Chuo Sogo Koen
At just over 200 hectares (around 500 acres), this new park
has a lot of room to breathe in. The park increasingly serves as a cultural,
athletic and recreational complex - with everything from the wonderful Mindscape
Museum (Arts) to the Baseball stadium.
The park is divided into 4 (connected) zones.
The sports zone includes the city baseball stadium, a massive
gymnasium, an impressive tennis complex, Kyudo and Archery ranges, sumo ring,
and multi-purpose playing fields that can host soccer/football, rugby and other
The culture zone features the beautifully designed Mindscape
Museum and its gardens. The Museum itself has a permanent collection and often
hosts important exhibitions, both of Japanese arts and collections brought to
Japan. It opened in July 1996.
Connecting the zones are facilities for families (or anyone
basically) such as barbecues. There is plenty of space for picnics, games (organized
or spontaneous), and a bit of privacy.
From the Mindscape Museum cross the pontoon bridge over the
pond and you can begin walking a nature trail. The area close to the museum
is somewhat manicured, but if you go further up the hill it develops into a
nice hiking trail with quite a few options. The hilltops offer some good views
if the weather is nice.