Tokorozawa Aviation Memorial Park marks the site of Japan's very first airfield, which opened on April 1st 1911. The airfield has long since ceased to exist, but the original runway is actually still visible and has been incorporated into the park. The park opened to the public in 1978 and has been a popular destination for locals and international tourists ever since.
You will find several attractions at the park including the renowned Tokorozawa Aviation Museum, playgrounds, water play areas, food vans, tree house, barbecue, seasonal flowers and a regular flea market which is just one of several annual events. But it is the monthly hot air balloon ride that draws the most interest of all. (The flea market is temporarily suspended due to the pandemic, but the hot air balloon ride is not).
The Tokorozawa Aviation Memorial Park offers the general public the chance to ride in a barrier free hot air balloon for just ￥2000 (￥1000 for children over 6, children under 6 can ride for free). On a clear day you can often see both Mt Fuji and Tokyo Skytree when the balloon ascends. The event is usually on once a month, but during the summer holidays they have two dates for this extraordinary event. And this year, 2021, for the second year in a row, they will also have two dates in December. They take a break in January and February. The event takes place early morning, usually 7 am.
Due to the pandemic you now have to book a coveted place online. They take the first 100 bookings monthly. Please note that once the booking form opens for a given month, the 100 positions are usually taken very quickly. The link for reservations generally goes live on the 1st or 2nd of the month and stays live until the positions are filled. If you are getting a dead end when you click the booking form it means all the positions have been taken and registration is closed.
Remaining 2021 Dates
- September 12th - however, this one is already full
- October 10th
- November 14th (Saitama Day, a school holiday for children in Saitama Prefecture)
- December 5th
- December 26th
The park is located close to Koku koen Station on the Seibu Shinjuku Line, approximately 30 to 45 minutes from central Tokyo.
There are a number of parking areas in the park. The parking by the aviation museum is closest. The phone number for a car navi is 04-2998-4388.
Lynda has been in Japan for 20 years and blogging about Saitama on her personal blog insaitama.com for 14 of them. Despite its central location, just North of Tokyo, Saitama is still quite unknown to the international tourist, but frequented by domestic travelers. It is a great place to experien...