紅葉 Autumn leaves at Kawagoe Water Park

I love the way in Saitama there is no shortage of places to try out. I’ve known that the Kawagoe Water (/Aquatic) Park, 川越水上公園、is near my house for sometime, but today is the first time I ventured there. I thought the water park was only accessible to paying customers of their summer pools and water slides, but there is a large part of the park that is free to use all year round.

The free parking for the public park is just as you enter the facility under the banner arch. There are no lines to mark out parking spots and much to my surprise (and horror) its parallel parking. Parallel parking is not very common in Japan, especially at a public park. The playground is a bit of a walk, but the scenery is quite pleasant as you pass the lake. The lake has pedal boats and row boats. However, they are not available for hire during winter, from December 1st to March 1st. There are quite a lot of hungry ducks on the lake. Thankfully, I had bread in the baby’s bag, just in case. My kids enjoyed feeding them.

The play area is quite small, but there is enough to keep young children (preschoolers and infants) entertained. The playground equipment can be seen in the gallery, with the few autumn foliage photos I was able to get.

**The park is worth visiting for locals, but it is not worth making the trip from afar in my personal opinion**


Kawagoe Aquatic Park
Address: 880 Oaza-ikenobe, Kawagoe-shi, Saitama
Tel: 049 241 2241
Nearest station: Nishi-Kawagoe station on the Kawagoe Line (JR East)

Kawagoe Sports Park | KAWAGOE

Written in 2013, updated in 2017.

The first time I visited Kawagoe Sports park (川越運動公園)I wasn’t all that enamored with it.  From the point of view of a parent, there is little to entertain older children and it is most suited to a small child.  However, they have recently upgraded the playground and so I have upgraded the park from a 2 star rating to a 3 star rating! Toddlers and preschoolers will enjoy this colourful playground.

The main combination unit of the playground has three slides. One is a tunnel windy one and two are bumpy ones.  There is also a climbing net, a climbing wall and stairs.  There is a smaller combination unit for toddlers. It has some small climbing activities and two colourful slides. There is a giraffe statue in the centre. There is climbing net activity for all ages beside it with fish statues on the top of the poles that support the nets. On the right of the playground is a flying fox type activity.  There is another play area right beside this playground, but they are separated by fencing. It is where the sandpit and spring rides are. There are also some fun audio aural play equipment in the sand pit area.

The park is officially a sports park. It is home to a sports hall with a number of facilities. There is also an athletic track in the park. There are plenty of benches and seats in the park and some picnic tables too. The park boasts a mini bell tower, a symbol of Kawagoe. There are some cherry blossom trees in the park. In the summer they have a very small wading river.

The official hours of the park are 9 am to 9 pm. Parking is free and abundant. However, when there is a big sports event on you may have to use one of the overflow car parks which are a bit of a walk away. There is a bus terminus there, one of the buses goes to Kawagoe station. There are toilets and vending machines.

 

Nearby Attractions

 

Cherry Blossoms at Isanuma Park | Kawagoe

Isanuma park in Kawagoe is a popular spot to enjoy Hanami for locals. There are cherry blossoms along the river at the playground as well as cherry blossoms lining the street that separates the lak…

Source: insaitama.com/cherry-blossoms-at-isanuma-park-kawagoe/

 

Play areas at Shinto Shrines

Shinto shrines are plentiful in Japan, almost every village, town or city has one. There are usually amenities available at popular shrines, including toilets, baby feeding rooms, vending machines …

Source: insaitama.com/play-areas-at-shinto-shrines/

 

Best of Saitama | Maruyama Park, AGEO

Maruyama park is frequently listed in Saitama’s top 3 list of parks. It is personally one of my favourites.  I love that although the park isn’t massive, there is so much to do and see …

Source: insaitama.com/maruyama-park-ageo-city/

New Ice-cream Shop at Enomoto Farm on Popular Cycle course

Enomoto Farm in Ageo is frequently mentioned in guide books to Saitama with small children, due to the selection of bikes and push along toys kids can play with for free.  In more recent years, it …

Source: insaitama.com/new-ice-cream-shop-at-enomoto-farm-on-popular-cycle-course/

 

Santa Claus is coming to…

Santa Claus is coming to the Kodomo no shiro in Kawagoe city, Saitama, on the 12th of December from 11am. You don’t have to book for it, just turn up on the day. It is for children from 1 years old up to and including preschoolers.

Kodomo no shiro, Kawagoe
Address: Ishiwaramachi 1-41-2
Tel: 049-225-7289
Fax: 049-225-7289
E-mail: jido@city.kawagoe.saitama.jp

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紅葉 Autumn leaves at Mizohata Park, Sakado

I tried a new park today. It’s a bit of a hobby of mine to find new places to bring the kids, can you tell!? The park is Mizohata Park in Sakado, only a 2 minute walk from Kitasakado station and quite close to the Sakado Jidokan (free children’s community centre).  It’s a small park; basically a playground and green open space cum baseball field. It has toilets, but what park in Japan doesn’t? It also has free parking, about 20 spaces.

The playground has a unique piece of playground equipment; a flying-fox-coaster. That’s my made up name for it, not sure if it has an official name. It’s a flying fox that goes around and up and down, reminded me of a rollercoaster… take a look at the photo “flying fox” in the gallery! It also has a very basic little maze, visible in the first and second photo in the gallery, with fun play areas in it such as a tunnel, a little house and a slide. There are lots of speaking tube toys; where tubing connects sound horns and other speaking boxes to allow voices to travel to separate points. There are 3 slides, two built like animals and one is a roller slide, 4 swings, a sandpit and 4 spring animals/ vehicles.

Most of the leaves have fallen as you can tell in the photos, but as you can see there was some nice foliage left in parts.

Best of Saitama: Chikozan Park | SAYAMA

Multi-purpose park with Campsite, BBQ, Zoo, Fishing, Sport facilities, Athletic Playground, Multi-use Playground, Beautiful Flora and Fauna.

Chikozan Park in Sayama is close to the controversial proposed site of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Golf Tournament. It is a beautiful vast park with lots of attractions for all types and ages.

There are two playgrounds in the park. Both are set in a wooded area which affords plenty of shade and protection from the elements. They are beside each other too, so kids can run between both and enjoy a couple of hours of fun. The athletic playground was undergoing work for our last 3 visits since the start of the year, but according to the website it is back open for public use. Update February 2017: most of the old equipment of the athletic playground has been removed and they are currently putting in new equipment. Two of the new pieces and one of the old are currently open for use.

The general playground is colourful with some unique equipment. About a 15 minute walk from these playgrounds is the zoo (more information on the zoo: Chikozan Park Zoo). Past the zoo is a marsh with a boardwalk running through it leading to the BBQ area and camping grounds. The camping grounds also has 2 wooden cottages, which are very reasonable to rent. There is other accommodation in Chikozan in the Welfare Center. The welfare center takes care of the BBQ facilities and this is where you can order BBQ food sets. You can barbecue from March.

Sporting facilities include a large sports hall with table tennis, training room, running course, martial arts dojo and many more. There are tennis courts near the children’s zoo. There is a club house in this area. Beside the tennis courts there is a family restaurant. It is a Japanese style restaurant with a raised tatami section which is useful with small kids. The kid’s meal is reasonably priced and quite nice too (pictured below).

The park and its parking are free, but you do need to pay into the zoo (which is very reasonable) and to use some of the facilities such as the tennis courts and camping grounds. You can book online, however their website is in Japanese only. I particularly recommend Autumn and Cherry Blossom season  as a prime time to visit Chikozan park. There is one garden in the park with a number of Cherry Blossoms around a lake. The zoo also has some lovely cherry blossoms pictured below.

Parts of the park can be accessed at all times, but the car parks and various facilities have varying opening and closing times. Generally speaking the park is most accessible between 9 am and 4.30 pm. There are toilets in various locations in the park.

For the Tokyo 2020 Olympics the area of Sayama may well be a pre-games training camp host for RUGBY. The training camp grounds are at Secom Rugby Field very near this park.

In the Area:

Cats Eye Play and Sports Centre | SAYAMA

Cats Eye play and sports centre is very like Spocha in Round 1, just not as classy or clean, and the limited number of staff leave a lot to be desired. There is a smell of stale smoke in the areas …

Source: insaitama.com/cats-eye-play-and-sports-centre-sayama/

Kinchakuda Red Spider Lily Festival | HIDAKA

The famous red spider lilies of Kinchakuda in Hidaka Saitama have begun to bloom and prime viewing is guestimated for the end of September. The season officially opens September 17th until the 2nd …

Source: insaitama.com/event/kinchakuda-red-spider-lily-festival-hidaka/

Hidaka Sougou Park

The Japanese sougou 総合 is used to indicate a multi-purpose park and that is exactly what Hidaka Sougou park is. The park is free in, with free parking.  Here is some of the attractions it has to of…

Source: insaitama.com/hidaka-sougou-park/

A fun day out in Saiboku; Hot springs and Ham! |HIDAKA

Today’s new location for the kids was Saiboku Hot Springs and Ham! We didn’t actually enter the hot springs today, but I have been there myself a few times and it is a nice hot spring. …

Source: insaitama.com/a-fun-day-out-in-saiboku-hot-springs-and-ham/

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Light Art Healing at Cocoon

Light art healing cocoon

Light Art Healing, Winter Illumination at Cocoon, Saitama Shintoshin

Dates: November 2nd 2013 to February 14th 2014
Hours: 17.00 – 24.00
Place: Selected areas of the Cocoon Mall at the east exit of the Saitama Shintoshin station
Price: Free
Parking: Open 9.00 – 1.00. 200 yen for 30 minutes, but if you have a Cocoon card or if you spend more than a 1000 yen in one shop you get one hour free parking. If you use the cinema you get 3 hours free parking.
Address:4-267-2 Kishikicho, Omiya Ward, Saitama City
Phone: 048-601-5050
Access: 1 minute walk from JR Saitama shintoshin Station, about an 8 minute walk from JR Kitayono Station




URL:  http://www.cocoonweb.jp/

Blue lights symphony at Keyaki Hiroba

Blue light symphony
Blue lights Symphony, Winter Illumination at Keyaki Hiroba, Saitama Shintoshin

There will also be winter concerts run the week of Christmas in conjunction with this event, please keep an eye on this blog for more information.

Dates: November 2013 to February 14th 2014
Hours: 17.00 – 24.00
Place: The area of keyabi hiroba which is between Saitama Shintoshin and Saitama super arena
Price: Free
Parking: 400 yen for the 1st hour, 200 yen for each subsequent half hour
Address: 2-27 Kamiochiai, Chuo Ward, Saitama City 338-0001
Phone: 048-600-0070
Access: 2 minute walk from JR Saitama shintoshin Station, about a 7 minute walk from JR Kitayono Station

Starlight Christmas at Shinrin Park

Starlight Christmas Shinrin Park

Starlight Christmas, Winter Illumination at the Central Gate of Shinrin Park

There will also be winter concerts run the week of Christmas in conjunction with this event, please keep an eye on this blog for more information.

Dates: December 13th to December 25th, 2013
Hours: 16.00 to 20.00, last entry 19.30 (Cancelled in event of rain)
Place: CENTRAL GATE of Shinrin Park
Price: 400 yen per adult, 200 yen for senior citizens (65+), 80 yen for children, children under 6 free
Parking: At the central gate, 200 yen Monday to Friday, 300 yen Saturday, Sunday and public holidays
Address: 1920 Yamada, Namegawa-machi, Hiki-gun, Saitama, 355-0802
Tel.: 0493-57-2111 Fax 0493-56-4913
Access: FREE SHUTTLE BUS available on the 14th, 15th and from the 21st to the 25th from Shinrin park station on the Tobu Tojo Line from Ikebukuro. Timetable below. The ride takes approximately 7 minutes. By car; The park is 10 minutes from the Kan’etsu Expressway Higashimatsuyama exit heading towards Kumagaya.

Bus Timetable

From the Shinrin Park Station
15.30
16.25
17.20
18.00
19.00

From the Central gate to the Station
15.55
16.50
17.40
18.25
19.20
20.00

URL: http://www.shinrin-koen.go.jp/english/

Autumn leaves by night at Shinrin Koen

Autumn Leaves by night

Autumn leaves by night at the Central Gate of Shinrin park

Dates: November 1st to December 1st, 2013
Hours: 16.30 to 20.30, last entry 20.00
Place: CENTRAL GATE of Shinrin Park
Price: 400 yen per adult, 200 yen for senior citizens (65+), 80 yen for children, children under 6 free
Parking: At the central gate, 200 yen Monday to Friday, 300 yen Saturday, Sunday and public holidays
Address: 1920 Yamada, Namegawa-machi, Hiki-gun, Saitama, 355-0802
Tel.: 0493-57-2111 Fax 0493-56-4913
Access: FREE SHUTTLE BUS from Shinrin park station on the Tobu Tojo Line from Ikebukuro. Timetable below. The ride takes approximately 7 minutes. By car; The park is 10 minutes from the Kan’etsu Expressway Higashimatsuyama exit heading towards Kumagaya.

Bus Timetable

From the Shinrin Park Station
 Weekday
16.15
16.45
17.05
17.35
17.50
18.20
18.35
19.10
19.25

Weekend
16.20
16.50
17.20
17.40
18.00
18.30
19.00
19.30
19.40

From the Central gate to the Station
Weekday
16.40
17.10
17.30
18.00
18.15
18.45
19.00
19.35
20.00
20.30

Weekend
16.50
17.20
17.40
18.05
18.25
18.55
19.20
19.50
20.00
20.30

URL: http://www.shinrin-koen.go.jp/english/

Letter to Santa event, Peony Walk

Peony walk letter to santa

Update 2015 – Available again this year.

Yesterday, Peony Walk in HigashiMatsuyama opened a “letter to Santa” corner on the 2nd floor in “Peony Court”. It is open from 10am to 9pm. Postcards and pens are provided for the children to write their requests to Santa, then tie them to a Christmas tree.

Access

The mall is only a kilometre from the Takasaka station and about six kilometres from the Higashi Matsuyama Interchange on the Kanetsu expressway.  You can get a bus from Takasaka station for 100 en per adult and 50 yen per child, although walking is just as quick as the bus stops twice.

URL

http://www.peonywalk.com/ (Japanese only)