As an outdoor activity hunter, I am always trying to find something unique, fun and with relatively convenient access from Tokyo. And this combo might have them all.
Let me start telling you that these two parks are located one in front of the other in a residential area of Machida.
While Yakushi-ike Park is peaceful, full of nature and an ideal option for a picnic by the big beautiful lake, Machida Squirrel Garden is all about little animals jumping, playing and getting friendly with kids.
The squirrel park is a great option to go with children, even toddlers. They will be able to feed and touch the guinea pigs, rabbits and giant tortoises that inhabit the park, which is entertaining and exciting for sure—but the main attraction is the squirrels. Before entering the enclosure you can buy food to feed them and the staff members will provide you with a big glove where you can place the food and avoid uncomfortable bites.
It won’t take you more than a few minutes to realize that these active little animals are very social and happy to eat from your hand. They might even jump on to your back, shoulders or up to your head. Are you ready for all that?
If they get too close and you are not the kind of person who enjoys that, well you can also move a few steps back and stay a bit in the shadows.
Useful information and tips:
- The entrance fee for the squirrel park is 200 yen for kids from 3 to 11 years old and 400 yen for adults.
- Machida Squirrel Garden is open every day from 10:00am until 4:00pm except Sundays, when it stays open until 5:00pm. The park closes every Tuesday.
- Weekends can get quite crowded, especially during the afternoon. Arriving in the morning might keep you apart from the crowds.
- My second time there was on a rainy Saturday and I found it very special. The place is small and with some indoor areas so the rain is not really that bothering. And the second reason not to cancel your trip if it rains is that seeing the kids playing with the squirrels under colorful umbrellas was even more charming. Or, as we say in Japanese, kawaii.
- Before going, I recommend you pack some food and a tablecloth for a picnic in Yakushi-ike Park. So right after the playful experience you can take a relaxing moment surrounded by the greenery of the park.
- Another thing that you may want to consider is visiting Yakushi-ike Park during the autumn. You will be able to see the trees dressed up in vibrant reds, oranges and yellows. November is the month to do it. Visiting in April for the sakura is another unique experience.
How to get there:
From Shinjuku Station take the Odakyu Odawara line Rapid Express or Express for Odawara or Fujisawa, and get off at Machida Station. From there take number 55 or 53 bus to Machida Squirrel Garden. The trip is about 1 hour and 15 minutes in total.
Machida Squirrel Garden
733-1 Kanai-machi, Machida, Tokyo 195-0071
Website (Japanese only): http://www.machida-risuen.com/
3270 Nozuda-machi, Machida, Tokyo 195-0063
For more Information → http://www.odakyu.jp/english/