Things To Do

Nishihirabatake Park: Enjoy Family-Friendly Activities, Including Sakura-Viewing On A Slide

Nishihirabatake Park guide

It’s never easy planning a family trip as interests can differ between members. But with a variety of family-friendly activities such as herbarium-making and sakura-viewing on a slide, Nishihirabatake Park promises each person an equally fun and exciting experience to remember.

1. Matsudayama Herb Garden

Nemophila (blue) and rape blossoms (yellow).
Image credit: @reeeei01_cieluva via Instagram

Spanning 3,667sqm within Nishihirabatake Park, Matsudayama Herb Garden (松田山ハーブガーデン) contains a variety of herbs and flowers, including nemophila and rape blossoms. 

Visitors can enjoy the floral landscape along a stairwell, at the end of which lies the Herb Building. The white 3-storey building contains a herb shop on the 1st floor, an experiential centre on the 2nd floor, and a restaurant on the 3rd floor. 

Image adapted from: @ikorin_107  via Instagram, @19340708 via Twitter

The herb shop sells various products that use herbs and flowers as their main ingredients. For example, you can get sakura jam during the spring season.

Image credit: @lets_go_matsuda  ia Instagram

Head to the second floor to experience pop-up Matsudayama Herb Garden events which include workshops that let you use herbs to make handicrafts.

Matsudayama Herb Garden experiential centre.
Image adapted from: @nisihirahat via Twitter

Past experiential events include making herbariums (¥2,000, ~USD14.98) and crafting wreaths out of herbs (¥500, ~USD3.75), where participants arrange dried plants in a cylindrical glass container. The experiential activities are great for bonding activities you can do with friends and family. What’s more, you can pick up new knowledge about different kinds of herbs.

Image adapted from: @nisihirahat, @nisihirahat via Twitter

After that, recharge with a meal at their restaurant, which serves dishes such as herbal curry (¥800, ~USD5.99) and herbal omelette rice (¥900, ~USD6.74)

Image credit: @nisihirahat via Twitter

Cap off your Matsudayama Herb Garden experience at Nishihirabatake Park with an unparalleled view of Mount Fuji.

Image credit: @kujiragumo_1234 via Instagram

Do note that both the experiential centre and restaurant are only open during the annual cherry blossom festival, which is typically held between February and March.

Herb Building
Address: 2951 Matsudasoryo, Matsuda, Ashigarakami District, 258-0003 Kanagawa
Opening hours: Fri-Sun 10am-4pm (Closed on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays) (Mar-Oct) | Wed-Sun 9am-4pm (Closed on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays) (Nov-Feb)
Contact: 0465-85-1177

Herb Building restaurant
Address: 2951 Matsudasoryo, Matsuda, Ashigarakami District, 258-0003 Kanagawa
Opening hours: Fri-Sun 11am-3.30pm (Last order at 3pm) (Closed on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays)
Contact: 0465-85-1177

2. Matsuda Sky Swing

Image credit: @nisihirahat via Twitter

Situated nearby the Matsudayama Herb Garden, the Matsuda Sky Swing (松田スカイスウィング) gives visitors a clear view of Mt. Fuji from a swing. The swing also makes for a unique photo opportunity with the iconic snow-capped mountain in the background.

Address: 2951 Matsudasoryo, Matsuda, Ashigarakami District, 258-0003 Kanagawa

3. Sun Slide

Image credit: @maikudaily via Instagram

Similar to the Matsuda Sky Swing, the Sun Slide (太陽のすべり台) in Nishihirabatake Park enables you to sightsee in an unconventional manner. While hanami (花見; cherry blossom viewing) is usually done while strolling or having a picnic, visitors of Nishihirabatake Park get to slide their way through a canopy of cherry blossoms.

Image adapted from: @riharu.12 via Instagram

Bring a friend or family member along on the ride to make the unique experience all the more memorable.

4. Furusato miniature train

Shay steam locomotive.
Image credit: asobii

Another family-oriented activity within Nishihirabatake Park is the Furusato miniature train (ふるさと鉄道), which offers manually operated rides on trains one-sixth their usual operational sizes.

There are a total of 3 different trains to choose from – the black Shay steam locomotive, the red and white Romance Car, and the yellow Rocket. The trains run along a 1.1km route around Nishihirabatake Park, with a round trip taking approximately 20 minutes. 

Romance Car and Rocket.
Image adapted from: @reikoma2, @kazuo_yama via Instagram

Available for both adults and children, the Furusato miniature train ride is a great way to indulge in Nishihirabatake Park’s picturesque view while resting your feet.

Admission: ¥300 (~USD2.25) for middle school students, ¥200 (~USD1.50) for elementary school students, free for children below the age of 3
Address: 2951 Matsudasoryo, Matsuda, Ashigarakami District, 258-0003 Kanagawa
Opening hours: Sat-Sun & Public holidays 10am-3.35pm (Feb-Dec)

5. Nature Hall

Image credit: @miyukimizukawa via Instagram

As the name suggests, Nature Hall (自然館) is a place that facilitates hands-on interactions with nature throughout the different seasons. These interactions include foraging for edible wild plants in spring and gathering a variety of insects to study in summer. Check out the Nature Hall events website for an updated list of events to look forward to.

Outside the Nature Hall, closely observe your surroundings to spot a variety of wild birds on nearby trees.

Image adapted from: @kaz.kouchan, @yochan0313 via Instagram

Address: 2951 Matsudasoryo, Matsuda, Ashigarakami District, 258-0003 Kanagawa
Opening hours: Fri-Sun 9.30am-4pm (Closed on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, & Thursdays) (Group reservations are available on Wednesdays & Thursdays)
Contact: 8085-73-8023

6. Children’s Hall

Karakuri dolls and origami.
Image credit: Nishihira Park

With ceiling decorated with origami, the Children’s Hall (子どもの館) contains numerous karakuri (絡繰り; mechanised) dolls on display for kids to play with. These mechanised dolls are able to move by themselves and have a wide range of purposes, from serving guests tea to starring in puppet shows. 

Image credit:
@nisihirahat via Instagram

Occasionally, the hall organises cultural events catered for children, such as music classes where traditional Japanese musical instruments are taught. If you’re interested to keep tabs on upcoming events, visit the Children’s Hall events website.

Address: 2951 Matsudasoryo, Matsuda, Ashigarakami District, 258-0003 Kanagawa
Opening hours: Fri-Sun 9.30am-4pm (Closed on Mondays to Thursdays) (Group reservations are available on Wednesdays and Thursdays)
Contact: 0465-82-9869

7. Matsuda Kirakira Illumination Festival

Image credit: megyun via ameblo

Every year from late November to late December, the Matsuda Kirakira Illumination Festival (松田きらきらフェスタ), where 180,000 coloured LED lights cover Nishihirabatake Park, is held. Kirakira (きらきら) is the Japanese onomatopoeia for sparkling, and it describes Nishihirabatake Park’s gorgeous appearance after sunset.

As the Matsuda Kirakira Illumination Festival is usually held near Christmas, the LED lights are decorated to match the festive theme. Scattered throughout the park are illuminated statues of reindeers, Santa Claus, and Christmas trees and more.

Image adapted from: megyun via ameblo

While admission to the illumination festival is free, do note that a ¥500 (~USD3.75) parking fee is payable for visitors commuting by car.

Address: 2951 Matsudasoryo, Matsuda, Ashigarakami District, 258-0003 Kanagawa
Contact: 0465-85-3130

Getting to Nishihirabatake Park

Image credit: @KanagawaPref_PR via Twitter

Offering a wide variety of age-inclusive activities, Nishihirabatake Park is a viable option for family and friend gatherings alike. For a more smooth-sailing tour around the park, here’s the Nishihirabatake Park interior visual map and the Nishihirabatake Park interior interactive map

Nishihirabatake Park is a 25-minute walk from Shin Matsuda Station. 

Here’s a video on how to get there:

Video credit: Matsuda Navi via YouTube

Alternatively, access the park via a 20-minute walk from JR Matsuda Station. 

Address: 2951 Matsudasoryo, Matsuda, Ashigarakami District, 258-0003 Kanagawa
Opening hours: Wed-Sun 9am-5pm (Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays) (Mar-Oct) | Wed-Sun 9am-4pm (Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays) (Nov-Feb)
Contact: 0465-83-1228 

For more flower-viewing experience in Japan, consider paying a visit to Kawachi Wisteria Garden in Fukuoka, Goryokaku Park in Hakodate, or Mother Farm in Chiba. Look out for these 12 types of cherry blossoms and cherry blossom spots in Tokyo next spring.

Cover image adapted from:, @riharu.12, @reeeei01_cieluva

Eunice Ng

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