SGRA Kawaraban (Essay) in English

Oksana KAKIN “Beautiful Nature in Japan – Healing Spots in Tokyo”

I am writing a doctoral thesis now and feel mentally tired quite often. Even if I do not write a doctoral thesis, there are so many dreadful things in the world. There are various ways of healing. It is effective for me to go out to beautiful and calm nature spots that are not so congested. When I go to such places and breathe deeply, I can relax mentally and physically. I feel heartwarming and think “Let us work more and harder!”


I could finish my doctoral thesis because I went to such places once a week last year. So, I would like to introduce such healing spots from my experience.


Firstly, I recommend going to the Institute for Nature Study and the National Museum of Nature and Science in Shirokane (very close to Tokyo METRO station). It is not well known among international students and is different from other parks in Tokyo. It is a real forest, not a garden like Koishikawa Koraku-en Garden or Shinjuku Gyo-en (the National Garden). There are passes and bridges for taking a walk, and various plants are growing like forests. We can forget being in Tokyo because tall trees are standing to hide towns. We cannot enjoy such feelings without going to the mountains, which take three hours to reach. It is just a place where we can enjoy walking, forgetting our daily lives.


We can enjoy its beauty every season, but the time of the autumn leaves is the best. There are many gardens or temples that are famous for their autumn leaves, and the leaves of those trees are pruned so that they do not grow tall. However, the trees in the Institute of Nature Study are not pruned and there are a lot of tall autumn trees. I think it is the only place in Tokyo where we can enjoy tall, red autumn trees. If you would like to enjoy walking, I recommend you go to the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum. You can enjoy modern architecture and history there, and the garden is very beautiful.  


I recommend you secondarily to go to Sankeien in Yokohama. Minato-MIRAI and Yamashita-Park, both in Yokohama, are famous. But I will be tired more because those places are popular spots. Sankeien, however, is located in a quiet place, ten minutes by bus from Yamashita Park, and is not crowded. It was released by a businessperson named Hara Sankei in 1906, and it is very big and worth walking. It is very beautiful, especially when plum blossoms are fully bloomed. Harbor views of Tokyo Bay from Sankeien are good also. The most highlighted one is its buildings, which were relocated from Kyoto and Kamakura. All of them are valuable historically, and I recommend them to people who like to know Japanese architecture and history. You can see many luxurious houses around Sankeien and may be interested in modern architecture while taking strolls.


The last place that I recommend is the place where I would like you to go in cherry blossom season. Some people may dislike going to famous spots that are famous for their cherry blossoms because of their crowded conditions. But the cherry blossoms alongside the Shakujii-River is different. Its beauty is just the same as that of the Meguro-River. But the Shakujii-River side is not so crowded. The river is very long, but I recommend you take the course between Otonashi-Shinsui Park (Sound Nothingness Water Park) which is very near Oji-Station (Tokyo Metro), and Naka-Itabashi Station (Tobu-Tojyo Line). The park is strange or peculiar because this river was constructed using the old waterway of the Shakujii River. It is worth going only for this reason. When you walk along the river, you can enjoy cherry blossoms for five kilometers. As there are no Yatai (food stands) and few people like Meguro-River, you can enjoy cherry blossom while being relaxed. You will be healed fantastically if you walk while watching cherry blossoms and listening to your favorite music.   


You may feel persistent stress every day. But let’s refresh and heal ourselves yourself by watching beautiful scenery. 



SGRA Kawaraban 737 in Japanese (Original)



Oksana KAKIN / 2021 Raccoon



Translated by Kazuo Kawamura

English checked by Sabina Koirala