The cherry blossom season often seems to come and go before I’ve barely even noticed it but this year it seemed to be a particularly long one. I certainly didn’t expect it and so I’m quite surprised myself to be posting a third consecutive sakura post! One week on from our trip to Shinjuku Gyoen Gardens, my wife and I embraced the pink flowers again but this time we went further afield albeit still within the boundaries of Tokyo.
This place first came to my attention a year or two ago as I searched for ideas regarding cycling adventures in Tokyo. One day I will cycle there from the Tokyo Fox Global Operations Centre and go around both Lake Tama and the smaller Lake Sayama but it’s often a good idea to scout out these places beforehand as time really is of the essence on such trips.
Seibu-yuenchi is the closest station to Sayama Park itself and as you descend the steps from the station (above) you can see the giant ferris wheel of the old-style family-friendly Seibu-en Amusement Park which was open but appeared to be fairly deserted. We took a mat, some lunch and had a picnic under one of the many cherry trees as is customary at this time of the year. We were both quite surprised how much sakura there still was one week on from the peak blossom
After lunch we wandered through the park admiring the blossom and taking in the many park tracks (bird-watching opportunities aplenty) as we continued round alongside the water. There are maps and signs in the park but there is nothing in English I’m afraid!
Lake Tama isn’t a conventional lake as it is an artificial one also known as Murayama Water Storage. Yes, that’s right, this water is for drinking and the supply for Tokyo comes from here in some form or another. For that reason, you will see no activity on the lake such as fishing or swimming but around the lake is a different story as there are jogging and cycling paths circling it with the Seibu Dome in the distance which is home to the Seibu Lions baseball team.
It is said to be the setting for the famous Studio Ghibli anime film ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ (1988) but I’ve never seen that. That will have changed though by the time I hopefully return in the Autumn on my bicycle.
How to get there: Seibu Yuenchi station is the nearest station and it is on the Seibu-Tamako Line. It takes about 40 minutes from Seibu-Shinjuku station and costs 370 yen. Quick platform changes may be needed in Kodaira and/or Hagiyama.
Click on the links below to read about other parks and gardens in Tokyo: