|Minami Honjuku Citizen Forest viewed from Kirigasaku 桐が作|
Yokohama has several big golf courses, such as the prestigious Hodogaya Country Club 程ヶ谷カントリー・クラブ. Actually, the campus of Yokohama National University 横浜国立大学 was a golf course for grandees of Japanese military before the World War II, and then the playground for the officers of American Occupation Force, including General Douglas MacArthur. The biggest of the golf courses in Yokohama are Yokohama Country Club 横浜カントリー・クラブ and Totsuka Country Club 戸塚カントリー・クラブ spreading side-by-side over a large chunk of land from 3 Wards, Asahi 旭 , Hodogaya 保土ヶ谷, and Totsuka 戸塚. As they are private properties, they are not accessible unless you pay millions of yen to be a member of the Club (and love artificial ponds, bunkers and vegetation). Luckily, just next to these two golf courses, we have 2 large public parks, one of which is Minami Honjuku Citizen Forest 南本宿市民の森 (map here).
|Well-manicured Kids’ Park|
As the Kids’ Park is prepared for kids to enjoy, it has amenities, like well-equipped toilets, large parking space (with fee), a baseball field, a BBQ field, a small animal garden, and even ice cream vending machines. If you have babies who need a buggy, this is the place to spend your weekend. East of the Kids’ Park is Minami Honjuku Citizen Forest so that to go there we first find the Kids’ Park. In contrast to the Park, the Forest is, though a way smaller than the Kids Park, for somebody who can walk up steep hills and long steps.
The nearest stations to the place are on Sotetsu Line 相鉄線. One of them is Futamatagawa Station 二俣川. We exit from the South Entrance of the Station, then, simply go straight along Natural Park Street. Passing Kentucky Fried Chicken, Mister Donuts, Starbucks, and Futamatagawa Catholic Church (that is an established institution in Yokohama) on the left, going through an ordinary residential area of detached houses, at the bottom of the slope we can find the main entrance of the Kids’ Park. It is about 20 minutes’ walk for 1st or 2nd graders. Before the Kids’ Park, there are one supermarket (Seiyu owned by Walmart), one convenience store (Seven Eleven), and one take-out bentoh shop so that we can procure foods very easily before reaching to the Forest. Another route is from Minami Makigahara Station 南万騎が原 which is the station next to Futamatagawa. From the East Exit of Minami Makigahara Station to the Kids’ Park is about 10 minutes’ walk through a residential town. Finding an entrance to the Kids’ Park from Minami Makigahara route could be tricky, and end up with the main entrance by walking around the Park. Unless you come from the City of Fujisawa 藤沢市, considering the time to wait at Futamatagawa Station for a regular service train to Minami Makigahara, it might be economical to use Futamatagawa Station, as local schools with budget and time constraints do.
|Remnants of Satoyama?|
|Traditional way of celebrating healthy growth of kids near Minami Honjuku Citizen Forest|
|Minami Honjuku Citizen Forest Toilet|
Minami Honjuku Citizen Forest occupies the area of 6.3 ha, in the east of the Kids’ Park, and on the north of Totsuka and Yokohama Country Clubs. It became Citizen Forest in September 1996, i.e. after the burst of the Japanese bubble, which means many people then began to realize developing golf courses were not so clever move for the bottom line. The Forest is well cared. The toilet has standard facility for Citizen Forest so that it’s clean but no soap (and Japanese style toilet bowl only). It is funny to find a notice on the wall; “Please do not use this water faucet for washing your car.” Well, somebody may have tried here to economize his/her water bill.
|Welcome to Johda Shrine|
|Believe it or not, it is camellia.|
|A spring. I don’t recommend you to drink it, though.|
|please be kind to us …|
|Actually, this place is a territory of her.|
|Sign to Komorebino Hiroba|
|We have to climb this steepness.|
|Inside the Forest along the route, there are 5 maps like this.|
|There are 5 picnic areas.|
|Sign posts are also clearly shown.|
|South slope up to the ridgeline. This road is wilder than that from the Shrine.|
|I think somebody’s doing landscaping here.|
For you having a will to walk further, you can take a narrow pedestrian road running between the Country Clubs and the Kids’ Park / Citizen Forest which is a partof Green Road for visiting parks in Asahi Ward あさひグリーンロード公園めぐりコース. The rout itself is not congested so that we can have a relaxing day of enjoying forest (large and small) in the middle of Yokohama.
|A part of Green Road leading to Minami Honjuku Citizen Forest|
If you find a problem in the Park, please make a contact with
Office for the Park Greeneries in the North 北部公園緑地事務所
Yokohama Municipal Government Creative Environment Policy Bureau 横浜市環境創造局
Phone: 045-311-2016 (I guess in Japanese only)
FAX: 045-316-8420 (I hope there is somebody who can read English …)