Chikozan Park in Sayama is a nice place for a family day out with toddlers. It has a small zoo, with the unique feature of fodder dispensing vending machines (pictured above). It has a lovely walkway through a wooded marsh. There are gardens beside a large open space. There are two playgrounds within the woods; an adventure playground and a general playground with swings, slides and climbing equipment. There is a lake designated for fishing. It is a lovely park in spring and the zoo looks particularly pretty with the cherry blossoms. We had our first hanami picnic at the zoo last week. Some photos after the information (specifically for the zoo) section below.
CHARGES: Children under the age of 6 free. 50 yen for school age children and 200 yen for adults. Discounts available for a group of over 30 people. Parking is free. The fodder dispensing machines cost money. Horse riding is available at a charge.
FACILITIES / SERVICES:
Some playground equipment in the large opening where the cherry blossom trees are
It’s alright to bring your own food
5 buggies/strollers available to rent
2 nappy changing areas within toilets
There is a restaurant within Chikozan park, near the zoo
Our cherry blossom viewing in Western Saitama continues. Maruyama Park is a great park to view cherry blossoms with children. It is one of many parks in Saitama that has various different things to do and/or see. Walker magazinelisted Maruyama Park in Ageo, Saitama, in its top three parks to visit as a family in Tokyo and the greater Tokyo area.
We had our elevenses by the waterfall, near the cement slide, which was abuzz with elementary school students on holidays. We hadn’t found a free tree to sit under at that point, but the scenery was beautiful all the same.
Most of the cherry blossoms line the pathways and it was hard to find a tree suitable to sit under in true hanami fashion, but we did eventually find one in the open space behind the general playground in the South end of the park or in the photo below; the bottom left! You can see some of the blossom trees marked on this map too. Below the map there are some photos of the cherry blossoms.
Tobu bus for terminal “Maruyama Park”; West Exit No. 6 bus
City bus “Gurutto-kun” for hirakata-zyunkan; West Exit. Alight at “Maruyama Koen
Minamiguchi” bus stop or “Shizen gakusyu-kan iriguchi” bus stop
Another favourite spot for cherry blossom viewing in Western Saitama, with small children, is Enomoto Farm in Ageo City. The majority of the cherry blossoms are at the back of the farm, past the BBQ area, but with young toddlers the best place to enjoy the blossoms is in the main courtyard.
The main courtyard, at the front of the famous ice-cream shop, is home to dozens of push along rides. All free to use. There are a few benches and a couple of picnic tables you can sit at, but I don’t know if you can picnic here. You can of course eat their delicious ice-cream. Prices start at ￥262 for a cone or cup of fresh ice-cream. We stopped off for dessert after a picnic at the nearby Maruyama Park. Other than the cost of the ice-cream this was a cheap “date” as my 3 and 2 years old children played for 2 hours on the push alongs. They also played in the small play area past the pig pens. They would have played for longer, if we didn’t have to go home. For older children you can pay to milk the cows among other things.
The free push alongs at Enomoto Farm are quite old as are the play things in the BBQ area and its lacking in some areas, such as accessibility and baby facilities, but for a nice view of the cherry blossoms while your toddlers tire themselves out (FOR FREE!) it’s ideal! The family feel and the relaxed atmosphere make it an enjoyable place to visit any time of the year.
Cherry blossom viewing, or hanami in Japanese, is one of the highlights of Spring in Japan. There are some wonderful places to view cherry blossoms throughout Japan, but when you have children it is nice to visit a family orientated location. Kitamoto Children’s parkin Saitama is just that.
Kitamoto Children’s parkis only 70 minutes from Tokyo by car and it is free in with free parking. There is something for kids of all ages at this park and lots of places to picnic under the blossoms or at least in view of them. Below are just a few images taken with my phone (2013). This is the area by the toddler playground, where we had our picnic on the grass with the flying carp for boys day in view!
For more detailed information on this park in English please see the linked blog post Kitamoto Children’s Park. Another seasonal attraction of this park is the paddling pool that is available during the summer.