Nature bliss just 30 minutes away
+ The good
- Beautiful, thick forests that make you forget how close you are to the city
- Two spectacular panoramic towers overlooking Tokyo
- Perfectly maintained, park level trails that anyone can tackle (kids included)
- Not even Takao-san can beat that level of accessibility
- Not crowded: the park is vast enough to give you hours of solitude, even on weekends
- A lot of variation: steep hills, large meadows, lazy rice paddies, thick forests, bamboo groves...
- A lot of options: how about going to the open air architecture museum? Or the Doreamon museum? Or the firefly grove? Or the modern art museum? Or a picnic? Or...
~ The bad
- While the 駅から山登り guide adds a coda towards the Rose garden, it's way less interesting than the main park, and forces you to walk for 20 minutes along a busy road. I'd skip it.
- Adjust your expectations: you are pretty much walking around one big hill, so there isn't that much to cover. Enjoy your time and explore in order to fill your day
- The southern tip of the park is somewhat isolated by golf ground in between. There is a bamboo grove after the rice paddies that can add about 30 minutes of walk, but you will then be forced to come back from where you came
- The ugly
- There used to be a large soba restaurant in the middle of the park, hosted inside a traditional straw-roofed building. Alas it will be closed until 2020...
It's possible to join this trail with that of Yomiuri for a single 14km trail. Expect a few "meh" bits in between, though