You live in Tokyo and so you know all you ever need to know about life in the fast lane. But to savor the city at its most engagingly indolent, you take the trip out to Inokashira Park.
This spot in Kichijoji is a place to unwind, sip a few beers and watch the world go by. And a lot of the world here is refreshingly eccentric - people out taking their rabbits or prairie dogs for a walk on the leash. As for regular dogs, you could be forgiven for believing you are witness to the greatest concentration of silly-looking canines on the planet.
The park is very much a Sunday afternoon sort of place. You can grab a bite at the rickety-looking soba/udon eatery by the main bridge, where the same half-dozen regulars always seem to be seated, cradling glasses of One Cup. Or you can stroll to Iseya close by, the yakitori place that looks like it started business several emperors ago.
Inokashira Park is not the place for active pursuits, like frisbee or jogging. Leisurely rowing is as energetic as it gets, and you can spend half an hour happily splashing about in a boat on the pond. Or you can spend Y100 on a bag of hard bread for the privilege of feeding carp with the girth of tree trunks.
Here, you can listen to all the free music you could possibly need - from a cappella groups to washboard bands. Many people come here to practice their instruments, and by the sound of some they need all the practice they can get.
There is also a temple dedicated to the water-loving goddess Benten. With its stone-arched bridge, verdigris roofs and carmine walls, this temple on the water - like the park of its location - is a contender for being Tokyo's most charming.
by David Capel
This book will introduce you to more than twenty of Japan's favorite specialty foods that are less well known abroad, along with a guide to the best places in Tokyo to try them and expert tips on what to order. From our sister site Bento.com.