Thursday, November 5, 2015

Tokyo's Yoyogi Park

New York has Central Park.  There's Hyde Park in London, Parc Guell in Barcelona and Luxembourg Gardens in Paris. And Tokyo has Yoyogi Park. We took the train from our hotel in Shinagawa to the Harajaku station.( If you make two rights the park is across the street from the entrance to Meiji shrine) The first thing that we saw was a very, very long line of teenage girls waiting to get into a concert at Yoyogi National Stadium. I'm not sure of the name of the band - my younger daughter knew who it was - but they obviously were very popular. Especially since this was before lunchtime and the concert probably wouldn't start until evening!














Yoyogi National Stadium,  which was built to house the swimming and diving events at the 1964 Olympics, marks the entrance to the park. Just past the stadium is an opportune spot for vendors to sell food, drink and souvenirs. 




Yoyogi Park was the spot of the first powered aircraft flight in Japan, although at the time it wasn't a park yet. It housed the US military barracks for officers during the Allied invastion in World War II. And it was used to hold the athletes village during the 1964 Olympics. It became a park in 1967 and is a popular spot for clubs, hobby groups, and cosplayers. We were there on a brisk February day and we saw joggers, walkers and a group meeting.










One of the things we saw in the park was a video shoot - or at least, that's what we thought it was. There was a girl dressed in Harajaku style dancing and singing over and over  to a song played on a boom box. A man was playing the music and watching the girl (the director?) and there were people in the background. It must've been a popular song and dance because people walking in the park came up and performed it with her - behind the scenes of course!









I did mention it was cold out, right? She must have been freezing!

The park is especially popular during Cherry Blossom viewing time, or hanami as it's known in Japan. We didn't' get to experience any Cherry Blossoms but there's always a reason to go back!











Doing our own video shoot!








One of the most famous things about Yoyogi Park are the Yoyogi Park Rockabilly dancers. Mainly men, these dancers dressed in 1950's rockabilly style, perform every Sunday at the Harajaku entrance to the park. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see them perform (another reason to go back!) as it was to be later in the day but we did watch them set up a little bit.




















I'm so unhappy that I missed this! You can watch a short youtube video of them performing here. Hopefully this works but if not you can search for them on youtube - there's lots of videos out there with them performing.


I like to visit a city park when I travel - and it was especially nice here in Tokyo. To get out of the urban jungle - so to speak - and see some nature. But I also like seeing the slice of daily life going on that you don't get to see behind the closed doors of city apartment buildings. 

Have you ever been to Yoyogi Park?







I'm linking up with : Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox, Weekend Travel Inspiration at Reflections Enroute,  The Weekly Postcard at Travel Notes & Beyond and Weekend Wanderlust at A Brit and A Southerner!


12 comments:

  1. I havent been, nor have I been to Tokyo BUT we are headed there in a couple weeks, which I am super excited about. I am really hoping to see some Harajuku girls...I think my daughter (5) would love to see a few!

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    1. They are around - we saw a few on Takeshita Dori (Street) and some cosplay also. www.unpavedroad.blogspot.com/2015/08/takeshita-dori.html is the link for the afternoon we spent there. Enjoy! It's such an interesting city and country!

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  2. Looks like a great place to people watch. When I visit a city, I like to stop by its bigger park. In Vancouver, I rode a bike thru Stanley Park. Recently, I went to Madrid and spent some time at El Retiro Park.

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    1. Would love to visit either of those parks. I found the people watching in these park particularly unique - just as everything in Tokyo was for me. Thanks for visiting Ruth!

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  3. It would have been great to see the rockabilly performance. I looked at the video and it looks hilarious. Love the long shoes. :)

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    1. So glad the video worked - I tried a few that didn't! Aren't they a hoot? Can't believe I missed them in person!

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  4. We have actually been to Yoyogi park a few years ago. We love big city parks (this week's post is actually on the Boston one). They're great places to people watch and relax and they're free. I love the interesting things you saw though. I don't remember seeing any of those other than some kids dressed Harajuku style. Love Tokyo!

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    1. Thanks for visiting Mary! Yoyogi, like other city parks, is such an intersting place. Like you said, it's free and great for people watching. Would love to see it at other times of the year.

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  5. If I were to compare Yoyogi Park with any of the ones you mentioned, Yoyogi would probably come in last. Sorry if you are disappointed, but to me it doesn't look that great. Seems like a good place to watch people and maybe relax, but it doesn't look anything like the fancy Luxembourg Gardens.

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    2. Oh I agree! My point in the comparison wasn't about the actual green space and what they look like - it was to point out that each large city has a large park for residents to visit - stroll, jog or meet in - and it's a great place to view a microcosm of life in that city. Especially if you are visiting as a tourist - and not as someone who is visiting someone they know who lives there. It' s a great way to see a slice of daily life you might not see visiting shrines, temples or skyscrapers. Thanks for visiting!

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  6. We're heading to Tokyo in just a few weeks. I'm not sure if we'll be heading to Yoyogi, though...so much to do!

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