A lot of times when we travel, we have the natural tendency to follow where the crowd goes – to somewhere well known and established. It is good, especially if you have a very limited stay. But if given a little luxury of time, getting off the beaten track from time to time can be very rewarding. And sometimes you might just stumble upon some hidden gems.
In the outskirts of northern Kanagawa Prefecture is the small town of Aikawa in Aiko District. Because of its proximity, it is not really a popular choice for foreign tourists and even maybe for some locals. But for someone who”s looking for some picturesque views on a less crowded setting, for me, Aikawa’s Forest Park is among the top places in Kanagawa and Tokyo area.
Lying just on the footsteps of the Tanzawa mountains and right beside the Miyagase Lake, Aikawa has the quintessential combination of a good nature view – mountains and waters.
How to get to Miyagase Dam and Aikawa Park
By public transport : From Hon-Atsugi train station of Odakyu Line, take the bus going to Hanbara (last stop). Fare is around 540 yen. Travel time is 40 minutes. From Hanbara staton, Aikawa Park is 15-20 minutes away on foot.
Aikawa Park Sights and Scenes
Japan is a place where there is no shortage of nature parks, even within the urban areas. But what makes Aikawa Park stand out from most others is its immersion with nature. The rich green mountain forest and the Miyagase Lake are just a stone’s throw away from your recreational and leisure place.
The park’s grass areas are perfect for picnics. Although there are tables and benches around, visitors usually bring their own mats or tents and find their spots to set up. Perhaps the best place to have the picnic is Aikawa Park’s “Hill of wind”, a grassy hilltop with 360-degree view.
Aside from sightseeing, there are plenty of things to do in Aikawa Park for all age groups. Trampolines, pond and a large playground would surely appeal to the younger crowd. Hiking trails are also available. Though relatively short, the slopes are steep enough for a good uphill training.
Aikawa park showcases a variety of flowers that grow on different seasons. During spring, azaleas and daisies bloom in numbers, painting the landscape with vivid colors.
Within Aikawa Park is the Miyagase Dam which is also another good sightseeing spot. Visitors may opt to take a tram from the park center for 200 yen to get here. The ride takes about 10-15 minutes which is relatively a bit short. Getting to the dam on foot is very much possible and is a good alternative.
At the top of the Miyagase Dam are viewing decks which are good vantage point to see the beauty of Aikawa in its entirety. Boat rides within the Miyagase Lake are available.
There is also a museum displaying the history of this engineering marvel. Kids by age and by heart will learn about renewable energy through interactive games. Admission is free.
Being a lesser known destinaton, Aikawa Forest park has pretty much kept its beauty raw and unspoiled. Definitely, it is worth a day trip of relaxation and fun.
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