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Sagamihara in Autumn, a City Surrounded by Natural Parks

by Ushin Cho

With the fragrance of osmanthus blossoms in October, another season of autumn is upon us in Japan. When you think of fall, you may picture autumn leaves, but in Kanagawa Prefecture there is more to this season than just the charm of vibrant foliage. Kanagawa is located next to Tokyo and like Tokyo, represents the flourishing culture and industries of Japan. Do you only know the touristy side of Kanagawa? In this article, we will lead you through the prefecture’s niche, secret places. It's not just about high-rise buildings, but also the charming countryside. How much do you know about this side of Kanagawa?

Sagamihara Asamizo Park

Have you ever been to Sagami City in Kanagawa? This city is surrounded by many natural parks and rolling mountains. One such park is Sagamihara Asamizo Park, a pleasant area where you can relax, take a walk, and enjoy the beautiful scenery. There is even a little petting zoo where you can interact with animals.

The most eye-catching feature of the park is the Sagamihara Green Tower with a total height of 55 meters. The observation deck, which you can climb for free, is located on the 38th floor and is directly accessible by elevator. When you arrive at the observatory, you will be surprised to see not only the Sagamihara area, but also Japan's famous Tokyo Skytree, the Yokohama Landmark Tower, Tanzawa, Shonan, and other areas. Here, you can also see the beauty of Kanagawa and Tokyo if the weather is clear.

Below the tower are playground facilities where parents and children can play together. In the park, there is a lot of sports equipment related to the legendary Deirabotchi of Sagamihara. Deirabotchi is said to be a man who can carry Mount Fuji on his back. Do you believe this legend? The observatory and rides are not the park’s only attractions. In late spring and early summer, 230 varieties of clematis and 200 varieties of ajisai (hydrangea), making it a sight to behold.

The park is easily accessible. Take a bus from Sagami Ono Station on the Odakyu Line, JR Sagamihara Station, or Kobuchi Station and get off at Joshibi University of Art and Design (Joshibijutsudaigaku). Then, walk for about two minutes. If you are driving, there are 1,006 parking spaces in the park for you to use!

Lake Sagami

Lake Sagami is an artificial lake formed during the construction of the Sagami River Reservoir and is one of the five lakes in Kanagawa. Although it is a man-made lake, the scenery is comparable to that of paradise on Earth. Cherry blossoms bloom in spring and bright maple leaves fill the mountains in fall. The lake is also easily accessible from major areas, such as Tokyo and Yokohama, taking just over an hour by train. If you want to escape the crowds and get away from the hustle and bustle, Lake Sagami is a great vacation spot.

If you are exploring the area for the first time, why not try the Lake Sagami Swan Boat Ride? Kasse Kanko Co., Ltd., which is located next to the lake, offers various boat rides, such as hand rowing boats, swan boats, fishing boats, and more. If you don't want to row the boat by yourself, you can also take a ride on the Shin-Swan Maru. There is a Japanese narration that explains the history of Lake Sagami and the surrounding scenery, so all you need to do is sit on the boat, look at the beautiful sights around you, take pictures, and enjoy. A 30-minute boat ride allows you to see all of Lake Sagami at once!

Sagamiko Resort Pleasure Forest

Sagamiko Resort Pleasure Forest is located beside Lake Sagami and surrounded by mountains. It is a huge complex with an amusement park, hot springs, barbecue areas, and camping facilities. The amusement park has a giant climbing course called “Muscle Monster 2,” the first of its kind in Japan, which adults and children over 120 centimeters in height can use. Here, you can enjoy a thrilling and challenging adventure unlike any you have ever experienced before with 93 different activities that would be impossible to do in just a day and a spectacular 360° view from the rooftop. Please note that children under 140 centimeters need to be accompanied by an adult over 18 years old.

In addition, the amusement park holds an annual illumination event called “Sagamiko Illumillion” from winter to spring every year and offers a fantasy world experience that cannot be experienced in the city center.

Tamago Kaido “Egg Street”

After talking so much about the outdoor activities and amusement facilities in Lake Sagami, don't you want to know more about the food in the region? The Asamizodai area of Sagamihara City is a place where eggs were produced in the past and is known as Egg Street. Nowadays, Egg Street is one of Sagamihara City’s most popular attractions, and visitors come from all over Japan. In order to revitalize the local businesses, seven existing stores in the area came together to organize Egg Street. Not only can you buy fresh and tasty eggs, but you can also enjoy eggs and sweets from each of the stores on Egg Street. The seven different stores offer a variety of different tastes. One store, called "Farm House" is a direct sales outlet of the long-established chicken farm "Kotobukien." The two most popular types of eggs at this store are the Keiju Eggs and the Choju Eggs. The Keiju Eggs are said to be "made for women," and are rich in folic acid, vitamin A, and other nutrients that are essential for women's bodies. Choju Eggs are light and creamy, so you won't get tired of eating them. Puffs and puddings made with delicious eggs are also worth trying!

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