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Exploring Hanayashi, Japan’s oldest amusement park, solo

On my first solo trip to Tokyo, an amusement park was somewhere I decided to visit. First opened as a flower park in 1853, Hanayashiki is Japan’s oldest amusment park, how cool is that! Despite its age, Hanayashiki is a quaint, happy place full of saturated colors and the twinkling laughter of children’s glee. And it’s right smack at Asakusa, where you’ll definitely visit if you’re in Tokyo for the first time. Hanayashiki is this delightful place that almost seems to belong to a different world, awaiting your visit once you’re ready to leave the serenity of Asakusa Temple’s grounds behind.

Yes, it is just 3-5min walking distance from Senso-ji Temple!

The first thing that caught my eyes when I was walking over from Asakusa Temple was …

gingerbread houses at Hanayashiki Amusement Park, Tokyo


Gingerbread houses in the air? How cute! I quickly fastened my pace and hopped up to the entrance counter, bought my entrance ticket and stepped inside.

Hanayashiki Amusement Park

swan ride at Hanayashiki Amusement Park Tokyo

Hanayashiki is a small amusement park filled with all sorts of rides for children and teenagers. Everywhere I looked, there’re plenty of colors, Japanese families and kids, as well as the occasional teens in cosplay characters making full use of the grounds for photoshoots. Although 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 on my own.

free-falling ride for kids
free-falling rides for kids while the one for teenagers and young adults in the background

carousel details at Hanayashiki Amusement Park TokyoHanayashiki Amusement Park TokyoHanayashiki Amusement Park TokyoHanayashiki Amusement Park TokyoHanayashiki Amusement Park Tokyo

Hanayashiki Amusement Park Tokyo
Tokyo Skytree in the distance (photo on the left)

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 to Hanayashiki 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?Hanayashiki Amusement Park Tokyo

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 in the queue on my behalf while I go get my coupon.

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.

people in cosplay costumes having photoshoots at Hanayashiki Amusement Park Tokyo
people in cosplay costumes having photoshoots

flowers at Hanayashiki Amusement Park Tokyo

performance at Hanayashiki Amusement Park Tokyo

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.

What to know before heading to Hanayashiki Amusement Park

Is Hanayashiki a fun amusement park?
It’s not the kind of fun that you’ll expect from places like Universal Studios, or Disneyland.

Is Hanayashiki suitable for all ages?
I’ll say it suits the younger kids more, or perhaps teenage couples out on dates. Even the performances are catered towards the younger kids – performers in bright and colorful costumes and dramatic facial expressions. However, there were also a few rides like roller-coasters (not super high) or two free-falling rides for different age ranges.

Visited: Nov, 2012
Address: 2-28-1 Asakusa, Taitō, Tokyo 111-0032, Japan (within walking distance from Asakusa and Sensoji Temples)
Entrance charges:
Adults: 1000¥
Children (7-12 years old): 500¥
Elderly (>65 years old): 500¥
Different tickets are required for the rides, refer to website for details.

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