A trip to Todoroki Valley, Tokyo’s tucked-away green oasis

A trip to Todoroki Valley, Tokyo’s tucked-away green oasis

Tokyo has its share of immaculately manicured gardens and even has some spacious parks, but it’s hard to find a place of untended nature where you can escape the presence of other people.

One of the few such places is the Todoroki Valley Park (等々力渓谷公園, Todoroki Keikoku Koen), a small wooded valley that winds for about a kilometer along the Yazawa River, a tributary of the larger Tama River, which you’ll find at the end of the valley.

Photo: GEORGE LLOYD

Todoroki Station is just a 20-minute train ride from Shibuya, which makes it remarkably accessible. Walking down the valley to the Tama River only takes about 20 to 30 minutes, but it’s a delightful way to escape the city. There are bamboo groves and orange trees, verdant wild grass and sun-dappled pools of still water, all of which make the valley a lovely place for a picnic.

Photo: GEORGE LLOYD

From the station, it’s less than a hundred metres to the start of the valley walk at the Gorufo-bashi, or Golf Bridge, so called because it once carried a small road that led to a large golf course on the other side of the river.

The original wooden bridge was built in the early Showa era, but the current red steel bridge was built to replace it in 1961. The golf course was one of the first in Japan. It was built by the Tokyu Corporation, the company that still owns the bulk of the railway lines that carry commuters from southwestern Tokyo to Shibuya.

Photo: GEORGE LLOYD

The Todoroki Valley has several interesting characteristics to waylay visitors. The valley is on the southern edge of the Musashino Plateau, the flat land that lies between the Tama River in the south and the Arakawa River in the north.

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