Yoyogi Park

Orientation & Geography

Asia, Japan, Tokyo

Yoyogi Park (代々木公園, Yoyogi kōen) is one of the largest parks in Tokyo, Japan located adjacent to Harajuku Station and Meiji Shrine in Shibuya. What is now Yoyogi Park was the site of the first successful powered aircraft flight in Japan, on December 19, 1910, by Captain Yoshitoshi Tokugawa, after which it became an army parade ground. During the post World War II occupation, it was the site of the Washington Heights residence for U.S. officers. It was later the site for the main Olympic athletes village of the 1964 Summer Olympics and the swimming, diving, and basketball venues. The distinctive Yoyogi National Gymnasium which hosted swimming, diving, and basketball was designed by Kenzo Tange for the Olympics, and is still in use, but most of the area north of the gymnasium complex and south of Meiji Shrine was turned into a city park in 1967. Today, the park is a popular hangout, especially on Sundays, when it is used as a gathering place for people to play music, practice martial arts, etc. The park has a bike path, a public basketball court, and bicycle rentals are available. As a consequence of Japan's long recession, there are several large, but quiet and orderly, homeless camps around the park's periphery. The Tokyo bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics included a new arena to be built west of the Yoyogi National Gymnasium for volleyball. It would have replaced an existing soccer field and athletic field, and would have remained after the Olympics as a multiple use venue. Yoyogi Park has a fenced dog run, one of the few areas in Tokyo where dogs are allowed to be off leash. The dog run is located towards the western side of the park, inside the bicycle path, east of the parking lot at the western edge of the park. The ground is covered in wood chips, and the run is divided into three sections which are limited to dogs of different sizes (defined by weight) and contains a few benches. Only dog owners are permitted to enter this area.