Although we live in a big city with a relatively high population density, we have ample opportunity to go outside and play. The reason? We live in the land of parks. Allow me to elaborate. In Japan there are prefectures, which contain cities. Cities are broken up into districts and towns, which are further divided into communities and sub communities. Every level has a group of officials who organize their area. Part of this organization includes the building of parks. So every prefecture builds prefectural parks, every city builds municipal parks, and so on. The result is a huge amount of parks, of a variety of sizes. From my home, there are 8 small parks within 5 minutes on foot. These are either built by local communities, usually adjacent to the community centre, or built as part of a major development, such as an apartment complex or housing subdivision. If we expand the range to 10 minutes on foot, the number of parks jumps to over 30, including 1 large municipal park, located on an ancient keyhole burial mound site. If we expand again to 10 minutes by car, we can access literally hundreds of small parks, a dozen municipal parks and a huge prefectural park. When raising children this abundance of parks, green open small with safe play area, is very welcome. In fact, it is a pleasure to go park hunting or on a park tour with my kids: these are my newest hobbies!
Edward, Smith’s School of English Otsu