Inokashira Park: Seasonal Delights for Photographers

Cherry blossoms and rowboats on Inokashira Pond
Cherry blossoms and rowboats on the pond in spring.

Inokashira Park is one of the most popular places in Tokyo on weekends. Photographers love it too. Every season there has much to capture. There are flowers, animals, people, and a great pond. It’s one of my favorite spots too. Take a camera with you, and you’ll be busy all day!

The most noticeable about the park is the trees. They cover it, which is excellent. Summer can get very hot in Tokyo, and the branches provide welcome shade.

Inokashira Park jizo statue
A tiny jizo statue in the park.

There is also a huge pond. You can rent a boat to explore it or walk across it on one of the bridges. People and bird photographers gravitate to it.

On fine days, people do all sorts of things at Inokashira Park. They go for picnics; walk their dogs; paint, pray at the temple; ride those boats; go to one or two of its zoos, or even jog. It is a place made to enjoy. No wonder Tokyoites love it so much.

Other parks in the city have Edo-period ties.  They show Tokyo`s rich history and are cultural showpieces.  An example of those would be Kiyosumi Gardens.  Kiyosumi is amazing and on my highly recommended list.

A few are more modern, formal gardens.  They have flowers, tree-lined lanes, or manicured gardens. One of those is Shinjuku Gyoen.  But, Inokashira is different. People go there for fun and relaxation.

Anyway, can you see what I’m getting at? There is a lot to see and do. If you are a photographer, it is a great place. You won’t regret it.

A brief history of Inokashira Park

  • When Ieyasu Tokugawa came to Edo, his castle didn’t have a suitable source of freshwater.  He tasked his son,  Hidetada, with finding it.  Inokashira Pond had what they needed.  And to carry it, he built a new river, the Kanda.  Today, you can still see where the river and the park join.
  • In the Meiji period, the city bought the land. It put control under the Ministry of the Imperial Household’s control. But it passed back in 1913. 
  • In 1917, the name changed to Inokashira Onshi Kōen (Inokashira Imperial Grant Park).

Why do photographers like Inokashira Park?

My list includes:

  • Buskers
  • Flowers (2022 cherry blossoms pics here)
  • the pond
  • Jizo statues in the park
  • Paddle and rowboat
  • Sunrises and sunsets over the pond can be stunning
  • Temple of Benzaiten
  • Wildlife (especially birds)
  • Zoo
Inokashira Park Swan Boats dawn
Dawn on the pond.

When is the best time to photograph there?

With so much to photograph, there are so many answers.  Here are a few ideas:

  • Spring for cherry blossoms
  • Summer for hydrangeas
  • Autumn for beautiful leaves
  • Dawn and late afternoon for bird photography

What else is in the area to visit?

Inokashira Park Benzaiten Shrine and lantern
Benzaiten Shrine.

Inokashira Park details

See the park’s opening hours and location on the official website.

The unusual vending machine

Not photo-related, but you can find a new culinary experience there.  You just need to find the unusual vending machine.  It sells bread, canned grasshoppers, and bee larvae!!  I’m warning you though because if you find them, they will be expensive!!

Wrapping Up

Inokashira Park is a great place for photographers.  And once you are finished, the area around Kichijoji station is fun to explore.  You could spend a whole day there.

And if you don’t know, the temple in the park is dedicated to the goddess Benzaiten.  Rumor says she is a jealous deity and cursed the pond’s swan boats.  Any couple that rides them is bound to break up.  I don’t believe in that type of thing, but many people do.  Who knows, it might be true.

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