Friday, July 17, 2015

Quiet Life: Forest in Suburbia - Imajuku Citizen Forest 今宿市民の森

Imajuku Citizen Forest 今宿市民の森 is a relatively new addition to Yokohama Citizen Forest system. It was open in March 2013 with 3 ha in Asahi Ward 旭区. So, there is no web-site or pdf map from the home page of City of Yokohama. Though, the City has created hard-copy of the map of this forest that is distributed in all the Ward Offices in Yokohama, and the major Citizen Forest administration office like in Niiharu. (It is copyrighted, so that I cannot do "copy and paste" here.) The best I can offer as a map at this moment is this photo at the entrance of Imajuku Forest.

Imajuku Citizen Forest is located to the southeast of 3 Citizen Forest complex (in total of 57 ha), Oiwake 追分, Yasashi 矢指 and Seya 瀬谷. If you do not mind to walk in the suburban town for about 1 km for moving from the northern tip of Imajuku Forest to these 3, you can combine your visit to this forest with the Complex. The access to Imajuku Forest is from Kibogaoka Station 希望が丘 of Sotetsu Line. We leave the Station to the direction of Atsugi Street 厚木街道 (i.e. the opposite direction to the venerable Kibogaoka High School 県立希望が丘高校). Go west along Atsugi Street and find a traffic light named “Kibogaoka Junior High School Entrance 希望が丘中学校入口.” Turn right and proceed to meet Kibogaoka Junior High 希望が丘中学校 on the right, and Higashi Kobogaoka Elementary School 東希望が丘小学校 on the left. Keep on going, we meet a small Shinto Shrine, Harunoki Shinmeisha 春の木神明社. Harunoki means “Spring Trees.” This shrine has been the village shrine of the area whose ancient name was “Village of Spring Trees.” (Cute J)

It's the traffic light to turn right.
Harunoki Shinmeisha Entrance
Harunoki Shimeisha

Ahead of us is just a row of ordinary houses. Try finding the way to the north. (The developer did not create a single straight way.) Eventually, we’ll meet Imajuku Koen (Imajuku Garden 今宿公園) on the right. At the end of the Garden, there is a road straight ahead leading to Imajuku Forest.

The exit of Imajuku Garden in front of Imajuku Forest
The Way to Imajuku Forest

At the beginning of the Forest route, there is the map I uploaded above. Behind the map is a small marsh and a tiny bridge over it. From this point, there are two routes. One to the north along the edge of the Forest, and another is into the Forest.

Road to the north
“Into the Forest”

Well, “into the Forest” is a kind of relative term for Imajuku Forest. From almost anywhere in the Forest, we can see the lines of houses surrounding the place. So, there is no “forest dark.” The Forest is like a small island floating in the sea of quiet residential houses.  The entire route is well cared, and from the northwest entrance to open picnic place, the route is barrier free for wheelchairs. (Though, no toilet.) In addition, sign posts are very clear every time so that it is difficult to lose the way within the Forest.

It is basically afforested coniferous forest, but well-cared. The local natural vegetation covers the ground and the route is not so hard for knees. It is the place locals to enjoy quite forest bath. In the southwest of the Forest, there is a small play garden for kids. The entire Imajuku Citizen Forest is for families to have a daily dose of phytoalexin. Or, for your daily trail run exercise … possibly 10 minutes to circulate?

Oh, by the way, if you come to Driver’s License Office of Kanagawa Prefecture 神奈川県警察本部交通部運転免許本部 (or Cancer Hospital 県立がんセンター) in Futamatagawa 二俣川, Imajuku Forest is not far, about 15 minutes’ walk from there, or 5 minutes of driving. However! There is no parking for the Forest so that parking your car in the surrounding residential area is a kind of gamble. In the suburb of Yokohama, if a person finds a car parked in front of her/his house annoying, s/he can call the police and the driver will be ticketed (for a hefty fine, of course). Good luck for that.

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 …)

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