Yoyogi Park is definitely one of the largest parks in Tokyo. It’s a famous place to see the cherry blossoms in spring, though there are fewer trees than other parks. You can also enjoy a walk under the famous golden ginkgo tree leaves in autumn or a picnic on the grass on a sunny day. It’s a place the local Japanese people kick back and relax, away from the crowds and constant buzz of the metropolis. There are sprawling lawns, wooded areas, and even a pond with a fountain. However, it gets quite lively on weekend afternoons as there are frequently events going on, especially in the spring and summer when the weather is warm.
Yoyogi Park Location and Access
Address: 2-1 Yoyogi Kamizonocho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Entrance Fee: free of charge
Hours: Open 24 hours (It’s very dark in the park after sunset so I do not recommend going there at night)
Yoyogi Park is located in a very convenient area. The entrance is just a 3 minute walk from Harajuku Station. When you exit the station, walk towards the right to the big intersection and turn right. After walking straight for a bit, the entrance to the park will come up on your right side. You’ll see a large Torii Gate on your right side near the intersection before coming up on the park. That’s the entrance to Meiji Jingu Shrine. You can visit both on the same day as they are located adjacent to each other.
Another way to get to Yoyogi Park is by taking a 15-20 minute walk from Shibuya Station. You can sightsee a bit of Shibuya while taking a stroll. The easiest way to do this is to follow the train tracks to Harajuku Station. When you exit Shibuya Station and stand at the corner of Shibuya’s famous crossing, you’ll see a building that says Starbucks and TSUTAYA across the street. Cross the street to your right hand side so that this building is on your left. Then just keep going straight. There’ll be side streets from which you can peer to your right to make sure that the train tracks are still on your right hand side one block over. That will keep you on the correct street all the way to the aforementioned big intersection near Harajuku Station. Cross over and turn left. The park entrance will come up on the right side.
If you want to wander the streets of Shibuya a bit and go window shopping before walking to the park, maybe having a local guide with you would be a good idea. Most of Shibuya’s streets are not straight at all and it’s easy to get turned around while you’re walking in and out of shops. Your sightseeing tour of Tokyo can be exactly what you want it to be, not just a generic tour of famous sightseeing spots. TripleLights provides all kinds of tours and you can even request a customized tour, so you can request a tour with a few hours set aside to shop if you wanted to.
History of Yoyogi Park
Yoyogi Park is now a large park managed under the metropolitan government. However 100 years ago, it was one of the training grounds for the Japanese military. Ironically, after World War II, it became the location of the housing complex for the U.S. Air Force, called Washington Heights. The grounds were returned to Japan in 1961 as a location for the Olympic Village for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. After the Olympics, the grounds were changed in to a park and it opened as Yoyogi Park in 1967. Parts of the former Olympic Village, such as the athletes’ dormitories or the practice grounds, were reused as a youth center and hostel or a track field and soccer ground. Near the center of the park is a wide area with a fountain. There is also a cycling course, a basketball court, and two gymnasiums, in between which lies the Olympic Plaza. This plaza has recently become the location where a huge tent known as the “Harajuku New Big Top” has been erected as the home of the Cirque du Soleil show.
Events at Yoyogi Park
Yoyogi Park is also a place where events are held throughout the year. In spring and summer, there is an event almost every single weekend. These events range from music events to food events, to marathons. They are mostly all free to participate in, so you can go and enjoy them on a whim while taking a stroll. During the food events, there are many stalls selling all kinds of delicious food, sometimes from all over the world or sometimes just a certain type of food. The events gather crowds of people and the atmosphere is very lively. Below are examples of a number of large events that have been held every year.
* Many of these events have been cancelled or rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic *
You can see this website for information on past or upcoming events at Yoyogi Park.
- Shibuya Blue Cave Illumination on Koen Dori Street
- Oedo Antique Market
- Flea Market
- Tokunoshima Fair
- Tokyo Asian Culture Festival
- World Valentine Festival
- World Gourmet and Music Festival in Yoyogi Park
- Shibuya, Omotesando Women’s Run
- Buddy Walk Tokyo
- Outdoor Day Japan
- Earth Day Tokyo
- Tokyo Rainbow Pride
- May Day
- Cambodia Festival
- Tokyo Caravan
- Soba and Sake Exhibition
- Vietnam Festival
- Tokyo Family Weekend
- Brazil Festival
- Sonkran (Thai New Year) Festival
- Taiwan Festival
- Sri Lanka Festival
- Thai Festival
- Harajuku Omotesando Super Yosakoi Festival
- Tokyo Jazz Festival
- Namaste India
- Latin America Festival
- Hokkaido Fair in Yoyogi
- Kyushu Bussan Fair / Kyushu Beer Festival
- Fashion Art Event “BE Vint-age”
- Spain Festival
- Tokyo Snow Festival
- Philippine Festival
- Oedo Antique Market
- World Christmas Market
Sightseeing spots near Yoyogi Park
Meiji Jingu Shrine
Adjacent to Yoyogi park is Meiji Jingu Shrine. The entrance to the grounds is marked by a large Torii gate. It’s a very famous and popular shrine in Japan and more than 3 million people visit at New Years to offer their first prayers of the year. Just like Yoyogi park, it’s an oasis in the middle of a bustling city. Because of the serenity of the shrine grounds, you’ll probably forget that right outside the entrance is a station where thousands of people pass through every day. If you visit this shrine on a weekend, sometimes if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to see a Shinto style wedding. The bride will be dressed in a pure white kimono and the groom will be dressed in a black and white “hakama” which is a man’s traditional formal attire.
Harajuku is the station closest to Yoyogi park. The whole area, especially Takeshita street, is always busy with people because it is one of the places in Tokyo where the younger generation gather to shop and have fun. As the origin of the “kawaii” or “cute” culture, you’ll be able to find all kinds of cute clothes, toys, accessories, and even food. It’s a good place to take your children or teenagers if they start to get bored with conventional sightseeing. They’ll be able to experience how children their own age enjoy themselves in Harajuku.
As mentioned before, you can get to Yoyogi park from Shibuya station too. It’s one station over from Harajuku. Shibuya is also popular among the younger generation. Along with Harajuku, this area is where popular brands have their flagship stores and it’s a place from where trends in Japan start. The intersection in front of the station has become a famous sightseeing spot, and is something to see. It’s an unusual crossing where people are able to cross from all four street corners at the same time. Hundreds of people cross the street at the same time but the local Japanese get to the other side with ease. Tourists seem to find this chaotic sight utterly amazing. Another new sightseeing spot is the open air observatory at the Shibuya Scramble Square building.
If you’d like to see these areas, along with some others in Tokyo, you’ll probably need to do a lot of walking in one day. And people who are not used to walking a lot will get tired out. Using a private car instead of the train to get from place to place is a good way to give your feet a little rest in between sightseeing spots. So if you feel unsure of your ability to walk long distances see this webpage for options on hiring a private car in Tokyo. You can also hire a local tour guide to take you on a tour if you’re anxious about seeing the city by yourself. They’ll think up an itinerary that is logistically practical and efficient. If you tell them exactly where you’d like to see or about your group members, they’ll try their best to help make sure you get to see what you want and that the tour pace isn’t too fast for everybody. Obviously, the average age of your group members or whether you have children or elderly participants with you will have an effect on how much time it will take for you to get from one place to another or how many breaks you’ll probably need to get through the day. You can leave all that up to your guide or you can make a decision together. They’re here to make sure you have a memorable time in Tokyo, so let them help you enjoy yourself to the fullest!
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