Parks are just about everywhere in Japan. Varrying from a small landscaped lot with a playground, to forests with towering trees and hiking trails, every city or municipality has at least one. For me, they are one of the best things about this country. After a busy week at work or just a plain stressful day, you don’t have to spend hours of travel time just to feel the ambiance and peacefulness you get on the countryside.
Atsugi is a city located 50 kilometers southwest of Tokyo. Situated at the foot of the Tanzawa Mountains, it is blessed with a topography that appeals to the nature lovers. Because of this, Atsugi is home to a number of nature parks, including the second largest forest park in Kanagawa Region, the Nanasawa Forest Park.
This 65 hectare land at the lowlands of Mt. Oyama is one of the best places in the city to spend a day of solitude and peace. And this week, we explore this paradise lying just on the outskirts of the metropolis.
How to get to Nanasawa Forest Park
Take the Odakyu Line (train) and alight at the Aiko-ishida Station. Outside are buses that gets to Nanasawa Forest Park. Fare is around 300 yen and travel time is more or less twenty minutes.
Nanasawa Forest Park Sights and Scenes
Nanasawa Forest Park is among the best parks I’ve been to in Japan. Home to a wide variety of plant species, there are plenty of unique sights to see for each season.
Families and friends may spend a picnic together at Nanasawa. There are tables and benches around the park where visitors can eat and chat. But if you want to fully explore the forest, I would suggest to take the hiking trail.
The trail stretches to around 10 kilometers within. With an easy terrain and very few and short uphills, you don’t have to be an athlete to finish this course. Kids, elderly and pretty much everyone will enjoy sightseeing around Nanasawa Forest Park.
The paths inside the forest are very well established. Signs and directions are everywhere so there should be no worry of getting lost.
Within the park are forty numbered stations. People usually visit each one in an ascending order starting at station 1 . When you get to one station, you would know the path to take to get to the next one. Following this predefined route is a good Easter egg hunt.
Getting around the entire trail may take about three to four hours. Benches and rest stations can be found along the way where you can take a break and just linger.
Every once in a while, you’ll pass by viewing decks where you’ll get a good panorama of downtown Atsugi.
As you go around the forest, you would notice the changes in the vegetation from one area to another. There are certain species that bloom only at different times of the year so there is always something fresh to see at Nanasawa Forest Park
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