Hanayashiki is the oldest amusement park in Japan and dates back to 1853 when it first opened as a botanical garden. The name “Hanayashiki” actually means “public flower garden” and there is still a small garden area with a pond and ornamental bridge on the grounds.
Today however the park operates mainly as an old-fashioned fairground and boasts Japan’s oldest working roller coaster which has been running since 1953. Covering just 5,800 square meters, Hanayashiki can’t compete with Disneyland, but in its own small way it offers vintage thrills and retro attractions at a much cheaper price.
Hanayashiki is small, but manages to pack a lot of rides and attractions into its limited space. There is a small Ferris Wheel, a roller coaster, a drop tower called the “Space Shot”, a “hidden fortress” maze, a merry-go-round, a number of haunted houses, some gentler rides for smaller children, and a 3-D theater. If you are interested in the park’s history, special “Telepathy Walker” headsets are available which you can use to take a 20 minute tour and see the park as it used to be.
Hanayashiki’s mascot is the free-ranging “panda car” which you will find all over the park. These are giant stuffed pandas that you can ride around the grounds. Other attractions include old fashioned shooting galleries, an amusement arcade, fortune tellers, and souvenir shops. For full details of all the attractions download the official Hanayashiki Park Map.
Ninja, Kimono, & Tea Experiences
Maruhana Ninja Shop on Hanayashiki Street sells a lot of ninja related merchandise and also operates a training dojo where you can enjoy a 45 minute ninja training experience. The “Ninja Challenge” includes lessons in swordplay, escape techniques, and shuriken blade throwing. The full price is 2000 yen and includes a free ninja headband as a takeaway gift. Because the shop’s entrance is outside the amusement park, you don’t have to enter the park to take part in this experience. For the Ninja Challenge schedule and booking details visit the official Hanayashiki Ninja Challenge webpage.
Panda Café Chanoka offers traditional tea ceremony and kimono wearing experiences on its 2nd floor. This experience can also be enjoyed without entering the park as the café is located across from the park’s Asakusa Gate. For details and to make bookings check the official “Nadeshiko” webpage.
Hanayashiki has a number of dining facilities serving tempura, ramen noodles, monjayaki (savory pancakes), kushiyaki (kebabs), takoyaki (baked octopus dumplings), hot dogs, popcorn, crepes, and gelato ice cream. There is also a roofed barbecue garden which is in operation all year round (except for the New Year holidays) rain or shine.
Hanayashiki is located on the west side of Sensoji Temple and is just a three main walk from the temple’s main hall. The amusement park is also convenient for local transport being just a 6 minute walk away from TX Asakusa Station, and a 10 minute walk from the Tobu, Toei, and Tokyo Metro Asakusa stations.
Entrance fees are as follows:
From 13 to 64 years old: 1,000yen
From 7 to 12 years old: 500yen
Over 65 years old: 500yen
Physically disabled: Free
Entrance fees do not include the cost of the rides. Each ride costs just 100 yen or you can invest in a free pass for unlimited rides. Free ride passes are priced as follows:
From 13 to 64 years old: 2,300yen
From 7 to 12 years old: 2,000yen
Over 65 years old: 1,800yen
6 years and under: 1,800yen
Please note that free ride passes are charged separately from the entrance fee.
Article by Michael Lambe. Photos by Michael Lambe (1), prettyworld/PIXTA (2), gakuhit/PIXTA (3), tabibito/PIXTA (4). All rights reserved.