On the outskirts of Osaka, tucked away from the city’s concrete commercial sprawl, stretches a pristine park covered in all the colors available in nature. Tsurumiryokuchi contains one of the largest greenhouses in the world, an international botanical garden that leads through miniature imitation landscapes of dozens of different countries, a Japanese tea house, a lake, and many recreational facilities within the massive grounds. Take a day to get to know this magical place many Osaka natives don’t even know about.
Tsurumiryokuchi Park, short for Tsurumiryokuchi Expo ’90 Commemorative Park, is located at the site of the 1990 International Garden and Greenery Exposition, a celebration of flowers. Since the event, the park has acted as a memorial site, featuring such a wide array of blooms that visitors can enjoy scores of beautiful flower species at any time of year. Today, this sprawling park offers a respite from the exciting but hectic city life by providing a convenient natural setting to enjoy activities like sports, barbecuing, or simply relaxing.
The park is almost 300 acres (120 ha) in size and features so much to do that visitors could easily spend a day wandering the grounds (if not more). Centered around a large pond filled with ducks and other wildlife (the park is home to hundreds of types of birds, insects, and other living creatures), there is much to see and do in every direction. Tennis courts, a dog park, bathhouse, wedding reception hall, campsite, children’s playground, swimming pool, and a fitness center are just some of what the massive space has to offer.
As wonderful as the facilities are, the main draw of the park is nature. There is the “Big Lawn,” a stretch of green about the size of four Koshien Stadiums, the home Osaka’s beloved baseball team. This wide green space is perfect for picnicking or viewing the park’s zelkova trees.
One of Japan and the world’s largest greenhouses, the tall glass-covered Sakuya Konohana Kan, dominates the southern end of the park. This large flower pavilion is one of the few in the world that houses plants in climate-controlled areas that recreate their native homes. There is a section for plants native to dry arid areas as well as greenery from hot humid places. Over 15,000 plants are grown in the conservatory.
The “Mountain Area” is home to a large windmill, a famous symbol of the park, as well as the International Garden. This garden features many micro-gardens modeled from diverse countries from around the world. Walk through Mexico, Iran, Spain, and Indonesia all in one day. There is also a large Japanese garden as well as a traditional tea room.
During hanami season, when people partake in picnics under the blossoming cherry trees almost daily, this is a perfect flower-viewing spot. Though beautiful in any season, the chance to visit the park while the cherry blossoms are in bloom is an unforgettable experience.
Tsurumi Ryokuchi park has two restaurants, Rest House Tsurumi, which has nice views of the garden, and Restaurant Mansou in Sakuya Konohana Kan. There is also a shop where you can buy drinks and ice cream as well as an on-site Lawson convenience store. If you’re having a barbecue and run out of booze or snacks, or if you’re camping and you need extra clothes or toiletries, you don’t even have to leave the park.
Take the Nagahori Tsurumi Ryokuchi Line (represented by a yellow-green color on maps) on the Osaka Metro to Tsurumi Ryokuchi Station. This line can be reached from Osaka Station by taking the JR Loop Line to Kyobashi Station and transferring. The park is right outside of the station.