Expo ’70 Commemorative Park
At the site of Asia's first world fair is a world-class park set in the future.
The Expo ‘70 Commemorative Park in Suita, Osaka rests on the former site of the 1970 Osaka World Exposition, the first world’s fair held in Asia. The area was once covered in rice fields and bamboo forests that had to be destroyed for the exposition. After Expo ‘70 was finished, the pavilions were broken down and the park was built where they once stood. Today it is an expansive park featuring multiple landscaped gardens, well-manicured walking trails, and two museums.
About 50 minutes by train from Umeda center, the park stretches grandly over 264 hectares. It’s truly a getaway from city life – walk far enough into the park and you’ll feel you’ve escaped to the distant countryside. Like most things in Japan, it is meticulously planned out and very user-friendly: maps detailing the areas of the park are always close at hand.
The Natural and Cultural gardens is an area of 98 hectares with about 470,000 trees. An expanse of forest has nature trails of different length. Depending on how you feel, you can walk 3, 5, or 8 kilometers. The trails are quiet and serene even in the middle of a busy weekend. After a long walk, you can stop by the forest footbath to soak your tired feet.
There’s a sorado (aerial promenade), a 300-meter long boardwalk built as high as the tree canopy so you can inspect the leaves at eye-level. This is especially nice in the fall when the trees in the “Maple Valley” section of the park are at their peak. Nearby you can find the flower gardens, which features different flowers throughout the year, like sunflowers in the summer and cosmos in the fall.
Don’t miss the Japanese garden, which is unique in that it features four different types of traditional garden, one from each major era of Japan: the Heian Period, the Kamakura and the Muromachi Period, the Edo Period, and a modern interpretation. There’s also Dream Pond, featuring fountains by Japanese artist Isamu Noguchi and swan-shaped paddle boats.
You can find two museums at Expo Park. The National Museum of Ethnology, one of Japan’s major museums and research institutes, features displays on the world’s ethnic groups and their specific cultures and histories. The Japan Folk Crafts Museum holds bi-annual exhibits featuring foreign and domestic crafts of various materials including textiles, ceramics, and woodwork.
The park features the famous modern sculpture The Tower of the Sun at its entrance.