The Cherry Trees Walk Along the Railways
Sotobori Park is a wooded area located between Yotsuya and Iidabashi stations, in Chiyoda Ward in the center of Tokyo. It is particularly interesting in spring to enjoy the beautiful blooming of the sakura, the Japanese cherry trees. The site is also favored by train aficionados for its elevated and unobstructed view on the tracks of the Sobu and JR Chuo lines.
Sotobori Park begins in the surroundings of Yotsuya station, at the border of Akasaka district and extends over 2 kilometers, from Ichigaya station to Iidabashi station. Mostly in length, the park’s unique alley goes parallel to the Sobu and JR Chuo 2 lines’ rail tracks located below, and to part of the former Edo Outer Castle 🏯 Moat, that was converted into a waterway.
Leisure and sports facilities are available in this green space, such as:
- Tennis courts and a baseball field;
- An artificial fishing pond divided into several pools;
- A children playground; and,
- Many benches and tables for picnic.
At the end of the promenade, at the foot of Iidabashi station and at the doorstep of Kagurazaka district, the Canal Café welcomes on its a floating terrace for a gourmet and bucolic break in the heart of Tokyo, very pleasant on a sunny day.
Spring walk under the blooming sakura
The walk is really worth the detour in late March, when the sakura 🌸 start to bloom. It is a real pleasure to leisurely walk under the blooming cherry trees, whose long branches intertwine to form a vegetal tunnel of light pink color. Beside this specific time of the year, Sotobori Park is merely used as walking connection between two stations.
This pleasant walk is part of the way used by many employees, students and school children on to the place they belong to. Many of them take the opportunity of the blooming period to have lunch on the tables available for picnic. Other enjoy a running session or sitting on a bench in front of the canal to read under the sun.
In Sotobori Park, travelers get to enjoy the every days of Tokyo’s inhabitants, off the beaten tracks of the touristic sites of the capital.
Spot for Japanese trains amateurs in Tokyo
Below Sotobori Park, on the side of the former feudal moats, one can see the railways used by the trains serving Ichigaya and Iidabashi stations. A train passes about every 2 minutes, without its rumbling disturbing the quietness of the strollers:
- Red-orange cars on the JR Chuo Line,
- And/ or yellow wagons on the Chuo-Sobu Line.
The train traffic, especially when several trains run at the same time under the blooming cherry trees, offers a beautiful show and attracts the attention of Japanese trains 🚅 amateurs, commonly called densha otaku. Many of them come to Sotobori Park with their cameras 📷 equipped with a powerful zoom to shoot every train coming and going. They know the best spots: on a height between 2 cherry trees, or from one of the bridges that cross the tracks. It is quite pleasing to observe these train enthusiasts while their passion starts to spread to average visitors who imitate them, thus creating beautiful souvenir pictures.