The pond within Inokashira Park was the first water source for the city of Edo—which today is Tokyo. One of the city’s most utilized green spaces, the park is particularly lovely during prime cherry-blossom viewing (hanami) and leaf peeping (momijigari) times. Inokashira also houses the famous Ghibli Museum, dedicated to Japanese anime.
Inokashira Park was established in 1918, essentially as a gift from the emperor to the Japanese people. Inokashira Pond stretches through the park and connects to the Kanda River. The park is a popular place to come for a picnic, rent a paddleboat, or visit the resident petting zoo, aquarium, or Ghibli Museum.
Travelers often explore Inokashira Park before or after visiting the Ghibli Museum, which showcases the work of Japanese anime company Studio Ghibli.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Inokashira Park is ideal for all first-time visitors to Tokyo, especially those headed to the Ghibli Museum.
- The Kichijoji station food hall is a good place to pick up a bento box for a picnic lunch.
- While Inokashira Park is always open and free, its zoo is closed on Mondays and charges an entry fee.
- Tickets for the popular swan-shaped paddleboat rentals are time stamped, so even during busy periods, you are assured a chance to have a ride.
How to Get There
Inokashira Park, in western Tokyo, is accessible by JR or Keio trains. It’s right beside Inokashira-kōen station on the Keio Inokashira line, and a 5-minute walk from Kichijōji station and a 15-minute walk from Mitaka station, both on the JR Chuo Line.
When to Get There
Inokashira Park is open 24 hours a day. Like many of Tokyo’s parks, spring is a great time to visit, as the soft pink cherry blossoms bring many visitors and a festive atmosphere. Other seasons have their attractions as well, with lush greenery in summer, fall leaves in autumn, and migrating birds in winter.
The Ghibli Museum
For many travelers who come to Japan to experience its unique anime (animation) culture, the Ghibli Museum is an essential stop. But not only anime enthusiasts love the museum—it appeals to a range of curious minds, including kids, technology enthusiasts, and lovers of fine art. The museum has permanent and temporary exhibits as well as an on-site café, bookshop, rooftop garden, and theater. You must buy tickets in advance through the website or at Lawson convenience stores within Japan; it’s recommended to do so as far in advance as possible. The Ghibli is open from 10am to 6pm Wednesday through Sunday.