Nakajima Park

through the eyes of CA Edington

Nakajima Park measures some 21 hectares (a metric unit of surface area, equal to 100 acres) and has been listed in the "100 Most Popular Urban Parks in Japan." Before the destructive typhoon of 2004, it had about 5,000 trees, including Japanese red spruce, yew, gingko, and other conifers, as well as Yezo wild cherry, black acacia, and elma. The Yezo wild cherry in the park blossom in early May, wisteria in early June, black acacia and Japanese iris in mid-June, and roses of various colors in July. [Information from the "Nakajima Map & Guide" by the Sapporo Foundation for Greener Parks]

This aerial view of Nakajima Park, hanging in Kitara Hall, shows what it was like before a number of high-rise condominiums were constructed. The concert hall can be seen on the left as well as the surrounding area. (My apartment is the gray building on the lower edge, right of center, where the 2 streets end.)

The following are photos I have taken while walking around Nakajima Park, just a few minutes from my apartment. According to Yahoo Travel, the park is the oldest in Sapporo. Click on any photo below to take a walk in the park with me!

A Walk in the Park

The Japanese Garden in Nakajima Park

People in Nakajima Park

Fall in Nakajima Park

Spring in CA's Neighborhood

Typhoon #18, September 2004

Hokkaido Shrine Festival

Also strongly recommended is visiting the site by Roy Latham, who frequently visits Sapporo, to see some excellent photos of Nakajima Park. The page also includes a map of the park.

Inside Nakajima Parks stands Hoheikan, a building which is designated as a National Important Cultural Property. According to a brochure by the city of Sapporo, "Hoheikan is a building which the Hokkaido Kitakushi, or Development commission, an organization of the Meiji Government, constructed as a hotel in 1880. It is regarded as a historic an dprestigious building where the Emperors of the Meiji, Taisho, and Showa eras stayed. It is representative of Western-style wooden architecture of that time, as well as a valuable example of rare Western-style wooden architecture still in existence. At present, it is open to the public as a cultural property and is utilized as a hall for wedding ceremonies and concerts." I myself attended a small violin/accordian concert there on the 4th of July, 2005, and had a chance to enjoy the remarkable interior. (Photo above by CA Edington. More photos and information in Japanese can be seen at Houheikain.)

Some History of Nakajima Koen

The Sapporo Foundation for Greener Parks provides the following information about the origin of Nakajima Park and Sapporo: "The Toyohira River flows through the Jozankei ravine and widens near the foot of Mt. Moiwa to form a large alluvial fan. Sapporo began its development on this fan and has been growing ever since. Nakajima Park was constructed by incorporating a section of the Kamokamo River, a branch of the Toyohira River."

In 1874, a sluice gate was constructed on the Kamokamo River and a lumberyard opened. Logs felled upstream on the Toyohira River were temporarily stored at the lumberyard before being floated downstream to a lumber mill on Otomo Canal (the present-day Sosei River). Around 1882, the local residents began to request that the lumberyard, which had fallen into disuse and was becoming dilapidated, be converted into a park. In 1887, a program was initiated to turn the lumberyard and the adjoining area into an amusement park. [Note by C.A.: I remember when there was a roller coaster and small amusement park within Nakajima Park before Kitara Hall was built.] In 1907, Yasuhei Nagaoka, a Tokyo-based authority on landscape gardening, was invited to Sapporo to head its urban development. Some of his basic planning can be seen in present-day central Sapporo.

The Park Management Section, Greenery Promotion Department, Environment Bureau, City of Sapporo. Nakajima Park Map & Guide.

The Park Management Section describes Nakajima Park this way: "With its rich verdure and water, the park is a favorite leisure spot. It is in the center of Sapporo and commands a view of Mt. Moiwa. In the Meiji Era, the land was used as a lumberyard to collect trees that had fallen along the Toyohira River. Now, it features Kitara (Sapporo Concert Hall), Hokkaido Museum of Literature, and various other facilities. It is a venue for festivals, sports events and flower markets. In the Kamokamo River flowing through the park, you can see many wild birds, migratory ducks and carp. It's a natural oasis in an urban area. Youngsters, the elderly, women, men, and tourists all visit throughout the year. In winter a cross-country skiing course is open."

The Park Management Section, Greenery Promotion Department, Environment Bureau, City of Sapporo. Nakajima Park. Available online: [accessed August 28, 2005].

The finish line for the Hokkaido Marathon, which takes place every year in August, is in Nakajima Park.




Comments? Questions? Problems? Feedback? E-mail CA!

Created by CA Edington, Sapporo, Japan
Last updated August, 2005.