Flanked between Tokyo and Yokohama, the coastal city of Kawasaki extends along the Tamagawa River. As a major industrial city and moderately young in its stature, what Kawasaki lacks in sightseeing is made up in other ways. With its many museums and shrines, admirable scenic attractions, enjoyable recreational spaces and jazzy shopping centres, a visit to this city would be undeniably memorable.
Although quite frequently overlooked owing to its greater closeness in the greater Tokyo area, this city packs its own punch. This article explores the city’s allure and its many attractions. We have enlisted here the best twenty things to do while visiting Kawasaki.
Discover the architecture of Kawasaki Daishi Buddhist Temple
For anyone visiting Kawasaki Daishi Buddhist Temple, you will instantly feel the harmony and serenity of Buddhism sweeping over you. The standing of this temple is paramount considering it forms the headquarter of the Chizian sect of Shingon Buddhism. With a magnificent five-story pagoda, the temple stands tall in all its glory and grandeur. The original construction of the shrine was revamped following the war and is renowned for its engineered aesthetics of the Heian Period architecture. By tradition, this temple is believed to ward off evil spirits and is a must-visit for anyone visiting Kawasaki.
Delve deep into Japanese history at Kawasaki Civic Museum
If you are culture vulture who wants to learn more about Japanese history, we highly recommend paying a visit to the Kawaski Civic museum. This cultural complex of history can be best described as a pivot of avant-garde experiences that will excite, educate and enliven its visitors.
Housed in the museum are archaeological and ethnographical artefacts that go by the theme of ‘The City and The People. ’The museum complex also has fascinating collections of photographs, cartoons and even graphics that bemoan contemporary artistic expressions while highlighting and presenting the legacy of Kawasaki. Over the years, the museum has attracted varied collections that are unique and inimitable to its very core. After you are done scavenge for the artefacts, you can always unwind at the movie theatre and grab a quick snack at their small lounge that overlooks a garden.
Travel back in time to the Japan of old at the Nihon Minkaen
If you want an insight into the old Japanese architecture, there is no better place for you to be than at Nihon Minkaen. Stationed at Ikuta Ryokuchi Park, they are more colloquially known as Japan Open-Air Folk House Museum.
It has several displays of the time-honoured farmhouses (or ‘Minka’) out of which several of them have been recognised as Important Cultural Assets by their national government. With varied construction styles, these traditional houses bear a remarkable indication of Japan’s strong ties to Shinto. From its many farmhouses to merchant buildings; thatched roofs to steeply pitched roofs, something of particular interest is the diverse regional styles. In a nutshell, visiting Nikon Minkaen would present you with an incredible opportunity to navigate and have the feel of walking straight into a time machine.
Holler at the action-crammed, fantasy-like amusement park of Yomiuri Land
If you are a fan of adrenaline-pumping rides, take a turn and head straight to Yomiuri Land. The largest amusement park in the whole of Tokyo, the theme park has been standing as a supersized recreational area for both children and adults.
From dive-in pools to strolling spaces landscaped with sparkling lights, Yomiuri will not disappoint you.
If you are opportune enough to visit Kawasaki in spring, you will be blessed to see the bourgeoning of cherry trees. Other than that, there are more attractions than what meets the eye. But what might be called the absolute thrill fix is the ‘Riding Bandit’ – a roller coaster that sprawls through the trees. We are certain that your inner adventure freak will thank you for hitting up this park. Nonetheless, if you are into tame, carefree rides, there are sizeable options for that as well.
Marvel at the finesse of Japanese arts at the Taro Okamoto Museum of Art
If you want to witness Japanese arts at its finest, take a bow and visit the Taro Okamoto Museum. Immerse yourself in the exceptionally influential twentieth-century artist and creator Taro Okamoto’s stunning artworks. His primitivist and all but wondrous style positively are full of life in the abstract art on exhibit; particularly through his sculptural excellence. To say the least, there is definitely not a chance for an art aficionado to miss the opportunity to visit this museum.
Catch the performances of world-class artists at Musa Kawasaki Symphony Hall
Nothing exudes delicacy, elegance and refinement quite as much as a strip to Musa Kawasaki Symphony Hall. With the prodigious accent and harmony of a full symphony orchestra, you are assured to feel a sense of perfect consummation. From within the extravagant and showy halls, you can catch the live performances of renowned violin artists. The Nagata acoustic design is all the more amplified by the vineyard-like seating. While at this symphony hall, you are assuredly going to reap the benefit of every penny that you put forth for the all-around astounding experience.
See the animals at Yumemigasaki Zoological Park
If you are seeking a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city, head straight to Yumemigasaki Zoological Park- a true unseen paragon in Kawasaki. Positioned on top of a hill, this zoological park is home to myriad creatures that rouse awe and amusement. The strategic location also presents the visitors with a chance to enjoy the breathtaking panoramic views of the city from atop. For extra pointers, this zoo is culturally significant as it houses two shrines and a temple within.
Shop till you drop at Lazona Kawasaki Plaza
Intimately attached to the central exit of JR Kawasaki station is LaZona- a place you can very well spend the whole day without being bored. The large complex has an array of shopping centres and restaurants- in short, everything you will need. From grocery shopping to clothing haul, these shops are bound to satisfy every whim. For the movie-buffs, Built around an open square, you can always have a quick fix of respite in the small seating spaces particularly arranged there. This area is also a major point of attraction from time to time, thanks to the small stage that is ever buzzing with events.
Relive your childhood memories at the Doremon Museum
As one of Japan’s most celebrated and favoured manga and anime character, there might be very few people who do not know of Doraemon. If you are visiting with your children, or if you are someone who is a fan of the character, you will find yourself getting lost in the gaga domain at the Fujiko F. Fujio Museum.
This art museum in the suburbs requires advance reservations so make sure to do that. You will see here an exceptional collection of Fujiko’s works. To facilitate better comprehension, free audio guides are made available who will effortlessly run you through his life, the nature and significance of his works and much more.
Although by and large, the museum appeals more to the children, if you are someone who grew up watching the show, you will definitely be reliving fond memories of your childhood. There are theatres that display the original short film, a manga room, well-stocked gift shops, in addition to several activity and playrooms. You can always finish off the visit by snacking at the cafe that serves Doremon themed dishes.
Pay your respects at the Keihin Fushimi Inari Shrine
Best described as the miniature of Kyoto’s Inari Shrine, this shrine is a must-visit if you have a penchant for the traditional culture amongst the streamlined industrial hub of Kawasaki. Constructed in 1951, the shrine is situated on a hushed residential region in Kamata. Featuring a number of torii gates contained by the shrine’s ground, Keihin Fushimi Inari stands for the revival of the city after the war. All the while exploring the sculpture and appreciating the remarkable architecture, you are guaranteed to feel the calmness and quietness that you are looking for.
Step into the tracks of Kawasaki’s own little Eden- Ikuta Ryokuchi Park
There is very little that needs to be said about Ikuta Ryokuchi Park. It is undoubtedly the city’s one of the most exquisite and cherished recreational space of all time. From scenic walkways that guide you through towering redwoods, fountain squares for excursion perfection, to a planetarium, we bet you cannot get to the end of the ark without a contented smile across your face.
While navigating the trails of the park, you will see oak-covered woods, the local favourite Rose and Iris Gardens among many others. If you are feeling a little adventurous, you can venture to the highest peak of the park that is slotted atop the rolling hills of Tama.
Get geeky at the Toshiba Science Museum
If you are one of those curious minds who wants to know more about the progressions of science through the ages, Toshiba Science Museum would be a perfect option. You can experience the dramatic changes that have taken place through the means of electronics. Right following the introduction of television to the advancements to what the digital space has come to; from image recognition technology to nanotechnology, it’s going to be a fun and enriching experience at this interactive museum. Even if you are not a science enthusiast, you would not beat yourself for visiting this museum as there are specialized spaces for experimenting with various concepts and having fun.
Be a part of the Kanamara Matsuri Festival
There is no denying that the Iron Penis Festival or the Kanamara Matsuri Festival held on the first Sunday of April is one of Japan’s most emblematic celebrations. This festival is commemorated to celebrate sex, fertility and the creation of life itself.
We assure you that this fiesta will help you experience the uniqueness of Japan like none other. It is a joyful opportunity where locals to substitute the constraints of everyday life for cutting lose. Although this guttural festival honouring genitalia might seem bizarre and absurd for an outsider, particularly considering the country’s repute for reserved and discreet in their personal affairs, this festival calls for an occasion to truly unwind and let one’s hair down. So if you are visiting around April, make it a point to be part of the Kanamara Matsuri festival.
Soak up some Sun at Higashitakane Forestry Park
This one is definitely for those who are drawn towards the greenery and the blossoming of flowers. The Higashitakane forestry park is located on the Kanagawa fringe of the Tama River and takes in a large area that features unique species of flora and fauna.
This forestry is one of the few quarters to conserve and maintain the olden Musashino field. Interestingly enough, this park includes a forest walk that serves as an educational trail. One may also go bird watching or enjoy a nice stroll along the park. Be assured that lounging around the grass and soaking up the sun will make your day. It is the best place to be if you want a respite from the stress of the city.
Visit Ozenji Temple
If you want to feel the calmness and tranquillity of a temple, all the while enjoying the incredible wildlife of the surrounding space, then Ozenji temple would be our best pick. Besides that, this temple calls itself home to the oldest sweet persimmon tree in the country-the Zenjimaru persimmon cradle the temple grounds. Furthermore, there are a number of breathtaking Buddha statues exhibited around the ground. Most of the visitors love taking a moment of respite at the splendidly magnificent trees especially when the sun becomes punishing.
Step on the World’s Shortest Escalator
The Guinness World record for the shortest escalator in the world is right here at More’s Department store in Kawasaki. With just five steps and 83.4 cm in height, it takes roughly 8 seconds to transport customers from bottom to top.
Have a game night at Anata No Warehouse
Standing at just a stone’s throw away from JR Kawasaki station, this arcade is not only known for being a themed space. Rather, its fame extends to it’s inimitably run down aesthetics as well. One will find here most of the conventional arcade games. On top of that, one floor of the building is expressly dedicated for physical games such as ping pongs and billiards.
Shop at the posh La Cittadella
If you are looking for a posher shopping option, La Cittadella might be a great alternative. This shopping mall is only a short walk from the Kawasaki station and is perfect for drifting away from the normal and stepping into an Italian town. From a grand Cineplex to massive concert halls, this mall will not let you down. There are a host of shops and restaurants which pack a punch when it comes to serving a pleasurable and fulfilling shopping experience to the customers. If not for shopping, La Cittadella is still worth your visit for its starry-eyed European ambience.
See the Tower of Wind from across the bay
At first glance, this sail-like tower seems to be an installation and is sure to make you ponder its purpose. In reality, this is an aeration shaft that provided air to the tunnel division of the Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line. This distinctive structure sits atop the midpoint of the tunnel. Unfortunately, the Tower of Wind is not open to visitors. One can, however, see it from across the bay.
Witness the retro-futuristic residential complex at Kawaramachi
Japan is famed for its outsized cluster of apartment buildings. Out of the many such constructions, the residential complex at Kawaramachi in Kawasaki begs to differ. Thanks to its cutting edge and innovative design, this residential complex has quite the semblance of a cyberpunk.
More Japan :