The One about Yoyogi Park, Pt. 1

Located in Shibuya and not far from the Meiji Shrine and Harajuku Station is Yoyogi Park.

What was the site for the first successful aircraft flight in Japan by Captain Yoshitoshi Tokugawa in 2010 and later turned into an army parade ground, the site would be utilized as the US military barracks known as “Washington Heights” for U.S. officers in 1945 during the allied occupation of Japan.

But as the big land would house athletes for the Tokyo Olympics of 1964 and Yoyogi National Gymnasium, in 1967 the majority of the land was turned into a park and called Yoyogi Park.

I like to see Yoyogi Park in two sections, one is the main section that is quite busy and then the other half near Homotsuden (Treasure Museum) that is more peaceful and probably the best area to grab a blanket and sit in the serene peaceful setting away from the other side of Yoyogi Park.

And this first part of my blog post focuses on that side.

Yoyogi Park is no doubt one of the coolest parks to visit in Tokyo during Hanami for the Cherry blossoms.  By the first weekend in April (or late March, depending on where the weekend lands), Yoyogi Park is packed.

But on other days, you’ll find friends, families and couples just enjoying the serenity of the location.

You can find bike paths, cycle rentals, and picnic areas in this half of the park.

While some may have read unfortunate news about the 2014 dengue fever outbreak (caused by tiger mosquitoes which lay around 100 eggs in a lifetime in water puddles and the eggs hatch in the spring) at Yoyogi Park, that was the worst in the location and the first recorded case in 70 years.  So, the park was closed on Sept. 4, 2014 as nearly 200 cases were reported.  But the park was re-opened on October 31st and the Tokyo metropolitan government said they would take measures to spray insecticide near fountains and any spots with water to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.

But Tokyo has taken measures and there have been no reported outbreaks since that incident.

For the most part, Yoyogi Park is safe from those mosquitoes and despite a large body of water located at the park, one shouldn’t worry.

So, if you are going during the Cherry Blossom season or going with friends and family to enjoy the serene landscape at the park, Yoyogi Park is definitely a park destination worth visiting.



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Dennis A. Amith