The park with sports facilities, huge lawn grounds, and some hiking courses are nicknamed as ECOPA. It is a newer park opened in 2001 in preparation for 2002 Soccer World Cup. 10 years after the event, the park is not as crowded unless there are some huge events or J-league soccer games for either Jubilo Iwata or Shimizu S-pulse. The park is often the place for jogging or walking or for family picnic. There are two lookouts, Ecopa-no-Oka and Miharash-no-Oka. I went to Miharashi-no-Oka at the peak 124 meters above sea level. From there you can have a great views of the mountains. But, I am not that familiar with the moutains at the western part of Shizuoka prefecture. Mt. Fuji was barely visible but too obscure to identify it. Hattasan and Ecopa is only twenty to thirty minutes walk away. So I recommend that you visit both from Aino station.
Founded in 725 by Gyoki by the decree of Emperor Shomu, this Koyasan Shingon Sect temple is now ranked as one of the Bekkaku Honzan(Regional Head Temple). The temple used to be a lot larger with 60 buildings during Edo Period(1603-1868). But after Meiji Restoration the temple suffered the movement of demolition and only a few barely escaped such fate at that time. It was not until 1983 the Main Hall was reconstructed. Today, the temple is best known as the new year visit site and about 500,000 people visit the temple during the first seven days of the new year. The beauty of the temple lies in the pathway under the tall ceder trees. On your right side you will see the springs of water seeping out from the cliff, and on your left you will enjoy the view of craftly built stone walls. When you enter the Black Gate somewhat like that of samurai residence you will see the Honbo building. Then you will find the upper walking path leading to the small garden with Fudo Myo'ou(Acala) Statue. Then climbing newly built stone stairs you will reach the Main Hall rebuilt in 1983. If you love sweets don't forget to buy dumpling, its local delicacy.
Aino Park is one of the top 3 parks in Fukuroi. It is divided by the huge road. A part is mainly for sports facilities and B part is a nice park on the hillside. It is best known for its lookout where Ai-no-Kane(The Bell of Love) monument is located. From the lookout you can see the mountains around Fukuroi, Minami Alps and with luck Mount Fuji. It is also noted for its nighttime views.
The park is open all day and is free of charge to enter.
Haranoya-gawa Stream-Play Park also known as Shinsui Koen(Park) is the part of the riverside area of Haranoya River under the Koai Ohhashi Bridge. It is a stream-play park around the older flow of the river before finishing river development works. The park has four areas, water garden area around the older flow of the river, pond area with rafting playset, day camp area where you can have a barbequeing party, and lawn ground where you can play ball games. To get there you need to cross the bridge from north side of the river close to Skate Park where skateboarders horn their basic skills. It is also used as one of the sites for Fukuroi Firework Festival in mid August.
It is open every day and is free of charge to enter.
Kasuisai tip: This 600-year-old zen temple is one of the most popular places to practice zen meditation close to Hamamatsu. It is rich in historical legends particularly of Iyeyasu Tokugawa, the first shogun of Edo Government. The temple also sells ofuda for fire protection because it enshrines Akiha Sanjaku Gongen who protects from fire. It was originally at Akiha Shrine but since Meiji Government ordered to seperate Bhuddhism and Shintoism, the temple accommodated some of AKiha Shrine deities which originate from Bhuddism beliefs. It also has a lodging facility where you can join zen meditation training with priests and taste shojin vegetarian dish.
Kasuisai Tip: Somon Gate serves as an entrance gate of Kasuisai. "Banshosan" inscribed on the gate is the honorary sango prefix of Kasuisai. When you enter the gate look up the ceiling. It has a Chinese Zodiac direction board. Chinese Zodiac signs are made up of 12 animals: rats, oxen, tigers, rabbits, dragons, snakes, horses, sheep, monkeys, roosters, dogs, and boars. Until the Gregorian calender was introduced in late 19th century, Chinese zodiac signs had been used not only for denoting 12-year cycle, but for time of the day, calender days and even directions such as "Utatsu" ...East. In this zodiac sign board, do you find something interesting? It says Mt. Fuji is twenty-eight Ri away about 110 kilometers east from there.
Kasuisai Tip: To enter major buildings of Kasuisai, you are asked to donate 500 yen. Zuiryukaku, built in 1937, was constructed with Azuchi-Momoyama Shoin style. This palatial building, featuring the excellent fusuma paintings by Reiki Yamaguchi together with nice view of its inside garden could be worth 500 yen donation to enter. You can also taste shojin vegetarian dish there rainging from 2,000 to 3,500 yen (including donation to enter major buildings).
Kasuisai Tip: Daikokuten (Mahakala) is believed to bring prosperity and wealth to one's family. Osasuri Daikokuten in Kasuisai is one of the popular deities. It is believed that by touching and patting the statue you can bring happiness, prosperity and good health.
Kasuisai Tip: This brand new Sanmon gate serves as the second gate of Kasuisai, entrance to major buildings of the temple. The gate is too new and outworldly to me. Maybe it will take years before this gate fits right to the landscape.
Kasuisai Tip: Rinzo is the sutra storage shelve that is designed to revolve, which is somewhat similar to Mani wheel. Rinzos were built in some of the major shrines and temples in Japan such as Nikko Toshogu, Hasedera Temple in Kamakura, Zenkoji Temple in Nagano or Nishi Honganji and Chionin in Kyoto.