Locals are excited about it being announced as one of the grounds for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, and are hoping to host one of the great teams!
Families who live in and around Higashi Hanazono know that the large park (home to rugby and baseball grounds, as well as a grove of sakura trees, a splash park for kids, a large outdoor playground, and the indoor playground Dream 21) is a great place to spend a day out too.
Higashi Hanazono station.
Getting to the park is easy. Get off the train at 東花園駅 (Higashi Hanazono station), located on the Kintetsu Nara line. It is an easy ride from Namba (to the east), or Ikoma (to the west).
Check out this map for more details on how to get to the park...
* Higashi Hanazono station is at the bottom of the map.
Hanazono Rugby stadium.
This large stadium is the oldest dedicated rugby union stadium in Japan. Owned by city of Higashiosaka, it opened in 1929 and has a capacity of 30,000. It is the stage for the annual National High School Rugby Tournament held every year at the end of December and has hosted important international, Top League games.
Hanazono is the home of the Kintetsu Liners rugby union team (official website for the team here - Japanese only).
Hanazono central park (Hanazono chuo koen) is a large green area which is great for walking, sports, kids play and much more. Various festivals are held here during the year, and many groups use the grounds for team activities too.
Via Higashi Osaka Kouen Kankyou
The park (pictured above), can be divided into main areas, starting at the top and working clockwise, the Try stadium (for rugby and other sports), the Hanazono rugby stadium (main stadium for large ruby union games), the Central stadium (for baseball), and the kids play area (home to the `rugga station` playground, flower gardens, sakura grove, water play area and Dream 21). Various walking courses from 600m-2.4km are mapped out too.
Via Higashi Osaka Kouen Kankyou
Dream 21 is an indoor playground with 3 floors of fun. On the first/second floor you`ll find a small science museum that kids will love. Open from 9:30am til 4:50pm, and reasonably priced at 300yen for adults, 200yen for high school students and 100yen for kids aged 4-12 (kids under 4 are free), you can learn about nature, animals, space and more!
On the 3rd floor is Nobi Nobi Hiroba, a great indoor playground. Divided into 5 different play times, and extremely reasonably priced at 100yen for everyone over the age of 4 (kids under 4 are free), there is some fun for all ages (buy tickets from the vending machine on the first floor).
Via Dream 21 homepage
There is also a planetarium (access from the 2nd floor) which has various displays and events during the year (400yen for adults, 200yen for high school students, 100yen for kids aged 4-12 and kids under 4 are free).
The website for Dream 21 (here) is all in Japanese, but it pays to check the schedule and open/closing times for each attraction before you go.
If you want to enjoy a picnic lunch in the park, there are convenience stores located not too far from the north and east sides of the park, as well as vending machines in several locations. There are also large ticketed parking lots on the north, south and east sides.
Enjoy your big day out!