Hanayashiki - Asakusa's Beloved Tiny Amusement Park

Asakusa is an old part of Tokyo. In a city that changes quickly and often, it is not surprising to read about the many changes that have happened in this area. Asakusa was a major entertainment district filled with theaters and restaurants. While many of the theaters disappeared, the small amusement park Hanayashiki survived. It has celebrated its 160th anniversary. It is tiny and old-fashioned and small children and adults love it.

Hanayashiki is one of the places in Asakusa that seem to be more popular with Japanese visitors. Maybe it is because some of them have their own childhood memories here. I have been reading “My Asakusa: Coming of Age in Pre-War Tokyo”, a memoir by Japanese actress Sadako Sawamura. It is a collection of scenes from her childhood. Born in 1908, she describes memories from when she was a small child, making her stories about 100 years old. Scenes from different festivals at Senso-ji temple still show many similarities to today. Others like the Kabuki scene seem to have changed quite a lot. Still many things are essentially the same. The approach to Hanayashiki and the joy children can experience are still here today.

This is the beginning of the chapter “The District Around the Hanayashiki”: “On the right side of the road leading to Rokku [an administrative unit comparable to a ward] from the Kannon Hall of the Senso-ji temple is the Hanayashiki [the flower estate], facing the site of the former Gourd Pond. Much earlier, as I heard the old people say, it was a beautiful garden for admiring flowers in each season, and tanka and haiku poets held meetings there. Later, the garden became an amusement park for children, because, as I was told, the increasing number of movie houses and theaters eventually turned the adjacent Rokku into an amusement quarters. The Hanayashiki could no longer be maintained as a garden for people of refined taste. Now it is a lively amusement park with a variety of rides. In my days it was also, in its way, a good place for amusement.”

Hanayashiki has changed, but still continues to create sweet memories for its visitors. When Sawamura was a child, a puppet theater was one of the attractions here. Now actors in ninja and superhero costumes perform stories and fairy tales for children. There is a very small ferris wheel and a merry-go-round. Several slow rides and a roller coaster weave around the park and every corner and building is filled flowers, statues, pictures, and games. When you climb the stairs up to the roof, you will find a small terrace overlooking Hanayashiki. It is a great spot for taking pictures and you can see Senso-ji temple’s pagoda, the golden Asahi Breweries building near Sumida river and Tokyo Skytree from here.

If you come to Asakusa, at least walk along the Hanayashiki-entertainment-dori street that runs along one side of the park from near the Main Hall of Senso-ji temple. It is a fun street and you can take a look inside through the gates.

About Hanayashiki today: See the map for this tiny place and admission fees on the English page. It also has some old pictures. On the Japanese site you will find more detailed information about upcoming performances and special events. On most days the park is open from 10:00 to 18:00. In the evening Hanayashiki can be rented out for exclusive use. http://hanayashiki.net/e

David image



David's other advice

Tokyo walks: Kuramae images

Tokyo walks: Kuramae

Come to Kuramae if you like craftsmanship and things that are made well, things made by hand. And come if you like quality coffee, tea, and chocolate. This is a small neighborhood. It is resident…

Tokyo walks: Asakusa to Kuramae images

Tokyo walks: Asakusa to Kuramae

Walking is a great way to explore Tokyo. Go for a walk and keep your eyes open. Start your walk in Asakusa at the famous red Kaminarimon Gate that marks the entrance to Senso-ji Temple. If you ha…

Quiet Retreat at the Seaside in Setouchi images

Quiet Retreat at the Seaside in Setouchi

Setonaikai is the Japanese Inland Sea and Setouchi City in Okayama Prefecture faces this beautiful part of the coast in West Japan. When you visit Hiroshima or Himeji Castle, extend your trip and spe…

Beautiful Places to Visit in Japan images

Beautiful Places to Visit in Japan

TripAdvisor published a list of 20 beautiful spots to visit in Japan that are not so well known yet. Let this list inspire you when you plan your next trip - there are islands, forests, temples, and …

Mt Fuji Views from Enoshima Island near Kamakura images

Mt Fuji Views from Enoshima Island near Kamakura

Enoshima island is a fun destination for a day trip from Tokyo anytime of the year. You can see the island and its lighthouse from Kamakura further along the Shonan coast.The lighthouse is called…

Fuji Ramen - Fresh Noodles in Tonkotsu Soup images

Fuji Ramen - Fresh Noodles in Tonkotsu Soup

Fuji Ramen in Asakusa serves tasty ramen in tsukemen with tonkotsu base soup and noodles made fresh at the shop.This shop is special because it makes its own noodles. You can see the small worksh…

You might also like

Kintsuba - Japanese Sweets in Asakusa images

Kintsuba - Japanese Sweets in Asakusa

Kintsuba きんつば is one of the Japanese sweets that I like because you can watch them being made. This photo is from a small shop in Asakusa located in the Nakamise-dori shopping street at Senso-ji …

David image


Omikuji - Take Only Good Luck With You images

Omikuji - Take Only Good Luck With You

Omikuji - おみくじ - are fortune papers from temples and shrines that offer advice for your health, career, and good luck in general. There are positive ones - marked kichi 吉 - and negative ones - m…

David image


Kaminari-okoshi: Asakusa Thunder Crackers images

Kaminari-okoshi: Asakusa Thunder Crackers

Kaminari-okoshi (雷おこし) are traditional Japanese sweets. Crispy rice is mixed with sugar and syrup, pressed down into a flat shape and cut into squares. Often there are some peanuts mixed into it,…

David image


Salt is Sacred in Japan; You will see it often images

Salt is Sacred in Japan; You will see it often

Have you noticed a little mound of salt at the entrance of a restaurant during your visits to Japan?Salt was always a very important part of the Japanese diet and the ancient salt fields you see …


Ningyo-yaki: Little Baked Doll Cakes images

Ningyo-yaki: Little Baked Doll Cakes

Ningyo-yaki (人形焼) is very popular in Tokyo Asakusa where you can watch them being baked. This is one of my favorite Japanese sweets and a very good omiyage gift. Ningyo is the Japanese word …

David image


Preserved alpha rice images

Preserved alpha rice

Have you ever heard of preserved alpha rice? It is packed in pouch and very useful for disaster cases. Even without gas or electricity, it can be cooked with hot water or water! We joined the chi…

EmiOnishi image