For the average Japanese, Sarue Onshi Park (猿江恩賜公園, lit. “Sarue Imperial Gift Park”) may not be familiar. But for me, an avid tennis player in years past, this park was a recreational spot where I could escape from the monotonous teaching career that I was in and enjoy sweating even in the freezing Tokyo winters. A park located within 15 minutes by foot from Kinshicho, it remains relatively unknown to your everyday tourist.
On a trip back to Tokyo with my family, I wanted to be near a green spot that was also within striking distance of areas of interest so I stayed at a hotel within a five-minute walk from Sarue. For a tourist traveling 3000 – 5000 miles over the Pacific Ocean or from another distant region, why would you even think about coming here?
Well, I chose for good (comfortable weather) or for bad (prices go up because everyone’s on vacation) reason to come right before Golden Week to visit friends and enjoy the sites and sounds of Tokyo. So here I was with my family at this park. I had only intended to get some fresh air but instead encountered myriads of flowers, school children playing baseball or soccer, families relaxing in tents or picnicking, even a guitar group playing nice Japanese melodies that I was unfortunately unfamiliar with.
Formerly a timberyard during the Edo Period, it opened as a park in 1932 and since been cherished by residents and visitors from inside and outside of Tokyo. It is a microcosm of Japanese society, the old (neatly carved out gardens and jarimichi, gravel paths) and the new (tennis courts and food trucks with African cuisine – out of anything you can imagine) and worth a visit during your time in Tokyo!!!
*Taken at the park
Lived in Tokyo from 1999 – 2009 and calls it his second home. Currently he resides in Oregon and is a Japanese-English translator. He enjoys traveling, learning languages and cuisine. When visiting Japan, he enjoys watching rakugo shows.
*J-E/E-J Translation： http://www.myeyestokyo.jp/translation
*His columns: https://www.myeyestokyo.com/tag/daniel-penso/