Honmoku Sancho Park is a massive oasis of flora and quiet located in western Naka-ku. Comprised of several connecting hilltops with a plethora of trees and grassy lawns, the park explodes with colour in the spring. It’s a perfect place, if not one of the best, to enjoy the sights and sounds of Hanami (cherry blossom viewing) celebrations.
Because of the park’s unsual geographic layout, there are hidden pockets and groves all over where few visitors ever stroll. I recommend spending a couple of hours exploring the many corners. You could scout out your ideal spot for a semi-private hanami picnic, unless of course you prefer being closer to other revelers for a more raucous party. In some of the more central parts of the park, extremely old and gnarled rows of cherry trees are the main attraction. The park has dozens of nice picnic tables and benches, too, so if any are available you can enjoy hanami off the ground.
Even when the cherry trees aren’t in bloom, the park is a great place to visit – one of the most underrated parks in Yokohama, in my opinion. There are many wide sidewalks and paved areas for strollers and wheelchair access. In the morning, dozens of joggers and walks take advantage of the expansive area for exercise. And because of all the greenery and its proximity to the bay, it generally stays rather cool and breezy in the summer. From various parts of the park you have some impressive views of the city.
There are many open entrances to the park; some are large and obvious, others are hidden stairs into quaint, surrounding neighborhoods. If you are driving, you can use the parking lot behind Mycal in Honmoku. Two grocery stores there enable you to pick up items for a picnic. Yamate is the closest station, and the walk up the hill would only take about 15 or 20 minutes. Buses from Ishikawacho run out to Honmoku, which I recommend because the main avenue is beautifully lined with old cherry trees. From there, take the entrance that runs up behind Honmoku Shrine.
The park is dog friendly, though users are supposed to keep their pets on a leash. There are also several bathroom facilities. Bicycles are prohibited. Best of all, the park is free!