Wednesday, April 11, 2007

42. Outdoor Review: Setagaya Walking Path

Although technically not part of Shimokitazawa, the walking path is only about a 15 minute walk from the station. The path is definitely one of Setagaya's treasures, a natural oasis in a very crowded city.The path is most beautiful in Daizawa, a wealthy neighborhood of Setagaya. Cherry trees form a canopy over the trail. A stream, which I believe is spring-fed, flows alongside. This is a natural ecosystem. Look carefully and you'll spot a variety of crabs, fish, snails, insects, and birds. Last year a duck had babies. I spotted two of her daughters on a walk I took last week. The path is well cared for by volunteers and city workers. There is always someone planting new flowers, pulling weeds, and making improvements.

During the cherry blossom season, the Daizawa section of the path is full of party-goers. But, only on the weekends, weekdays are for the locals and is definitely the best time to visit. The fall colors are also gorgeous, and in summer the sounds of locusts and frogs will take you to the countryside!

The path starts at the border of Setagaya-ku and Shibuya-ku, near Ikejiri-ohashi Station on the Tokyu Den-entoshi Line. It is actually two parallel paths, they split just a few minutes walk from the beginning. The upper path cuts through Daizawa, before heading deeper into Setagaya - above the Odakyu line. The best section is from the beginning to Kannana-dori.The lower path passes very close to Sangenjaya Station (one stop from Ikejiri-ohashi) then up toward Kyodo Station (of the Odakyu Line), where it crosses over.
There are sections of the path that still need help, but Setagaya is working little by little to address the situation. Even at its weakest points, it is still car and motorcycle free - nothing to complain about!

For those who want to take a nice, long walk there are two options.

1) Start at Kyodo Station (Odakyu) and take the lower path toward the city. At the connecting point, take the upper path to Umegaoka (Odakyu).

2) Start at Kyodo or Umegaoka and walk toward the city. At Ikejiri-ohashi, cross the huge road, and on the other side is the Meguro River. I have followed it all the way to Osaki, but it goes all the way to Tokyo Bay. The Meguro River area is also famous for its cherry blossoms.