Surrounded by cherry blossoms in spring, golden leaves in autumn and entertainment all year round – Yoyogi Park is definitely worth visiting if you have found yourself in Yoyogikamizonocho, Tokyo. Whether you want to relax and lay under the falling cherry petals, take photos of the golden leaves in autumn, or go for a run you are always welcome to visit. Although it might look like a regular park Yoyogi has a long and interesting history behind it. Visit the park as well as the surrounding places of interest to make a day out of it.
About the Yoyogi Park
The history of Yoyogi park dates back to 1910 when Baron Yoshitoshi Tokuga started to write its history. In 1910 the park that you can see today did not exist, this site was first used to power off the first aircraft by the captain Tokunaga, who was one of the first Japanese military aviation pioneers. After Tokugas success, the area became an army parade ground and served as military grounds during the second world war. Yoyogi started to look more like a park only in 1964 when it was used for the Tokyo Olympic games housing the Olympic village and gymnasium. The park became what it is today in 1967 and it still has a long and important purpose for the upcoming Tokyo Olympic games.
The spirit of physical activity and energy in Yoyogi can be felt every day as it is a popular gathering place for joggers, street performers, dancers, and many others who like to express their energy in a creative way. If you are planning to visit we recommend renting a bike for the cycling paths in the park or taking out your running shoes for a nice jog.
What to do in Yoyogi Park
There should not be a specific time to visit Yoyogi as there is something to do in every season. Although the area is not the most popular destination for sakura lovers, you can still see some cherry trees around the Yoyogi park.
The lack of cherry trees does not stop the Japanese to host the Hanami parties when friends and family gather under the sakura for a small picnic or drinks. If you are visiting in autumn the park will be as equally stunning as in spring, the autumn leaves are colored in golds, yellows, and reds.
Pay attention to street dancers, cosplayers, and Harajuku where the fashionistas dress up in bizarre, cute, and iconic outfits.
For those who love to exercise, take advantage of the soccer and hockey fields, running paths, as well as the bicycle renting services and bicycle paths. Take advantage of the Yoyogi location, it is near the Shinjuku station, Meiji Shrine, Nezu Museum, and many other parks and smaller places of interest.
The park is open every hour of every day with no admission fee, make sure to take this opportunity.
How to get to Meiji Shrine from Yoyogi Park
The Yoyogi park grounds are not only famous because of the history, Olympic Games, sports, and fashion enthusiasts it is also home for one of the most famous shrines in Japan. Meiji Shrine is located in the forested area of the Yoyogi park where it started its history in 1920. The shrine is a tribute to the spirits of Emperor Meiji who was the 122nd emperor of Japan. The forested area of the shrine includes around 120 thousand different trees that were donated from all over Japan and today they spread over 70 hectares.
The shrine consists of two main areas, the Naien and Gaien. Naien – includes a museum that holds artifacts from emperor Meiji and his wife, and Gaien – is the place for the Meiji Memorial picture gallery, sports facilities, and other venues.
The main building of the shrine is located 10 minutes from the Harajuku station and on the same grounds as the Yoyogi park. Yoyogi Park has no opening hours, although the Shrine complex opens its gates early in the morning and closes by the sunset.
Where to eat near Yoyogi Park
Yoyogi Park is a great area for gatherings and picnics and what can be a better combination than sitting under sakura with some delicious take out:
Gomayakuki – only five minutes away from Yoyogi – this famous sesame ice cream place is famous among all the locals as well as tourists. This little ice cream place is known for their high-quality ingredients, one scoop of the ice cream is made out of 9,000 sesame seeds. Try their Kuro, Shiro, tempura, parfait, and pancakes.
Cookie Time – originated from New Zealand this cookie and milkshake place will give you plenty of energy to walk around Yoyogi.
Gindaco Takoyaki – right next to the Harajuku station and only a few minutes away from Yoyogi you will find the best place for takoyaki. Takoyaki is little ball-shaped snacks that are made out of flour and topped with minced octopus, tempura, green onions and bathed in mayonnaise and takoyaki sauce. This is a perfect dish for a picnic as it is easy to share and order for takeout. This restaurant also serves other seasonal dishes.