Home » The best photographer’s guide to Inokashira Park

The best photographer’s guide to Inokashira Park

One of the most popular places in Tokyo on weekends is Inokashira Park. Photographers love it.  Every season 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!

Inokashira pond cloudy dawn with swan boats

One thing most noticeable about the park is the trees.  Tees cover it, which is excellent. Summer can get very hot in Tokyo, and the branches provide welcome shade. There is also a huge pond. You can rent a boat to explore it or walk across it on one of the bridges. If you are hungry but have food, visit one of the kiosks or restaurants. 

rowboats and cherry blossoms on Inokashira Park pond
Rowboats and cherry blossoms on Inokashira Park’s pond in spring.

On fine days people do all sorts of things there. 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 a great place, and it is one of my favorite places in the city.

woman walking dog in Inokashira park under autumn leaves
Early morning autumn walk.

A few are more modern, formal gardens.  People go to those to enjoy flowers, tree-lined lanes, or manicured gardens. One of those is Shinjuku Gyoen.  But, Inokashira is different. It’s a park for everyone to have fun and relax.

tiny jizo statue at Inokashira park

The best thing might be the seasons. Each brings something different. In spring, huge crowds go to see the cherry blossoms. Autumn has Koyo (the changing colors of the leaves). Summer brings out the green in the park, and people come to enjoy the shade and get a break from the season’s heat. Winter is when the trees lose their leaves, and many couples enjoy romantic walks around the pond. And this isn’t even a complete list!

rowboats and apartment building at Inokashira park

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 to go. You won’t regret it.

purple and green hydrangea
Summer is hydrangea season.

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. But it passed back in 1913. 
  • In 1917, the name changed to Inokashira Onshi Kōen (Inokashira Imperial Grant Park).
Inokashira Park pond and temple of Benzaiten

Why do photographers like it?

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 pond rowboats on pond at dawn

Where is Inokashira Park?

The park is near popular Kichijoji.  It is about a fifteen-minute train ride from Shinjuku.  Two stations are nearby:

  1. Kichijoji, which has the Chuo, Keio-Inokashira, Sobu, and Inokashira lines;

2. Inokashira-Koen, which is served by the Keio-Inokashira line.

Here is a map:

Opening hours

It never closes, but hanami parties need to shutdown down by 10 pm.

Admission costs

Nil

Inokashira Pond bridge

What else is in the area to visit?

  • Asagaya Shinmeigu (a shrine, a short train ride away)
  • Ghibli Museum
  • Kichijoji (lots of shops, restaurants, etc.)
  • Nogawa Park
  • Shinjuku and Shibuya, by train, are near too.

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 larva!!  I’m warning you though because if you find them, they are 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.

sunrise over swan boats at Inokashira pond

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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