Category Archives: Breaking news

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:
From the official website:

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:
They are also active on Twitter:  
The official website is:

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.

Moomin theme park coming to Saitama.

For regular readers, you probably already know from my blog that Saitama has a free, small, Moomin-esque park in Hanno City.

“Moomin Valley”, Akebono Children’s Forest | HANNO

However, you may not yet have heard about the deal that has been signed to open an amusement park, METSA, at Lake Miyazawa in Hanno. This is set to be open for business as soon as Spring 2017. in before summer 2018. News was received at the start of 2017 that the completion of the park has been delayed and is now expected to be open for business sometime between Autumn 2017 and Spring 2018. It is being built adjacent to the current park, which will remain free. This will be the first Moomin themed park to be built outside of Finland.

Although, Hanno City borders Tokyo, it is not that easy to get to and it is quite rural. Here’s hoping they plan to improve infrastructure before the opening of the park. No doubt, the park will be a popular tourist attraction during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. There is quite a lot to do in Hanno City, for people of all ages and backgrounds. Outdoor activities include camping, BBQs, river related sports and activities, horse-riding and stay tuned for more! Another place of interest is their public library,  with its impressive wooden architecture.

Whenever I hear Finland mentioned, I automatically think of my blog buddy “Free but Fun” who maintains an excellent blog about things to do in Finland. As well as other free but fun ideas including crafts.  You can check that out here:

Information for current free park

Address: 893-1 Azu, Hannō-shi, Saitama-ken 357-0046
Phone: 042-972-7711
Open: 9AM–5PM
Information in English on this blog:  Moomin Valley, Akebono Children’s Forest | HANNO

Affiliate link**: You can buy Moomin products on

::As of June 9th 2017 is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Japan’s 1st Lego School and Store

The Lego Store

Japan’s 1st lego school, an after school education programme, opened in Lalaport, Fujimi, last month.

The “school” runs a number of different programmes, by age group. A lesson costs 3,000 yen.

Next door is the lego store.  The lego store sells lego sets as well as individual pieces by a pick and mix option. There are two small play tables and a wall area that kids can use and play with lego for free.

More information is available on their website:

The lego store Wall lego play area Pick and mix

News for Saitama. Children’s castle, Railway museum and LALAPORT

There are quite a few things to look forward to in the New Year in Saitama. For example, Kawagoe’s kodomo no shiro (children’s castle) will reopen for business on January 4th, after 2 months of renovations. The new LALAPORT in Fujimi City is on schedule to open March 31st. And rumour has it the work of expanding the railway museum in Omiya, to 1.5 its current size, will start later in the year.  🙂

Here’s hoping you have your own great news in 2015. Wishing you all the very best for the New Year.


A little hope in Japan’s politicans…

1-letter to emperor
Today, at an Autumn Garden Party hosted by the Emperor and Empress of Japan an actor turned politician, Taro Yamamoto, handed the Emperor a letter in an unprecedented move. It is not forbidden to hand the Emperor a letter during one of their bi-annual Garden parties, but somewhat of an unspoken rule.

Taro Yamamoto has often been in the news since the Fukushima Nuclear disaster due to his passionate anti-nuclear views. He is especially known for raising concerns for the children of Fukushima. The letter he gave the Emperor supposedly outlines the perils of the continuing crisis at Fukushima and his worries for the health of people in the area. He is receiving a lot of criticism for his daring move and is being accused of trying to use the Emperor for his political goals. I would think, and this is just an opinion, that those who are in favour of nuclear energy are making the most noise. I, for one, am excited by his bold action. It has instilled a little hope that there may finally be some progress and proper steps taken to curtail the debacle that is Fukushima.

I wait with bated breathe to see how or if the Emperor responds or takes a stronger standing on the Fukushima situation. Currently, the Emperor holds a more symbollic role than an actual imperial ruler, but he has the power to be more influential.

The following article incorrectly refers to Yamamoto as a Lawmaker.

Japan lawmaker breaks taboo with nuclear fears letter for emperor – World | The Star Online.