Giant Tires Become Giant Monsters at Tokyo Park; Monuments, Play Equipment Among the Unique Attractions Featured at the Park

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A large Godzilla-like monster made of old tires, the symbol of Nishi-Rokugo Park

Back in the Showa era (1926-1989), half-buried old car tires reminiscent of kamaboko fish loaf were a fixture in most elementary school playgrounds. Children loved jumping over them like vaulting boxes. I still remember the wonderful feeling of the elastic rubber.

Affectionately called “Tire Park,” Nishi-Rokugo Park in Ota Ward, Tokyo, is filled with this nostalgic playground equipment.

The park, located in a residential area about a 15-minute walk from Kamata Station, opened in 1969. It was planned as a “park specializing in tires,” following the popularity of tire playground equipment set up in another municipal park at the time. At Nishi-Rokugo Park, about 3,000 old tires have been transformed into playground equipment, such as a swing and a jungle gym, as well as monsters, robots and other monuments.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Tires form part of a colorful jungle gym.
The Yomiuri Shimbun
A huge swing, which measures 2 meters in diameter, resembles a giant cradle.

The most popular attraction is an 8-meter-tall giant monster that looks like Godzilla. Accompanied by its 5-meter-tall monster offspring, it looks down on the park with a sharp but humorous facial expression. The mysterious black rubber texture makes you want to climb it, but that’s prohibited now. Instead, I went through the monster’s long tail like I was passing through a tunnel.

A 4-meter-tall robot standing near the slide reminded me of the toys sold at festival stalls in the past. With its legs spread wide and arms stretched out to the sides, kids must imagine it being a champion of justice protecting them from evil. Come to think of it, it looked just like “Denjin Zaborgar,” a superhero from a ‘70s TV show who transforms from a motorcycle into a humanoid robot.

It’s not just vehicle tires — which are donated mainly by auto-repair shops — that are used in the park; there are even aircraft tires.

A 3-year-old child from Tsurumi Ward in Yokohama, who comes to the park about twice a month, ran up to the giant swing — a tire from construction machinery with a 2-meter diameter.

If rain accumulates inside the tires, it could become a breeding ground for pests, so the park management never fails to drain them. Officials said they make sure the park remains a pleasant place for visitors by replacing old tires that have lost their bounce.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A flower bed at the entrance of the park with black rubber cut in the shape of petals.

Nishi-Rokugo Park

Address: 1-6-1 Nishi-Rokugo, Ota Ward, Tokyo

Access: A 10-minute walk from Zoshiki Station on the Keikyu Line or a 15-minute walk from Kamata Station on the JR Keihin-Tohoku Line. Visitors are recommended to use public transportation as the park has no parking lot.