Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Showa Kinen Park
Showa Kinen Park is located in Tachikawa, at the Nishi-Tachikawa station, about 45 minutes out from Shinjuku. It's a fairly large park - I've been out here twice and spent several hours investigating it, and I still haven't seen everything. The first time, I took the pseudo-train ride (basically just a bus with a train-like body mounted on top) around the perimeter. This included some views of the various flower gardens, the ponds, and the lake with the paddle boats and regular row boats. There's also a disk golf course, and an orienteering course.
The second time out was on Nov. 29th, with the intent being to collect ginkgo nuts. Unfortunately, we were a week too late, and most of the nuts had either been collected already, or swept up by the grounds crews. We were able to find some late-falling nuts, so the trip wasn't a complete waste, but it was a disappointment. But, this left more time for walking around. It took close to 2 hours to circle the park, with stops in the open field, and the
children's play area (this area is HUGE).
Close-up of a bed of ginkgo leaves.
At the opposite end of the park, at the children's zone, there's a line of 4 pyramid-shaped towers - the tallest one about 3 meters, and the smallest about half a meter. They've got tiles embedded in parts of the sides, with a few stars thrown in, but none of the patterns match up with zodiacal symbols or night-sky objects as far as I can tell.
If you view them from the top of the pyramid on the next hill over, they look like the spines of a big lizard creature sticking up from the ground.
From the bigger spire, you can look down on the fura fura play center. Apparently, a vinyl-coated canvas is shaped, and then partially buried in the sand. Air blowers inflate the canvas to the point where even several adults can stand and jump on the top, but it does deform under the weight.
Facing along the line of the spires, you can see the big pyramid (picture above). This thing is like something out of an RPG video game. You can walk along the various levels, but the lower two levels deadend along the sides (I was looking for the upgraded weapons for taking on the boss monster, but someone else seems to have gotten to them before me). The second to the top level goes all the way around, and includes another trail that continues both to the side and the back of the pyramid.
At the top is the sun, a reflection of the one up in the sky. I kept pressing down on it, but the boss monster never showed. I'm assuming that it was hidden in the mist, where I couldn't get to it.
The path leading to the side goes to the Mist Forest. I figure the boss monster popped up in there somewhere. I don't know if it's a random placement, or if there's a way to get at it with range weapons.
Continuing to the back, there's another play area.
And there's another tree there.