Tired of trekking into Tokyo to visit a nice park? Or fancy venturing outside of the big city to explore a park less swamped by tourists? In either case, Kawaguchi Green Center could be the place for you! Situated in Kawaguchi, in the south of Saitama Prefecture, Kawaguchi Green Center is a large botanical garden of around 160,000 square meters, with a range of attractions for all ages to see and enjoy. There is a beautiful Japanese garden to relax in, along with a rock garden and an iris pond to admire. If you are interested in more exotic plants, you should be sure to visit the large greenhouse full of cacti and tropical plants. There are also some beautiful water features around the park, ranging from the more natural waterfalls to the less natural but still very attractive fountains.
If you are a fan of seasonal flowers, there are a number of different reasons for you to visit throughout the year. In February the garden has an abundance of plum flowers lining the paths, whilst in March and April the famous Japanese cherry blossom appears. This garden is actually a great place to enjoy a cherry blossom party, or hanami, as it is less crowded than the more famous gardens in Tokyo, but still very beautiful. Other seasonal flower highlights in the garden include some stunning wisteria and azalea blooms in May, and the arrival of the Japanese irises in June.
There are also plenty of opportunities to get active in Kawaguchi Green Center, both in winter and in summer. In summer the swimming pool is open to all ages and is a great, affordable way to keep fit at only ¥540 for adults and ¥100 for children. In winter there is an ice skating rink which is very popular. If you want to keep children entertained without having to swim or skate, there are other options available. There is an extensive children’s play area with the more typical swings and slides but also some more interesting attractions. There are seats around the play area so that adults can take a well-deserved break while the children enjoy themselves. If that isn’t enough, one of the most impressive attractions in the park is the 600m mini railway, which can be enjoyed by adults and children alike. There is even a train station to buy tickets for the ride!
There is clearly a lot to see and do in Kawaguchi Green Center, which is particularly impressive when considering that access to the park costs just ¥310 for adults and ¥100 for children. It takes around 10 minutes to walk to Kawaguchi Green Center from Araijuku Station, which is on the Saitama Railway Line. To get to Araijuku Station from Tokyo, take the Keihin-Tohoku Line from Ueno Station and change to the Namboku Line at Oji Station (stay on board this train as the line changes to the Saitama Railway Line and goes straight to Araijuku). The journey takes just over 30 minutes. Opening times are from 10 until 4, apart from in December and January, when the park closes at 3. The park is closed on Tuesdays, or Wednesdays if the previous Tuesday was a public holiday. Animals (except guide dogs), BBQs and bicycles are forbidden inside the park, but there are spaces to park bikes and cars outside of the park. For more information see the website. I hope that you get to enjoy this fun but peaceful park soon!
Address: 700 Araijuku Oaza Kawaguchi-shi Saitama Access: Approx 10 min walk from the Araijuku Station by Saitama Railway Line (Saitama Kousoku Tetsudo) Phone: 048-281-2319 Admission: 310 JP Yen for Adult, 100 JP Yen for Child Swimming pools : 540 JP Yen for Adult 100 JP Yen for Child Open: 10:00AM to 4:00PM (to 3:00PM in Dec and Jan) Closed on Tuesdays (closed on Wednesday if Tuesday is a public holiday). Hotel: Booking here!!