Photo By: Cara Lam
Region
Chubu
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Niigata
Population
2,475,724

Akasakayama Park

As you gaze into the intricate layers of trees, hold tight to your green tea. This park has way more in store than your average green space.

Surround yourself with natural bliss while sipping rich, foamy Japanese green tea at Akasakayama Park in Niigata Prefecture.

A post shared by nayani782 (@nayani782) on Nov 5, 2017 at 2:13am PST

This action-packed park is located in Kashiwazaki City, a coastal town famous for its mackerel sandwiches and water polo team. Thanks to its proximity to the Sea of Japan, the weather is mild and trees grow beautifully, making Akasakayama Park the icon of Kashiwazaki. The park is 1.5 kilometers west of the JR Kashiwazaki station and has a size of 13.7 hectares. The main grassy area is great for picnics and for children to run around, yet the Matsukumo Garden part is on a slope and has a pond — perfect for a half-hour tranquil stroll.

In spring, the park showcases the blooming of hundreds of cherry blossom trees; in autumn, the reddening of leaves align the slopes of the park and makes it a picture come alive.

Photo by: Cara Lam

In any other season (when trees are in a lush green or the whole place turns into a winter wonderland), you can relax at the City Museum located right inside of the park. There, exhibitions on the wildlife and mankind of Kashiwazaki, and even a planetarium are available daily except Mondays. On top of that, learn about the legends and history of Mt. Yoneyama — the divine mountain of the area!

Kimura Tea Ceremony Art Museum

In the heart of Akasakayama Park lies an important place for the appreciation of Japanese green tea. Kimura Kankoan established this museum in 1987 with a passion to showcase all the Japanese tea ceremony equipment that he collected in his lifetime.

The museum offers visitors a traditional tea ceremony experience that lasts for 30-40 minutes. All the paintings, flower arrangement and tea bowls of national treasure status in the museum are explained in detail in Japanese at the experience session.

This session comes with a tasting of Japanese sweets (wagashi) and green tea. However, the wagashi and rich green tea (though a bit bitter) have to be enjoyed following a strict set of etiquettes. Also, be prepared to be sitting seiza — or kneeling on the floor while resting your buttocks on the heels — for the entirety of the tea ceremony.

Don’t be too nervous, though, the antique teacup you’re holding may only cost a couple of million yen. 😜

🌟 This location is in Niigata Prefecture —  GaijinPot Travel’s No. 1 place to visit in 2018! 🥇

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Things To Know

Hours and Fees

Kimura Tea Ceremony Museum is open every day except Monday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It is also closed from December to March. To enjoy the rich green tea and Japanese sweet along a traditional ceremony at the museum, it costs  ¥1,000 for adults and  ¥700 for visitors up to 18 years of age.   

Language Support

The tea ceremony is carried out in Japanese. However, English pamphlets with detailed information on the history, steps, and tools of tea ceremony are provided.

How To Get There

Address

5-1 Akasakachō, Kashiwazaki-shi, Niigata-ken 945-0847, Japan

By train

Take the Shinetsu main line to JR Kashiwazaki station and walk for about 20 minutes. You can also take a 10-minute bus ride to the park.

By car

Take the Hokuriku Expressway and exit at Kashiwazaki or Yoneyama Interchange. From there, it takes another 15 minutes.

Where To Stay

Hotel New Green Kashiwazaki
  • Ekimae 1-3-8 Kashiwazaki-Shi, Niigata 945-0055
  • 7.4/10
  • 1.1 km
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Hotel AreaOne Banjinmisaki
  • Banjin 2-10-39 Kashiwazaki-Shi, Niigata 945-0853
  • 8.9/10
  • 1.6 km
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Hotel Route-Inn Court Kashiwazaki
  • Hiyoshi-cho 2-56 Kashiwazaki-Shi, Niigata 945-0043
  • 7.1/10
  • 2.6 km
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Farm Stay Ushidaya
  • Ōshima-ku Tamugi 1283 Joetsu-Shi, Niigata 942-1102
  • 9.5/10
  • 20.4 km
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