Water play and pedal cars at Hanasaki Water Park | KAZO

Facility Map of Hanasaki Park
Hanasaki Water Park in Kazo made quite an impression on me. It isn’t a huge park, but there is a lot to do in the relatively small area. So much so, I recommend it as one of those parks that it is worth a journey to, even just once. That is, if you are in Saitama!


There are two main attractions of this park. One is the water park, which is available from mid July to end of August. It has a number of different pools, including one for kids, and a Jacuzzi . You can also rent floats, pool beds and a boat for a separate charge. The other main attraction is the bike hire which includes some pretty unusual and fun bikes. The bikes are charged by the hour for the number of people that can ride them. They have quirky bikes for one, tandems for two (of course!), even a car bike, for want of a better description. Its a bike in the shape of a car, or maybe a car that you cycle! Oh…maybe we call them pedal cars – please comment if you know the answer! Whatever you call it; its great fun. The kids loved this the most.


The park has a lot to offer other than the most popular attractions. The playground has a great big combination piece of equipment. Beside it there are some spring rides and small slides suited to small children. They also have stepping stones, climbing rungs, a little house and other pieces of equipment. There is a large gasebo beside the play area with benches and a couple of tables. Nearby is a wading river that opens early June. The BBQ area can be used during that time too. There is also a scenic river on the far side of the park lined with magnificent conifer (meta sequoia) trees. There is a walkway beside with a wooden path over a type of lotus pond, with other beautiful scenery in different seasons.  There is a lake with pedal AND swan boats for hire. The pools are used as fishing ponds out of season (don’t want to think about that too much!).  The battery cars in the pool area are accessible most of the year. They have putter golf and sports grounds. There is a small flower garden maze and a wide open grass area.  There is even a restaurant, but it closes during off season.  You can find up-to-date costs for each activity on the website, which is linked below.

So you see, it is a park worth visiting at some point, even out of summer season.  If you do plan to go during the summer, please see the up-to-date charges on the website, linked below. The park also recommends that you arrive early to get a parking spot, particularly on Saturdays when the park is at its busiest.


**Please note that some of the services are not available on Mondays, except during the 6 weeks of summer holidays**

Bicycle costs at Hanasaki Park
Costs to hire the bikes, Putter Golf and Table Tennis at Hanasaki Water Park in 2015

Please see the website for up-to-date costs.

Address: 1722 Mizubuka, Kazo, Saitama

Tel: 0480-65-7155

URL: http://www.parks.or.jp/kazohanasaki/about.html (Japanese only)


Train: About a 15 minute walk from Tobu Isesaki Line Hanasaki Station

Car: Approximately 3 kilometers from Kazo Interchange of the ken-o expressway.
Parking: Free out of pool season, but once the pool opens it costs 820 yen for the day. Spaces for up to 1,200 cars. Between April and September the car park is open from 8am to 6.30pm. From October to March it closes at 5.30pm.

Summer in Isanuma Park | Kawagoe

Isanuma park in Kawagoe is a popular spot with locals. It also attracts professional photographers and bird lovers from further afar, who come to capture the wildlife on the lake. It is not a big park, but it has good facilities for its size.

In summer, the trees of the wood and its position by a river and lake make it a little cooler than central Kawagoe. There are some Gazebos in the woods too, affording extra shade. The main attraction for families is the water play: a splash pool and wading river. The paddling pool part is only partly in the shade, but the wading river enjoys good cover from the burning sun. Another attraction during summer is the BBQ facilities. However, you need to have a local in your group to be allowed book a coveted BBQ spot.  In mid-July, every other year Kawagoe’s fireworks display are launched from this park.

Scroll down for address and access details.


Other articles about Isanuma Park



SPRING: Cherry Blossoms at Isanuma Park

AUTUMN: Fall leaves in Kawagoe Isanuma Park



Address: 584 Numata, Isanuma, Kawagoe 〒350-0855 埼玉県川越市 大字伊佐沼字沼田町584

TEL: +81 49-222-1301

Parking: Parking is available on two sides of the park. The most convenient and largest is the parking lot opposite the lake.  There is also parking along the west side industrial area and by the small hotel and tennis courts on the North West side of the park.

By Bus: Take a bus for Kawagoe Green Park and alight at Isanuma Bouken no Mori, approximately 5 minutes walk from bus stop.

URL: http://www.city.kawagoe.saitama.jp/kurashi/sports_koen/koen/isanuma.html


Special Takara Tomy summer event in Yokohama

Takara Tomy 1
FROM THE TAKARA TOMY WEBSITE http://www.takaratomy.co.jp/event/eventlist2/tomica2015-yokohama.html

This August the special Takara Tomica event is back by popular demand. It is being held at Pacifico Yokohama again. Not only can you see how the factory operates, but the kids can make cars and play with plarail.

Dates: August 11th to 21st.

Cost: Tickets bought on the day cost 1000 yen for junior high school age children and adults, 800 yen for kids. Children under 2 are free. As part of a special summer campaign “Minato Yokohama Yukata festival “, if you are dressed in Yukata you receive a 100yen discount on the price.
Time: You can enter anytime between 10am and 4pm.
Place and access in English – http://www.pacifico.co.jp/english/index.html

(Last year there was a 100yen discount for tickets bought in advance. The PHONE # for booking was: 03-5435-0604. MOnday to Friday. Its not open yet for this year. I will update when it is. )

The event has not yet been added to the site : http://www.takaratomy.co.jp/

You can see last year’s details here:


In English : Special Takara Tomy summer event in Yokohama

Takara Tomy 2
FROM THE TAKARA TOMY WEBSITE http://www.takaratomy.co.jp/event/eventlist2/tomica2015-yokohama.html
Takara Tomy 3

Summer Festivals in Saitama July 14th – 20th 2016

What an absolutely fabulous selection of festivals on offer the first weekend of the summer school holidays. There is something for everyone in Saitama the weekend of July 16th to 20th. From the very traditional, history rich Japanese festivals, to a taste of Brazil in a Summer Carnival. From family friendly children processions to beer garden alcohol laden adult friendly festivals!  The choice is as extensive as it is diverse.

Below is a list of the some of the larger, more famous or well attended festivals you can enjoy this weekend, with links to more information in Japanese. Please note, that if there are any typhoons there maybe changes to the planned schedules and possibly cancellations, too.

Satte Festival

July 14th, 16th and 17th

The large lantern floats are one of the major attractions of this annual 4 day festival. You can see them this year on the evening of the 17th from about 6pm.  Over the 4 days there are different events happening around the exit of Tobu Nikko Line Satte Station.  More information here (May 2016 – online information for 2016 festival has not been updated yet).


Okegawa Gion Festival

July 15th and 16th

The Okegawa Gion Festival has about 400 festival stalls and attracts about 100,000 people over the 2 days of festivities. Both days the festival runs between 3pm and 9pm approximately. The festival is close to the East exit of JR Takasaki Line Okegawa station. More information here. 

Summer Carnival in Tsurugashima

July 16th

SUmmer Carnival tsurugashima
Image taken fom the Saitama Tourist Office

This colourful carnival, just a minute from Tsurugashima station, is quite different from the traditional festivals at this time of year, but just as fun and vivacious.  This event will take place even it is raining. Image taken from the Saitama’s Tourism Bureau.  More information from the Tsurugashima City Official website here .

Fukiage Festival

July 16th and 17th

From the Kounosu City Official website

This local festival in Kounosu is not as well-known or well attended as the Paper Lantern festival, but its a fun day out all the same. There is a portable shrine during the day and an illuminated float at night. You can also enjoy a beer garden. It is held near the Fukiage station on the JR Takasaki line. More information here.

Sugito Festival

July 16th  and 17th

Awaiting updated flyer from the official page.

2014 Flyer from the official website

Sugito is most famous for the Tobu Zoo and amusement park. The town really bands together for their annual festival. There is a fantastic line-up of events over the 2 day festival, including child friendly attractions, even a children’s parade. From the official website: More information here.


Honjo Festival

July 16th and 17th

From the Honjo Tourism website

This festival occurs every year on the 2 days preceding “umi no hi”, an annual holiday in Japan. It attracts about 40,000 people. There are 70 stalls. One of the unusual features of this festival is the 雨乞獅子“rain begging lions” or lion dancers performing rain dance; a very unique twist on a shishimai performance, which is most common at New Year. There is a children’s portable shrine procession and parade from 3.30pm on the Saturday, at the community plaza public space.

You can find more information and the schedule on the official website.

Yono Festival

July 16th and 17th

There are a couple of local festivals in Yono this weekend. You can get more information on the Saitama Tourism and International Relations Bureau website here.

Yoshikawa Summer Festival

July 16th and 17th

Awaiting for an updated flyer from the official website.

From the offical Yoshikawa website

This 400 year old festival is the pride of Yoshikawa city. It is quite different to other festivals in that it is spread out geographically and does not take place in one central location.  You can find out more on the official website here.

Kazo Festival

July 16th  and 17th

Image taken from Kazo City’s website

Mikoshi, portable shrines, floats with traditional music and masked dancers performing sacred dances. The official website:Kazo City festival

Sakado Festival

July 16th – 17th

It is not as big as some of the other summer festivals this weekend, but there is dance and parading floats. Please check out the official website for more detail on this local Sakado Festival.

Omiya Summer Festival

July 17th

Taken from Saitama Tourism and Internationl Relations Bureau (STIB)

The festival officially starts at 3pm, but the portable shrine progression will start around 5pm. It takes place to the south exit of Omiya station. This event will most likely NOT take place in the event of rain.

Information on the official website; Saitama Tourism and International Relations Bureau.

Kuki Lantern Festival / Tenno Festival

July 18th (also held on July 12th)

This festival celebrates local folklore and is famous throughout Japan. Huge floats of paper lanterns are carried through the town. From the official festival website: http://kuki.jpn.org/main/kankoukyoukai/maturi/

Chichibu Kawase Firework Festival

July 19th – 20th

Chichibu Kawase Festival

This festival is quite hard to get to, but people still come from far and wide to enjoy the cooler temperatures and the celebrations at the 2000 year old Chichibu shrine. It attracts about 40,000 people and there are about 300 stalls.  There are also fireworks on the 19th from 20.00. 1300 fireworks will be launched.

This is NOT the official website, but it has the most detail: http://navi.city.chichibu.lg.jp/p_festival/1273/

Kagohara Summer Festival

July 19th to 20th

From the official Kumagaya City website

Held on the 19th and 20th each year, even if they are weekdays. This festival in Kumagaya is much lesser known than the famous Kumagaya Uchiwa festival. It is held near Kagohara station. More information on the official site here.



Peter Rabbit lodgings during Golden Week trip | SHIZUOKA

A welcome sign in English "Welcome Friends Slowly Smiling"
A welcome sign in English “Welcome Friends Slowly Smiling”

For the last 7 years we’ve been going to a resort in Gotemba every Golden Week.  The resort has a choice of accommodation ranging from hotel rooms to self catering lodges. This year we stayed in the “slow house villa” area in a yurt or パオ (Pao) as they are called in Japanese.  The yurts in the complex are designed on a theme. Our room was one of the Peter Rabbit themed lodgings.

The Peter Rabbit influence may well have gone beyond the interior of the yurts, as the slow house villa area is reminiscent of a rabbit’s burrow. It was great fun for the kids to find their way around the maze like paths. Management makes good use out of the design too, laying out a scavenger hunt challenge of sorts for guests of the slow house villas. The kids followed clues to find letters which, when all were discovered, spelled out a word. On presenting the word to reception they got a prize of Peter Rabbit stickers. Another treat for guests of these particular lodgings is a fluffy bunny rabbit (soft toy) hidden in the room – if you find it, you get to bring it home. (You can also borrow teddy bears and soft toys from reception to keep in your room during your stay).

The view of the maze of Peter Rabbit lodgings taken from the Big Bang playground, with Mt Fuji in the background
The view of the burrow of Peter Rabbit lodgings, taken from the Big Bang playground, with Mt Fuji in the background

The yurt itself was also a great source of excitement for the kids. They aren’t the most practical, but between the Peter Rabbit paraphernalia and the spacious loft, it was a dream come true for the kids to stay there. They are also the lodgings closest to the big playground, which turned out very convenient for us. They have a hot spring in the villa area (one of many in the resort) and it is where the pet hotel is too. This is also the area with the resort’s badminton court, games room (billiards and table tennis), reception for some activities (such as fishing and segways) and where they have the magnificent night time water, illumination and projection mapping show.  The breakfast hall is a little bit far away, but it is a nice walk, with some great views of Mt Fuji.

While I enjoyed the novelty, I did think the room was quite dingy, dark and hard to regulate temperature. I did enjoy staying there and the kids certainly did, but once was enough for me. There are other accommodations within the resort that are more practical for big families and people with young children. My top two in the resort are the Blueberry Lodges and the Western/Eastern fusion room in the Tokinosumika hotel.  For anyone who is interested in more information about the resort it is linked below the photos from the playground.

The Resort

Information about accommodations and attractions: –
Shizuoka, Gotemba. Family resort with Accommodation, Hot springs, Dining, Shopping, Sports & Much much more

One of the hotels within the resort

Hotel Tokinosumika, Gotemba, Shizuoka

Lodges within the resort

Blueberry Lodge at Tokinosumika, Shizuoka (And Shaun the Sheep!)

Some of the attractions within the resort

Peter Rabbit Slow House Villa Tokinosumika