Posted by: pdot78 | March 17, 2009

Week 36: Japanese Parks


Hey Folks,

This weekend I went to a sake festival. It was pretty fun. 2000 yen got you into the grounds (this was the same place I went to for the food festival a few months ago) where various booths had been set up for every sake company in the prefecture. I haven’t really tried good sake before so I figured this would be as good a place as any. After about 4 or 5 different samples of sake I came to the conclusion that I actually don’t like sake and predominantly focused on the food stands. Overall it was still pretty neat to see the way each company tried to market their product.

The next day I was going to bike around town and take pictures of Japanese playgrounds but when I woke up it was pouring. Now normally this would be enough to deter most people but me being the stubborn fool that I am had decided I would go anyways and try to take my pictures with one hand while holding an umbrella with the other. This was luckily not necessary as there was a lull in the storm clouds and I managed to sneak out and take most of my pictures before it rained again. Although for the record when it started raining again I was halfway across town and got stuck in the middle of some sort of torrential downpour so I was completely soaked by the time I got home. Yes I am aware that I had an umbrella but it was far too windy and about half the people I passed had broken umbrellas on the way home.

Anyways back to the point; Japanese parks. They are typically mundane, depressing places with dirt, rusted swings and some sort of concrete block or cylinder unless of course they are awesome! You will see.

After this came what I am going to call a bridging park because it wasn’t awesome but it also wasn’t completely terrible. This was apparently designed to emulate waves.

Next up are the awesome playgrounds. First one is cactus themed. Its near a beach on the Sea of Japan so I am sure it gets lots of play in the summer.

Up next is a castle that is  pretty big and makes for an awesome playground.

The next is my second favourite if not tied for first place. The giant octopus slide! Who comes up with this stuff?!  I was curious as to whether there were more octopus playgrounds in Japan so I googled it and came up with this explanation…..

“In the 1960’s in Japan, when the Maeda Outdoor Art Company unveiled a serpentine mound of polished concrete called “Play Sculpture: Stone Mountain,” someone trying to be helpful told the artist, “If you’d just put a head on it, it’d be an octopus.” It turned out octopus was what the park officials were buying, so octopus it was.Though exact numbers are hard to come by, a Japanese fansite has documented over 100 remaining Tako-no-Yama [Octopus Mountain], which became beloved icons of Japanese childhood. They were each built by hand, sketched out onsite, first on paper, then in re-bar. Maeda claims that no two were alike”

My favourite in Niigata was this last one simply because of the existance of a Pirate Ship! It even had a crows nest. Whoever came up with this is a genius. I would have gotten closer but this one was closed and surrounded by some pretty serious fencing. The picture was taken by holding my camera over the top of the fence and hoping I got something so this will have to do until it opens back up.

Alright so that about covers my weekend. Sake festival and me getting soaked head to toe to get you guys these park pictures. Hope you like them.

ps. A pirate ship! I still can’t believe it!



  1. the pirate ship owns…..but what’s with interesting parts of Japan being covered in fences all winter long? They want to make sure no one has too much fun that season?

    buuuut….. my favorite is the second from the top, the ‘bridging park’, for one simple reason: I looked at it, and the first thing I thought was that it was the world’s deadliest skate park lol
    My favorite would be the half circle that would bring you upside down, then dump you on you head

    Its like Japan is trying to kill of all the skateboarders lol

  2. The cactus one kind of reminds me of Peter pans tree house. Makes you kind of want to be a kid again. Theyre all surprisingly far from ordinary in appearance compared to the mundane parks you see in every city.

  3. The cactus and Octopus’s Garden are my faves. I can’t help but sing:

    “I’d ask my friends to come and see
    An octopus’ garden with me
    I’d like to be under the sea
    In an octopus’ garden in the shade.”

  4. hahahahha Paul you make me laugh…
    I liked a fe of those parks, i like the cactus one and i like the one with the pirate ship

  5. what does sake taste likeÉ is it strong?
    Youre a brave man Paul walking out into a storm like that, at least your pictures look amazing. My favourite park has to be the pirate ship, it looks pretty intense, if it was opened youd be all over that wouldnt you paul?

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