On my first solo trip, an amusement park was somewhere I chose to visit. First opened as a flower park in 1853, Hanayashiki amusement park is also the oldest in Japan. A happy place filled with saturated colors and the twinkling laughter of children’s glee, Hanayashiki is this quaint, delightful place awaiting your visit once you’re ready to leave the serenity of Asakusa Temple’s grounds behind.
The first thing that caught my eyes as I was walking over from Asakusa Temple was …
Gingerbread houses in the air? How cute! I quickly fastened my pace and hopped up to the entrance counter, purchased an entrance ticket and made my way inside.
Hanayashiki Amusement Park
Hanayashiki is a small amusement park filled with all sorts of rides for children and teenagers. Everywhere I looked, there are plenty of colors, Japanese families and kids, as well as the occasional teens in cosplay characters making full use of the grounds for photoshoots. Despite the park being more than a century old, the place is extremely well-maintained. Hanayashiki isn’t huge, but within its grounds, the amusement park has managed to feature some twenty rides and attractions, including a “Haunted House”, which I had no guts to enter.
So I was a few levels up on a particular building in the park, just taking in the environment and enjoying the cooling breeze on my face. My original intention in coming toHanayashiki was just to take photographs. but these gingerbread houses right below were too cute. The houses will be spinning in a circle up the Bee Tower and soon be twirling merrily high up in the air. I have this thing about spinning up in mid-air. The more I looked, the more tempted I was. Should I go take a ride?
The problem was, I was alone.
And it kinda takes guts to go for a ride alone in an amusement park.
Finally, I bravely decided to join the queue. Halfway through queueing, I noticed that people were clutching these little coupons in their hands. So I asked this Japanese lady who was with her kid in front of me in the queue, and very coincidentally she could speak a bit of English! She explained that I’ll need to purchase ride coupons at the coupon counters in order to take the ride, and offered to hold the place on my behalf while I go get the coupon for myself.
I chickened out.
Just like that, I gave up the idea, thanked the Japanese lady, and left the queue. Sometimes, you have to follow the signs, or so I thought. Continued to wander around the park for a while.
After enough photos, I left Hanayashiki, contented with the memories of the amusement park’s old-school charm, visual treats of giant swan-rides and gingerbread houses, and the nolstagic feeling of life’s simple joys.