Disaster Training: An earthquake, a typhoon and a fire all in one day…| KOUNOSU

… all simulated, thankfully! Friday, in our ever enjoyable quest to try something new everyday, we ventured to the Saitama Prefecture Center for Disaster Training in Konosu. I was very impressed with the set-up and experiences on offer at this free center. I was also suitably impressed with the building itself, built to withstand an earthquake of any magnitude, it is modern and pristine.

If you are a first time visitor you are shown an introductory video upon arrival. Then a guide walks you through the more dangerous experiences you can try. After that time you are free to look around and use the other resources available.
Experiencing an earthquake simulated at seismic intensity 7Experiencing a simulated earthquake at "weak 6"
First up was the earthquake simulator. The family before us had tried an earthquake simulated at the highest seismic intensity on the Japanese scale of 7. As I had the baby on my back in the Ergo I could not use the simulator myself, but my preschoolers tried a “weak 6”. They thought they were at an amusement park and the point of the operation was a little over their heads as they laughed through the experience. Although, in recounting his adventures 4 year old was able to tell hubby what he should do if an earthquake happens. I’m really pleased he took something away from the experience.

Coming out of a simulated fire  Putting out a fire

Next they got to walk through a simulated fire in a building with 7 doors. The smoke they use is not dangerous to health, but again not suitable for the baby, so my preschoolers went with the other family using our guide. They weren’t fazed by it and didn’t find it scary. They had to use handkerchiefs over their mouths so not to inhale too much of the “purin” (Japanese dessert pudding) scented vapour they use to simulate smoke in a fire. After that they got to try putting out a fire, a computer programmed one on a big screen, with a real fire extinguisher.

Typhoon with winds of 30kmph DSCF0891

Lastly in the tour, you can try a simulated typhoon with winds reaching upto 30 metres. My kids were too young to try it, but they watched in awe as a family tried it. In winds that strong houses blow away. They could barely hold on to the pole in front of them and explained after, as it gets stronger you are unable to keep your eyes open. I definitely want to go back and try it as I don’t ever plan to get the experience in real life… I hope! After that we had a look around. They have a couple of theatres, one was showing a cartoon of what to do in various emergencies, which the kids really enjoyed. We all also got to place an emergency phone call.
A toilet made out of cardboard

I found it all very interesting and I will go again in the future. I’ve added it to a list of places to bring my Irish family when they visit next! I got quite a bit out of it too. I learned the correct way to protect yourself during a strong earthquake as well as facts about earthquakes to date. I learned the danger regions in this prefecture. I would never have known only for today’s experience, that when placing an emergency call from a Japanese payphone you need to push the red emergency call button before dialling 119. I also learned how to make a toilet out of cardboard boxes!


Information

The Saitama Prefecture Center for Disaster Training in Japanese 埼玉県防災学習センター

Address: 30 Fukuro, Konosu City

Access: 25 minute walk from Fukiage Station, Takasaki Line, or you can get a community bus from North Konusu Station in the direction of Fukiage, alight at Apita and it is a 5 minute walk. By car it is beside the Fukuro crossroads on route 17. There are 15 free parking spaces.

Website: http://www.bousai-gakusyu-saitama-ht.jp/ (Japanese only)

Ageo City with toddlers, outdoor locations

Written 2013



Ageo City is one of our favourite cities in Saitama. It has plenty of things to do for children and adults alike. There is so much to do in fact I have split this blog post into two; one on outdoor locations and one on indoor locations. I find Ageo is particularly baby and toddler-friendly. Here is a list of our favourite places to go outdoors in Ageo City with our preschooler, toddler and baby. They are all mapped on a Google MyMap at the bottom of the article.

Maruyama Park

URL: http://www.ageo-kousya.or.jp/park/park1/

Free entry and free parking.

3326 Hirakata, Ageo, Saitama Prefecture, Japan. TEL: 048-781-0163. From JR Ageo Station; 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.
You can find more information in English on my blog post Maruyama Park, Ageo City.  Or view more photos on my blog post #Hanami Spot with Toddlers, Maruyama Park, Ageo City.  You can also view what the autumn leaves look like: Autumn scenery in Saitama, Japan

Enomoto Farm

URL: http://www.enoboku.com/

Free entry and free parking. You can pay to milk cows or for a tour.

736-1 Azeyoshi, Ageo, Saitama Prefecture, Japan. TEL: 048-726-1306. From JR Kita-Ageo Station; Tobu bus for Nishi Ageo Shako, takes about 25 minutes. You can also use the city bus “Guruttokun”. By car 15 minutes from the Iwatsuki Interchange on the Tohoku expressway.

You can find more information in English on my blog post  Hanami Spot with Toddlers, Enomoto Farm, Ageo.

Kamihira Park

URL: http://www.city.ageo.lg.jp/page/46-kamihira-kouen.html

Free entry and free parking.

16 Sugaya, Ageo City, Saitama Prefecture, Japan. TEL: 048-776-8986.  From the East exit of the JR Ageo Station you can get a city bus to the park.

For photos and more information in English, see my blog post Where old meet young, Kamihira Park, Ageo City

Hiratsuka Park

URL: https://www.city.ageo.lg.jp/page/46-hiratuka.html

Free entry and free parking.

1212 Hiratsuka, Ageo City, Saitama. Get the city bus, Gurutto, from the east side of Ageo Station. Alight at Hiratsuka Park.

Saitama Water Park

URL: http://www.parks.or.jp/koen_main/saitama-suijo.html

Free entry to the park, but you have to pay to use the facilities. Parking also costs money, 800 yen in peak season.

2 Chome Hinode, Ageo, Saitama Prefecture 362-0032. Tel: 048-773-6711. Tobu bus from JR Ageo Station headed for Omiya and alight at Ageo Undo Park. It’s about a 10 minute walk. You can use the city bus which stops outside the park, but its a 7 minute walk up to the entrance.

On this blog in English: Summer pools at Saitama Water Park | AGEO

Ageo Exercise Park

URL: http://www.parks.or.jp/koen_main/ageo-undo.html

Free playground and free parking. There are car rides at the playground that cost a 100 yen to use. You have to pay to use the sports facilities.

 


Most of these play areas are easily accessible by car from neighbouring areas of Ageo such as Kitamoto City, Okegawa City, Kawajima Town, Ina Town, the West and Minuma Wards of Saitama and Hasuda City.