Shiroyama Park in Sano, Tochigi Prefecture
The astounding beauty of Shiroyama Park and its simple access for travelers are two of many reasons for a visit. Located in Sano, home of Japan’s most famous Ramen, Shiroyama Park is literally connected to the south exit of Sano station. The park is a very popular spot to view the Cherry Blossoms, but you’ll find enjoyment here all year round.
Take a right from the exit of either the Tobu or the JR line, walk up a few steps, and you will find yourself in Shiroyama park. From here you can move upwards along a stone path to several tiers of the park. The first tier of the park is the smallest, but here you’ll see many people gathered beneath the trees on a sunny day, chatting and enjoying the nature around them. The park’s second tier is dense with brightly colored flowers. Here, a lovely pergola adorned with ivory blossoms sits beside a Koi pond.
Cross the bridge to the third tier of the park where you will find and open expanse of grass on which children often play. This spot is also perfect for picnicking, as the trees provide plenty of shade. If you would rather not have a picnic on the grass, you can move your party to a rather large gazebo with built-in benches that provide plenty of room for everyone to sit and enjoy the surroundings.
Where to eat
A picnic in the park is always a great option, especially in Hanami season when the Sakura are in bloom and crowds of people gather to drink and eat beneath them. However, when in Sano, you must try the famous ramen. Each shop is delicious, and there are many within just a one to two minute walk from the north exit of the station.
Ask for Sano Ramen, and you will be given the shop’s take on this popular dish.
You can enjoy the company of friends or find solace in a good book, but whichever way you choose to spend your time in Shiroyama Park, do so with the peace of mind that you can escape the busy city without the stress of missing your train. After a day of sampling famous Ramen and strolling the park, you can easily return to your hostel or hotel without the hassle of waiting for a bus or taking an expensive taxi. Simply walk a few minutes to the station and ride happily back.
From Tokyo Station, take the JR Utsunomiya line (heading towards Utsunomiya) to Oyama. Once in Oyama, transfer to the Ryomo line and take the train to Sano station. Take a right out of the ticket gates and walk through the south exit to the park.
An alternative, and cheaper, option, would be to take the JR Utsunomiya line to Kuki in Saitama. Upon arriving, transfer to the Tobu Isesaki line heading towards Tatebayashi. You will transfer one more time in Tatebayashi to the Tobu Sano line, which will bring you directly to Sano Station.