVING DIRECTIONS: Take Route 16 to the Chuo expressway. The toll is ¥600 each way. When you get to the Chuo, take the entrance to Shinjuku. Chofu is exit No. 3 and you will see it just after passing the Fuchu racetrack on the left. When you come off exit 3, you will see tollbooths on the right and the road will split. You will need to get into the left lane as you pass the tollbooths. Watch for traffic on the left. You will be taking the split to the left, Chofu/Shinjuku. You will take this ramp and merge with traffic, but stay in the left lane. At the second light, turn left. You will now be on a smaller street, which will go back under the expressway and over a canal. After you cross the canal, you will turn right on the first non-residential street (it will be easy to see). Turn right at the first light. This road will take you past several restaurants and you’ll see many private parking lots to the left. You can park in any of the lots that are not full for about ¥1000. If you want to save a little money, you can use the garden’s parking lot. Instead of turning at the first light, you should turn right at the next light, which will lead you to the garden’s parking lot. It will be on the left hand side a short way down. Driving time takes at least 1 hour, except on the weekends. If you want to go on the weekend, you should leave home before 10:30am. The trip should never take more than 2 hours (unless it is a holiday). You will be able to find the Jindai Garden easily by following the crowds, or asking directions. You will go up a hill where you will pass many street vendors and lots of soba shops. You will also pass Jindai-ji, a very beautiful Buddhist Temple, which is also worth a visit. It only takes about 5 minutes from the parking lot to the gardens. Viki Lyn Paulson-Cody. Driving directions confirmed 2012.