Round up of Halloween Events 2016 | SAITAMA

Each year the number and quality of Halloween events is improving in the Saitama area. We’ve a way to go before we get to the level of Chiba or Kanagawa, but there is enough in the area for the kids to enjoy.

**Halloween kicks off in Saitama on October 1st.**

Daily From October 1st~31st

①Happy Halloween 2016 【Saitama Children’s Zoo】| HIGASHIMATSUYAMA

One of the few events that can be enjoyed daily during the month of October, the children’s castle in the zoo is transformed into a Halloween castle. They have Halloween colouring daily. If you colour a picture you get a sweet in return. On the weekends they have additional events, such as face painting and crafts. You can see more detail in English here:

Happy Halloween 2016 @ Saitama Children’s Zoo | HIGASHIMATSUYAMA

②Halloween Dessert Buffet 【Royal Pines Hotel】| URAWA

For the month of October you can enjoy an all-you-can-eat Halloween buffet in the Royal Pines Hotel. Further details in English here:

Halloween Dessert Buffet | URAWA


OCTOBER 2ND

③Kisai Halloween 2016 | KAZO

One of Saitama’s longest running Halloween celebrations is taking place in Kazo City from 11 am. It includes a costume contest, halloween parade and Halloween hunter event. There are also food booths and even a pet corner. You can get more information here:

Kisai Halloween 2016 | KAZO

October 8th

④ Fancy dress and Halloween Illumination Light up 【Shinrin Park】| NAMEGAWA

Shinrin Park kicks off its Halloween events for 2016 with the Halloween Illumination Light up. They are inviting kids to come in fancy dress.  More details:

Halloween lights switch on and kids fancy dress @ Shinrin Park | NAMEGAWA


Weekends From October 8th to October 30th

⑤Night in the Forest 【Shinrin Park】| NAMEGAWA

On weekends and the bank holiday Shinrin Park are running a number of events for Halloween, including crafts and their Halloween illumination. More details:

Halloween Night in the Forest @ Shinrin Park | NAMEGAWA

⑥Halloween Night Zoo 【Tobu Zoo】| SUGITO

On weekends and public holidays from October 8th to October 30th, Tobu Zoo is running a Halloween night zoo with special events. More information here:

Tobu Hybrid Park Halloween Night Zoo | SUGITO


October 15th and 16th

⑦”Let’s Make a Witches Hat” 【Cocoon 1 and 2】| SAITAMA

Let’s Make a Witches Hat @ Cocoon | SAITAMA

Let’s Make a Witches Hat @ Cocoon 2 | SAITAMA

October 22nd and 23rd

⑧”Let’s Make a Trick or Treat Bag” 【Cocoon 1 and 2】| SAITAMA

Let’s Make Trick or Treat Bag @ Cocoon | SAITAMA

Let’s Make Trick or Treat Bag @ Cocoon 2 | SAITAMA

⑨Trick or Treat 【Tokyu Hands, Lalaport】| FUJIMI

If you find the staff in costume and say “Trick or Treat” you will receive an original Tokyu Hands Halloween Candy .

More information in Japanese: http://www.tokyu-hands.co.jp/halloween/2016/ (External site: Tokyu Hands official page).

 


October 29th

⑩Happy Halloween | KITAMOTO

Happy Halloween in Kitamoto Higashichuo Street | KITAMOTO

⑪Omiya Halloween Walk | SAITAMA

Omiya Halloween Walk | SAITAMA

⑫Halloween Face Painting and Craft Workshops 【Shinrin Park】| NAMEGAWA

Halloween Night in the Forest @ Shinrin Park | NAMEGAWA


October 29th and 30th

⑬Halloween Parade 2016 【Mallage】| Kuki

The Mallage Mall in Kuki will have 3 Halloween parades at 11 am, 1 pm and 3 pm on both Saturday the 29th and Sunday the 30th.  It is a free event for families with kids, but restricted to the first 100 customers and you need to apply in advance. The last day for entry is October 25th.

Further information in Japanese: http://www.mallage.com/shobu/event_list.php (external site, official page of Mallage mall)


October 30th

⑭Halloween World | WARABI

Halloween World | WARABI

 

⑮Halloween Costume Parade 【Cocoon】| SAITAMA

Halloween Costume Parade @ Cocoon | SAITAMA

 

⑯Halloween Parade and Bingo 【Ario】| Ageo

Halloween Parade and Bingo @ Ario | AGEO

 

⑰Halloween Party 【Tobu Zoo】| SUGITO

 

Halloween Party @ Tobu Zoo | SUGITO

 

⑱STEPS HALLOWEEN PARTY

For members of the Saitama Tots English Playdates group. The party will be held in Fujimi.  More details can be found through the group. If you are eligible to become a member (>one parent speaks fluent English), you can find us here:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/saitamasteps/


Seibu Yuuenchi seems to have dropped their annual Halloween event. If new information comes to light I will add it here.
Kennys Village (camping grounds) in Hanno also run Halloween events every year, but currently there website is down.

OMIYA HALLOWEEN FES is on October 29th this year. You can bring kids to it, but it is more of an adult event:
http://www.sportsone.jp/srt/stocks/srt20161029_121142.html

Do you know of any Halloween events in Saitama? Please do share here for the benefit of other English speakers in Saitama. Thank you 🙂

(Meeting Saitama’s most famous cartoon character at) TSUTAYA | KAWAJIMA

The Kawajima branch of Tsutaya re-opened today after a “renewal”. Unlike other “renewal open”s in the area, the shop has actually changed quite a bit. To mark the day they had a number of special offers, events and a very special guest star.

crayon-shinchan-3

Crayon Shin-chan is Saitama’s most celebrated anime character. (Totoro is the most famous anime movie.) Much to the delight of unexpecting kids, and even those of us who knew of his scheduled visit, his presence caused a stir and a thirty minute frenzy of kids going wild. True to his anime form, he was mischievous and even demonstrated some of his trademark moves, including his famous Buri Buri butt shake. The kids were all too happy to join in on that one. I have to say though, I was quite impressed by how much he actually played with the kids. He was down on the floor rolling around at one stage, he was running around with them, even tickling them; generally he lived up to their expectations of him being a fun character. This week they will have other events to mark the renewal opening. Tomorrow, Sunday the 12th, they are having a Doraemon event.

The Kawajima Branch of Tsutaya is a small to medium branch. The staff are extremely helpful, friendly and brilliant with kids. When you visit with children, they often give you free colouring pages or out of season campaign goods. They have a great selection of magazines, a moderate selection of books, a fair choice of stationery, a reasonable selection of toys, a sizeable selection of rental CDs and DVDs, but only a small selection of CDs and DVDs to buy. The kids corner is very nice and my kids really enoy it there. It has been extended in the renovation with new indoor climbing frames with slides. They don’t mind kids making a mess of the books and you can spend as much as you like there (within opening hours).   The renewal opening also brought with it a small adult only DVD area. Its tucked away in the corner out of sight, but only a curtain separates it from the main section. If your kids are like mine, a curtain might intrigue them, but thankfully the children’s selection isn’t near the corner.  They currently have a nice Halloween display with a good choice of Japanese Halloween books and a Halloween Tree!

 

The store is located on route 254 close to the Kawajima Interchange of the Ken-O expressway heading towards Kawagoe.  There is a Starbucks coffee shop across the car park from it. They hold an event together every 3rd Sunday of the month at 3 pm. Parents can enjoy a Starbuck‘s coffee while the kids enjoy storytelling. Parking is free.
Hours are 9 am to 11 pm, but there is a drop box for leaving back rented goods out of hours.

Kawagoe Kimono Toku|【Information Share】

Earlier this year a new Kimono Rental shop opened on the main tourist strip of Koedo (little Edo) Kawagoe. It is housed in a refurbished building down a quaint alley, beside an open fronted wooden amulet craft shop.

There are quite a few rental shops in Kawagoe, but the demand for rental kimonos has increased over the years. Part of the reason for the increase in popularity is the KIMONO DAY campaign run on the 18th of the month which offers kimono or yukata wearers either a discount or a present in participating shops, restaurants and tourist attractions. This rental shop is particularly accessible, easy to find and reasonably priced. I went to visit it, but I have yet to use their services.

Their website is basic, but it has a little English to aid you make a reservation here: http://kawagoe-kimono.wixsite.com/kimono-rental-toku

For Japanese readers, a bit more information from a local estate agent’s blog:
http://ameblo.jp/miyako-fudosan/entry-12139426992.html

 

「最近着物を着て歩いてる人が増えてきたわね~」弊社で仲介をしてから、ちょくちょく顔を出してくれるようになったお客様が言いました。そうなんですよね~❗️ここ川越…

Source: 新規オープン店 川越 キモノ とく|【川越の不動産屋の娘】が書く日記

【Places of Interest Kanto】 Ghibli-esque waterfall in Kimitsu | CHIBA

NOUMIZO WATERFALL 濃溝の滝

A waterfall in Kimitsu, Chiba, made famous by an Instagram post last Autumn.

Recommended visiting period: early morning in September and October.

Access: If you are coming by train, the nearest station is JR Kazusa Kameyama, but you need to use a taxi (approx. 15 minutes drive) to get to the area, or on a weekend you can use the free shuttle bus to the relatively nearby Katakura dam until the end of October. If driving, the car park is Shimizu Keiryu Hiroba marked by a golden turtle out front.

 

 

ALL IMAGES FROM JALAN which I have no affiliation to, but I am a big fan!

http://www.jalan.net/

 

Source: 幻想的な風景「濃溝(のうみぞ)の滝」/休暇村 館山のブログ – 宿泊予約は<じゃらん>

 

Waterfall of Noumizo on Google Maps

Last day of summer food treats, dentist and cat cafe | KAWAGOE

The kids are fairly exhausted after seven weeks of play dates, play centres, day trips, weekends away, special treats and seasonal activities. For their last day of holidays I wanted to treat them without physically exerting them, before the older three go back to school and preschool tomorrow. So rather than a play centre or physical activity, I settled on treating them to food pleasures and their first visit to a cat cafe. We had a dentist visit slotted in between too, but that proved to be quite a pleasure for them with the play area and toy to take home.

In this article:

  • Clean Bread Bakery Kawagoe Raku Raku Bakery
  • Family and child friendly Lion Dentist
  • Rescue Cat Cafe Neko Katsu
  • Retro American Diner MDT Cafe and Dining

KAWAGOE RAKU RAKU BAKERY

Our first stop after a leisurely walk through the always pleasurable Sweet Street (Candy Alley / Kashi Yokocho) was at the Raku Raku Bakery for a spot of light lunch before the dentist. This bakery is known far and wide for its homemade clean bread and flour based food. Raku Raku bread, cookies, cakes, pastries, and pies are made from 100% Hokkaido wheat flour. They don’t use any artificial additives, colouring or preservatives. They provide allergy information and have some bread and pastries that are dairy free. An excerpt from City-Cost reviews;

They have a fantastic selection of flour-based food baked in an oven and even have some dairy free goods, which are quite hard to come by in this area of Saitama. They have lots of fruit and vegetable flavoured breads and cakes. My kids particularly enjoy the melon pan and sweet potato bread. Most of their business is take out by locals and tourists, but you can eat your take out on site in the small garden at the side of the bakery. The garden has some wooden tables and chairs and is protected from the sun by groves and sun umbrellas. During this hot season they have a mist spray that cools the entrance to the bakery and the seating area, too. You can help yourself to complementary tea or coffee from self service machines. They are just little cups, but the coffee is quite good. If you prefer sitting in to eat, they have just opened a sandwich deli on the opposite side of the laneway. For purchases exceeding one thousand yen, you can receive a 10% discount with a Saitama Mama and Papas card. There is a little bit of English available in store.

Lion Dentist

The reason my kids enjoyed this dentist so much from my Lion Dental Clinic review on City-Cost.com

It is located within minutes walk of the West exit of Kawagoe station. There are free parking spaces for up to 15 cars. They have a kids play area. Kids also get a toy on leaving the dentists. One of the dental booths can fit a buggy or stroller. The booths are bright and colourful and have flatscreen TVs which plays cartoons for kids, news programmes for adults. If you need any work done, you can get it done then and there, or you can make an appointment for another day. They do implants. They have equipment for taking scans. Every patient can receive fluorine coating for free. They are open until 8.30 pm. I have saved the best for last: the dentists and dental nurses are very skilled, very patient and thorough, and some of them speak English. One has international accreditation. My 3 year old was terrified of going to the dentist and wouldn’t open her mouth at first. I was suitably impressed by her dentist’s patience and technique. She even said after, she wants to go again.

 

Neko Katsu

If only I had a video of my 22 month old child’s reaction when she entered this cafe. It was classic. She squealed with delight and danced on her toes. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who doesn’t have any pets at home, but want to give their kids an experience with animals or animal therapy. An excerpt from my Neko Katsu City-Cost Review;

There were more cats than I had expected and they all seemed quite placid. Because they are rescued cats they do ask that you don’t force a cuddle with them. If the cat is in the mood for a cuddle then it is fine to hold them. They have some toys that cats enjoy that you can use to play with the cats. The room is quite basic with only one or two seats and a few poufs, but it is not a cafe in the typical sense. You do get a drink included with the charge. Due to the fact that it is a cat cafe they are bottled drinks or juice packets. You help yourself from a decent selection in a fridge. Children under twelve are half price. They have a decent stamp card, one stamp per visit and if you get 5 stamps you get an hour free. You can actually adopt a cat if you become attached to one.

MDT Cafe and Dining

We finished the day with an ice-cream sundae for the kids and a latte art for me,  in a 1950s style American diner. It looked like a nice place for drinks with a couple of friends. Unfortunately, due to its size it wouldn’t be suited for a big group. An excerpt from my MDT City-Cost review:

The rock and roll music adds to the ambience. I quite enjoyed listening to half the Grease film album and classics such as Footloose, Johnny Be Good, Shake Rattle and Roll to name, but a few.  The menu is mixed. The billboard outside says that it is a taco rice cafe. They offer a lunch menu, a cafe menu and a night time menu. They have a good selection of beer, including locally brewed Coedo Beer and some foreign beer such as Heineken. We went for a Ice-cream sundae to share, and boy am I glad we were sharing; it was huge. Myself and 2.5 kids (the 1 year old didn’t eat much) struggle to finish the delicous Berry Sundae we ordered. I also ordered a latte art. They have a selection of latte flavours and I think you can also get art on other coffee based beverages. I was very touched, by the picture the Barista drew for me. He drew my 3 girls on the coffee around the words “Welcome” with today’s date. A small, but very touching gesture. They do plate art for birthdays. Within the shop there are lots of collectible toys.

The kids were on a high coming home, but not too tired thankfully. They agreed they want to go back to all the places we visited today… including the dentists! For hours and average costs, please visit the City-Cost.com articles linked.

How did you spend your last day of summer holidays? Please do share in the comments below.

Place Review: Studio Cafe Zoo Adventure | FUJIMI

From my review on City-Cost.

Studio Cafe Zoo Adventure

This is my go-to cafe for a bit of break from the kids, while with the kids. It is one of the few places I know that allow children play unsupervised, unless they are 3 years old or under. The play area is sectioned off from the cafe area, but it is clearly visible. You can sit facing the area and watch your kids while you enjoy a coffee and cake. You have to pay per child to use the play centre.

The menu isn’t very extensive, but its really only a place for a light snack or treat. The cakes are quite nice and they change the options periodically. Despite having a play area, it doesn’t have much in the line of children’s food or drinks. They do lay out a jug of water that you can help yourself to for free. It is also one of the few places I know with a dedicated work space, with laptop connections, chargers and wide desk space. The cafe area has large stuffed animals dotted all over the seating area of the cafe. Among there is a large giraffe, elephant, pig, horse and cow. The ambiance of the cafe is quite nice. The staff are friendly enough, but as far as I know none of them speak English.

It opens 10 am to 9 pm seven days a week. The nearest parking is car parks number six and seven. Both are indoors. All parking in Lalaport is free. By train you would also need to get a bus and the buses are not very frequent so when possible coming by car is much more convenient.

For more place reviews from all over the country, please visit www.city-cost.com

Review – Studio Cafe Zoo Adventure in Japan. This is my go-to cafe for a bit of break from the kids, while with the kids.  It is one of the few places I know that allow children play unsupervised, unl

Source: Place Review: Studio Cafe Zoo Adventure, Fujimi-shi, Saitama | City-Cost

 

NEWS: Ofuro Cafe Bivouac | KUMAGAYA

Opening day for the new super hotspring in KUMAGAYA Saitama is drawing close. This is one to get excited about folks, because apart from being a state of the onsen, it has lots of extra services AND hammocks and a climbing wall! Please note, this onsen is not suitable to children under 7 years of age. Update September 1st: Opening day has been set for September 10th.

From the official website: http://ofurocafe-bivouac.com/
From the official website: http://ofurocafe-bivouac.com/

They use the word glamping in their public relation articles, which has me intrigued. However, I don’t think they offer glamorous camping, but rather are using the concept of glamping to offer an outdoor feel to their luxury hot springs.

Bivouac is just the latest offering from the hot spring chain Onsen Dojo, who take relaxation to the next level.  There most famous of their hot springs is probably Cafe Utatane in Saitama’s Kita-ku. That has a hotel as well as many great extras including a lovely play area for kids. However, Bivouac is for adults or older children only.

The Bivouac hot springs are set to open for business early September, but the official date has not been released yet. They will open 23 hours a day from 10 am to 9 am. Entry to the onsen costs 1380 yen. There is free parking for 195 cars.

You can receive updates and preview photos from their active Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ofurocafe.bivouac/
They are also active on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ofurocafe_bivo  
The official website is: http://ofurocafe-bivouac.com/

This is one to bookmark for the rugby players and anyone coming to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Kumagaya Saitama. Relax and regroup in comfort while experiencing a truly unique Japanese tradition.

Tokinosumika Night Illumination Summer 2016 | SHIZUOKA

Recently, we paid our annual summer visit to the Tokinosumika resort, also known as Gotemba Kogen, in Shizuoka. This visit we split our stay between the Blueberry Lodges and the Hotel Tokinosumika, just two of the accommodation choices available at this activity and attraction packed resort. This year, as always, the night illumination was stunning and the fountain show, which originated in Tokinosumika, was as breathtaking as ever.

This year the central walkway that links the Blueberry Lodges to the village area, have the lights done like the Milky Way.  Among the lights are windchimes and tanabata wishes written on prayer plaques.

Tokinosumika was the first place in the world to create a fountain performance using light and projection mapping, set to music. The show is held 3 times a night at weekends, twice on weekdays, beside the Bell of Love at the Big Bang Playground. This year the show started out like fireworks. At one point the water shoots 70 metres into the air.

There are night illumination displays in many other areas of the resort. My favourite view, which unfortunately I didn’t capture very well on my camera with my 1 year old vying for my attention, was the view of the Blueberry Lodges set behind the merry-go-round:

The merry-go-round and blueberry lodges lit up at night in Tokinosumika is stunning
The merry-go-round and blueberry lodges lit up at night in Tokinosumika is stunning

You won’t read much about Tokinosumika in guide books in Japanese or English, as they have such a regular custom from loyal customers they have little need for print advertisement. Most of their custom comes from word of mouth.

There is a range of accommodation available at Tokinosumika and such a broad choice of activities that there is something for everyone. For more detail please see the general blog post on it: Shizuoka, Gotemba. Family resort with Accommodation, Hot springs, Dining, Shopping, Sports and Much much more.

City-Cost Review: Kitamoto Children’s Centre | KITAMOTO

We’ve been spending a bit of time at the Kitamoto Children’s Centre this summer, as it is a great space for a bit of phsycial activity as well as quiet play time. Here is the review I wrote for City-cost.com


Kitamoto Children’s Centre is part of the relatively new Kitamoto City Hall. The facilities are public and free for anyone to use. You are required to sign into the children’s centre. There are a few rules that you are expected to follow and respect, such as no eating or drinking outside the designated areas. They require kids take their socks off to play. Some of the play areas are specifically for children of a certain age and they are quite strict about limiting its use to that age group only. They are also quite strict about accompanying children under 8 at all times, so even if you have for example a 7 year old and a 3 year old, it is expected that they play in the same area at the same time.

The equipment they have makes up for their stringent rules. One of the more popular attractions is the climbing wall on the 3rd floor. They allow children of any age use it and they even have some climbing challenges marked out, just like they have in bouldering gyms. Beside the wall they have a zorb, which children of any age can use. The 3rd floor has a veranda with a selection of bikes and trikes. There are some push alongs indoors for children under 3.

Another popular attraction is the relatively large ball pool, with a slide into it. It is on the 2nd floor. This particular ball pool is only for the use of children under 7. They have a smaller ball pool on the 3rd floor for children of school going age. Beside the ball pool there is an open play area where they currently have kinetic sand. There is a play house in this area plus a selection of toys, including Lego and Magformers. The 0 to 3 year old zone is also on the 2nd floor. They have a nice selection of wooden toys. A lot of the toys and equipment in Kitamoto Children’s Centre are Bornelund.

Each floor has toilets and kids toilets with a changing mat. The 2nd floor has a rest room where you are allowed eat. There is a drinks vending machine on each floor. Parking is free and plentiful. They hold events. No information in English and no English spoken. Below the children’s centre, there is a children’s library.
Review – Kitamoto Children’s Centre in Japan. Kitamoto Children’s Centre is part of the relatively new Kitamoto City Hall. The facilities are public and free for anyone to use. You are required to sign into


 

Source: Place Review: Kitamoto Children’s Centre, Kitamoto-shi, Saitama | City-Cost

City Cost Place Review: Kawagoe Station East Exit Children’s Centre

Review – Kawagoe Station East Exit Children’s Centre in Japan. The play centre is located on the 4th floor of a civic centre for citizens, commonly referred to as “Kurasse” which is the buildings name. Below it there is a l

I’m currently working with City-Cost.com to share information on locations in Saitama. This is one of my latest offerings; information for the jidokan in Kurasse building close to Kawagoe Station. I also added this facility to GOOGLE Maps today. This is the children’s centre that STEPS English playgroup used for meet ups for the inaugural year.  We still occasionally meet there, but for more information on the current system and meet up places please see the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/saitamasteps/

The play centre is located on the 4th floor of a civic centre for citizens, commonly referred to as “Kurasse” which is the buildings name. Below it there is a library and above it there are meeting rooms and citizen services. The staff are very helpful, but to the best of my knowledge none of them speak English. They have some pamphlets and information for living in Kawagoe, but they are all in Japanese only.

The centre isn’t particularly big, but it has enough to entertain young kids. There is a main hall with some play equipment including climbing boxes and a slide. They hold events here including an English language event three times a month. Beside the office of the children’s centre there is a smaller room with quite a few toys including a play kitchen. There are a selection of books in the hall, including some English books. They have clean and well kept toilets divided into ladies and mens, and they also have a wheelchair accessible toilet that has a changing mat.

The centre is open from 9.30 am Wednesday to Monday, closing on Tuesdays except when its a public holiday. It is conveniently located within minutes walk of JR and Tobu Tojo line Kawagoe station. There is parking down a narrow alleyway beside the centre, but parking is charged. I previously drove an American car (Chrysler, Voyager) which was too big to turn into the car park! I have an 8 seater now too, but it is a Japanese model and therefore a bit narrower and it can navigate the turn no problem.

Source: Place Review: Kawagoe Station East Exit Children’s Centre, Kawagoe-shi, Saitama | City-Cost

 

LocalGuide showcasing the Greater Tokyo Area of Saitama

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