Riding the train along the Sotetsu Line toward Ebina from Yamato I sometimes look down as we’re crossing over a pretty little park along a river. The lush greenery always looks so serene, so tranquil, but I could never figure out quite how to get there. Well now, it turns out this park is just north of Atsugi Base and is called Forest of Fureai. I translated that myself from kanji and hirigana, which means it’s probably wrong, but if that’s right Fureai—as far as I can tell—is Japanese word describing the formation of emotional connection between opposites (age, profession, race) in the community, or ‘mutual contact’ for short. And surprise! It’s the Hikichigawa—the same river that runs right by my house! Imagine that. That means Atsugi Base is surrounded on all four sides by gorgeous parks! North is Forest of Fureai, East is Hikichidai, South is that park where people line up by the flight line to photograph incoming planes where it looks like there are big mushroom sun shades and a running trail, and right by the West Gate is my favorite fall park: Koryo-koen. Forest of Fureai may or may not be its real name. Maybe I can discover its true identity on a later visit when I return to check out the duck pond, water wheel, temples and explore its winding pathways!
To get there from Atsugi Base’s East Gate, exit base and take a left at the ministop. This road t-bones. Take a right, then a left at the next life (there’s an Enos Station on the corner). Go to the third light and take a left (there’s a school on the corner). After the first light, don’t continue and cross the bridge. Instead, walk down to the left or drive down to your right (there’s a small parking lot at the bottom of the hill). Easy! And bring bug spray!