Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Kinugasa Yama Koen (Kinugasa Park)

Yesterday, we ventured out with some friends to find Kinugasa park. It was only about a 15 minute drive from the main base in Yokosuka and we opted to drive because it's apparently a long walk from the closest train station (at least for kids). Kinugasa park is located on a hill overlooking Yokosuka. At the top, there are great views of the city and ocean. The park is also reported to be one of the best places for eating under the sakura during sakura season, with nearly 2,000 trees in the park. We packed some lunches and headed there not for cherry blossoms, but for the playground which looked like it would be a lot of fun for the kids.

Here is some information about the park:

There was free parking there, but the lot only contained a few spots. We did try to drive up further (because we thought we were still a little far from the park), but the road became a little too narrow for some of our vehicles.

Directly across the street from the parking lot was a staircase leading up the hill and to the park. Parents, be advised: there were a lot of steps and my kids started complaining soon into the climb.

At the top of the stairs, we came to a wide road and turned right to continue up the hill. 

At the top of the road, we asked some Japanese men for directions and we also found a set of bathrooms (good to know if you have children!).

We were told that in order to get to the playground, we needed to keep heading straight up the hill and at the top, there were be a trail leading down the side of the hill. The trail was made of stone steps and was in the middle of some pretty flowers. Trust me, if I could give better directions, I would. Ha!

I guess by now it's pretty obvious that this isn't exactly stroller-friendly. At the bottom of this pathway, we came to another, smaller, paved street. We followed it towards the left and then found another stone walkway on the right, heading down to the playground.

The main attraction of the playground was probably this big loopy-climby thing. It wasn't much of a hit with the little ones, but the big kids loved it.

My three-year-old wanted to give it a try and made it over the first hump before realizing she wasn't quite big enough to reach from one side the other. 

She had to be rescued shortly after she tried going down backwards. 

Down the hill from the loop, there was a great playground for the little ones. We ate our lunches here and spent about 3 hours here!  There were also some Japanese kids playing and it was so great to see all the kids start to play together despite the language barrier.

A game of "chase" is easy to understand in any language. :)

The kids were worn out when we left, but unfortunately, the only way back to the cars was UP all the same stone steps that we'd come down before. There was a lot of crying.

My verdict: The playground was nice and my kids has a lot of fun spending an afternoon outside. However, the part would have been hard to find on my own (we had a friend who guided everyone there). Even once we got the park, there was a lot of walking and confusing directions about how to get down to the playground. I'm glad I went and can cross it off the list, but I'm not sure it's somewhere that I'd make a big effort to go back to. 

Now, it's your turn to go visit and let me know what you think!

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