FUTAKO-TAMAGAWA:Nature in the City

Not only are Tama River environs surrounded by rich nature but rooftops also host gardens of greenery and water.
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  • Yuta Mukaiyama
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Riverside Pleasures & Rich Environment

  • If you love nature as well as big-city bustle,then Futako-Tamagawa is the place for you.Located southwest of Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward, Nikotama—the friendly moniker used by locals—has gentle rolling hills to the north and Tama River in the south. The town offers abundant greenery and natural settings, its varied attractions easily reached just 20 minutes by train from Shibuya Station.
  • Weekday mornings see joggers and cyclists move to and fro along the riverbanks, while families and friends come on weekends and holidays for various get-togethers or leisurely strolls.
  • Tama River, also known as Tamagawa and designated Class A by the government, runs for 138 kilometers, coursing through Yamanashi Prefecture, Tokyo, and Kanagawa Prefecture before emptying into Tokyo Bay. Its lower reaches form a boundary between Tokyo and Kanagawa prefectures, and Futako-Tamagawa adjoins the Tokyo side of the boundary. Though Tama River crosses the metropolitan region, most of its banks are untouched by reinforced concrete, so the rich natural environment of wildflowers, grasses, and birds remains alive and well. The river also serves as an important water source for Tokyo residents.
  • In addition to Tamagawa and its banks, the Futako-Tamagawa environs have areas of untouched natural beauty seldom found in large cities. Places like Todoroki Valley and Kinuta Park host freshwater fish, including koi carp and catfish, birds, ducks, egrets, and other fauna. Children run and play in the park and on the grassy riverbanks, and people fish from favored spots around Hyogo Bridge, which spans the Nogawa, a Tama River tributary. Spring, summer, and autumn are the seasons for barbecues, picnics, and all kinds of parties along the banks of the river. In fact, a famed and beloved autumn event of Tama River is the Tamagawa Fireworks Festival. Some 6,000 fireworks are launched from the Futako-Tamagawa Ryokuchi Undojo (Sports Ground), lighting up the night sky in vivid colors.

  • A recent urban redevelopment project centered on the area east of Futako-Tamagawa Station, and Futako-Tamagawa Rise Shopping Center opened for business in 2015. This large commercial facility includes a roof garden that re-creates Tama River as it flows from its source to its main course, the tableland bluffs of Kokubunji, and the fluvial terrace of Musashino Plateau. In the garden’s Medaka Pond are small Japanese rice fish (medaka), butterflies, dragonflies, and various birds: another fine place to sunbathe or stroll while watching the distant flow of the Tama River.
  • The shopping center’s central plaza has tables and chairs that accommodate lunchtime workers from nearby offices and residents. East of the shopping center is a cluster of high-rises and office buildings, among which are the headquarters of Rakuten and the Futakotamagawa Excel Hotel Tokyu. Further east, there is the large Futako-Tamagawa Park and Kishinen. The latter is a raditional Japanese strolling garden themed on the natural environment and culture of the area from Tama River’s source to Futako-Tamagawa Town. A graceful garden feature is a re-created traditional Japanese house.