Mukogaoka Yuen Station is a train station in Tama Ward of Kawasaki, Kanagawa. This station, which consists of two island platforms and four tracks, is served by Odakyu Electric Railway’s Odawara Line.
Ikuta Park is situated about 15 minutes walk from Mukogaoka Yuen Station. This park is the largest expanse of greenery in the city of Kawasaki, as well as one of the largest centers of attraction. Situated on the gently rolling Tama Hills, it is surrounded by natural woods of kunugi and conola oaks and cherry trees. There are gardens within the park – Iris Garden with over 1,200 iris flowers, and Citizens’ Flower Garden with hydrangeas, camellias, and azaleas.
There are various other places of interest within Ikuta Park. These are:
Nihon Minka-en (Japan Open-Air Folk Museum)
Operated by the City of Kawasaki, the Japan Open Air Folk Museum is one of Japan’s most interesting museums. This is an open air museum of houses – 25 traditional houses (minka) from different parts of Japan. These houses, which range from 200 to 300 years old, are spread out on a beautiful forested hillside. All the houses include furnishings and tools to give glimpses of lifestyles of the people who inhabited them. Visitors are allowed to wander through them with guides who give details of the history of the houses.
Seven of these houses have been officially designated National Important Cultural Properties, ten Prefectural Important Cultural Properties, and seven Municipal Important Cultural Properties.
Kawasaki Municipal Science Museum for Youth
This museum, also located in Ikuta Park, gives an overview of the place. There is a permanent exhibition of all the special features of the park, besides which, several other temporary exhibitions are also held from time to time. Science classes are also held for children and their parents to get hands on experience and inspire interest in science. Nature walks are organized in the woody areas of Ikuta Park to acquaint visitors with plants and trees. But the main attraction of the Municipal Science Museum for Youth is its Planetarium. The special feature of the planetarium is its 4.1 million star projector, MEGASTAR II Phoenix, developed and produced by Mr. Takayuki Ohira, a Kawasaki resident. With this powerful projector, the Milky Way can be seen very clearly. With other projectors, the Milky Way appears only as a wisp of cloud.
Taro Okamoto Museum of Art
Taro Okamoto Museum of Art is an art museum that collects and exhibits works of art donated by Taro Okamoto, an artist from Kawasaki. Exhibits also include works by his parents and other artist friends. Lectures and workshops are also held at the museum to encourage creative activities of the citizens.
This beautiful garden, enclosed in a 1.2 hectare compound in Ikuta Park, has a large variety of magnificent and some rare roses. It is open to the public only in the blooming seasons of spring and autumn.