The rainy season is going to be over soon and it’s time to catch up with all the days we couldn’t spend outside. Despite being such a densely populated metropolis, Tokyo is home to many smaller and bigger parks, which makes the Japanese capital one of the best cities to live in. Today we are giving you the best underrated picnic spots to wind down after a long week of work – all within the city!
Credits: Senyum Senyum
Essential Picnic Items
When we think about the best picnic spots in Tokyo, we don’t necessarily refer to picnic areas with benches and tables or fancy barbecue spots. Having a picnic in Japan is as simple as buying some snacks at the closest convenience store and rolling down the iconic blue sheet, frequently seen invading parks during hanami (cherry blossom viewing) season, on soft green grass.
We recommend stocking up with ice-cold beer and drinks (don’t forget water). You can grab a blue sheet either at most 100 yen shops or at bigger convenience stores, especially those located near parks. Finally, don’t forget sunscreen and sunglasses.
Now you just need to choose your destination!
Kiba Park (Koto)
Kiba Park is located in Koto ward, on the eastern side of the city, just a couple of minutes walking from the closest station, Kiba station on the Tokyo Metro Tozai Line.
The park has two parts, the northern and the southern side, connected by a pedestrian walk. It spans over large open spaces, perfect to keep a social distance or if you feel like throwing a ball with your friends and kids. Kiba Park is the perfect location to sit down and relax with a coffee after visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art, located at the upper end of the park’s north side.
Zenpukuji is a small park tucked away in a quiet residential area at a 15-minute walk from Nishi Ogikubo station on the JR Chuo Line in Suginami ward. It is divided into northern and southern parts, each one revolving around a pond. The park offers a small playground and an area with lots of classic picnic tables, perfect if you don’t enjoy sitting on the ground so much. After your picnic, you can also jump on a boat, available for rent at the pond on the southern side of the park.
Kinuta Park (Setagaya)
Get off at Yoga station on the Den En Toshi Line. A 10-minute walk from this station is all it takes to reach Kinuta Park in Setagaya. Relatively unknown among foreigners, who prefer gathering at the central Shinjuku Gyoen or Yoyogi Park, Kinuta Park is very popular among locals and it is a cherry blossom viewing spot favorite since you can admire not only the most common someiyoshino cherry variety but also the fairly less common yamazakura and yaezakura. However, other than hanami season, you can still sit on thick green grass and spend a comfortable afternoon in nature.
Mizumoto Park (Katsushika)
Mizumoto Park in Katsushika is the largest park within the city. It is located slightly towards the city’s outskirts, but it is a great day trip from everywhere within Tokyo. It gets even better if you live nearby Adachi and Katsushika since you can relax for even just a few hours on your blue sheet without travelling much.
If you have a passion for botany, Mizumoto Park has a great variety of foreign plants, among which poplar, metasequoia, bald cypress, and Sweetgum, which are rare in Japanese parks.
Get off at Kanamachi station on Chiyoda line and either walk for 25 minutes or catch a bus.
Opt for bayside Omori Furusato no Hamabe, close to Heiwajima Station, on the Keihin Electric Express Railway if you want to enjoy lunch closer to the seaside. The park is located on Tokyo Bay and it really feels like being at the beach without spending hours on the train with its cozy white sand. The park also offers green grass, a playground for kids, and even some proper picnic facilities – no sand on your onigiri, guaranteed.
Planning Your Tokyo Picnic
Have you picked your favorite picnic spot in Tokyo yet? Sunny days are ahead to go and explore!