The Inokashira Park shrine is dedicated to Benzaiten, the Goddess of property, good-looks, entertainment and love.
The Inokashira Park shrine is dedicated to Benzaiten, the Goddess of property, good-looks, entertainment and love.21-Feb-2007 00:43, Canon Canon PowerShot S230, 2.8, 5.40625mm, 0.003 sec
We’ve made two trips to Kichijoji in the past week. It’s about a 40 minute journey on the trains, but it’s worth it, as it’s a great place to spend time with the boys. Yesterday Kai had a short day at school, and the first plum blossoms of the year greeted us at Kichijoji’s Inokashira Park (they look similar to cherry blossoms, but plum trees bloom even earlier). There were about a dozen photographers there, with their high-powered cameras to capture the moment.
We came to the same spot last week, and the boys loved playing near the park’s lake. Given all the time we’ve spent in a completely urban environment, they were thrilled to be surrounded by water, trees, and birds. Eidan literally spent an hour just throwing leaves and rocks in the water, and Kai spent the same amount of time building bridging with sticks, and harassing a turtle that was trying to bask peacefully in the sun. They did the same exact thing in our visit yesterday (but the turtle wasn’t there this time).
Near the far end of the park is the Ghibli Museum, which is a favorite spot for kids (Ghibli movies are to Japan what Disney movies are to the US, although the museum is much more modest than a Disney Land). Normally you have to buy tickets in advance, but it wasn’t crowded on this winter weekday, so I was able to get in with the boys. Unfortunately they don’t allow taking pictures in any of the museum’s indoor areas, but I have some good exterior photos (see below) and this website has good pictures of the inside.
The park also has a modest zoo. It’s inexpensive and most of the animal cages are easily viewed from a toddler’s height, making it nice for little ones. Kai particularly enjoyed the playground, as it wasn’t old and rundown like most playgrounds in Tokyo (the decrepitness and dirtiness of many Tokyo playgrounds stand in jarring contrast to the overall modernity and cleanliness of the city).
Kichijoji station has to be the best smelling train station I’ve ever been in. It’s packed with cake, cookie, and dessert shops – you can’t get out of the station without your mouth watering.
The park is on the south side of the station. On the north side is Sun Road, which is a roughly two block area filled with small shops. It’s not as gargantuan as Tokyo’s more famous shopping areas, but I really liked it. Most of the shops were specialty stores (one was nothing but socks and stockings, another focused on bento sets for kids’ school lunches, etc.), so browsing was fun.
Just off of sun road is a I-Setan department store, which has a toy store on the 5th floor that’s unusual for Tokyo, in that there are several play areas for the kids (that’s common in US toy stores, but much harder to find here), so Eidan particularly enjoyed visiting there.
Both times we’ve gone to Kichijoji I’ve intended to visit Kichijoji 0123, which is a play hall designed specifically for the 3 and under crowd. But both times we’ve been having so much fun in the other places nearby that we’ve never made it there. Maybe next time.
Eidan in a lego car at the I-Setan toy store, in Kichijoji20-Feb-2007 23:32, Canon Canon PowerShot S230, 2.8, 5.40625mm, 0.017 sec
Another shot of Eidan in the lego car20-Feb-2007 23:32, Canon Canon PowerShot S230, 2.8, 5.40625mm, 0.017 sec
A hat store on Sun Road in Kichijoji. Knowing what "Shazbot" means (without looking it up on Wikipedia!) marks you as a child of early 80s American television.21-Feb-2007 00:02, Canon Canon PowerShot S230, 2.8, 5.40625mm, 0.013 sec
The first plum blossoms of the year in Inokashira Park. This park is also popular spot for hanami (cherry blossom viewing) in the Spring.28-Feb-2007 01:13, Canon Canon PowerShot S230, 2.8, 5.40625mm, 0.003 sec
Statues near the Benzaiten shrine in Inokashira park.21-Feb-2007 01:22, Canon Canon PowerShot S230, 3.5, 9.28125mm, 0.017 sec
Kai in the playground at the Inokashira Park Zoo.21-Feb-2007 02:16, Canon Canon PowerShot S230, 2.8, 5.40625mm, 0.005 sec
Kai at the Ghibli Museum28-Feb-2007 01:27, Canon Canon PowerShot S230, 2.8, 5.40625mm, 0.003 sec
Kai with the Laputa robot, at the Ghibli Museum28-Feb-2007 02:28, Canon Canon PowerShot S230, 2.8, 5.40625mm, 0.003 sec
View from the roof of the Ghibli Museum. The museum's architecture matches the style of the buildings often seen in Miyazaki's films.28-Feb-2007 02:30, Canon Canon PowerShot S230, 2.8, 5.40625mm, 0.002 sec