Category Archives: Kawagoe Line

Wind chimes at Hikawa Shrine | KAWAGOE

Each summer, Hikawa Shrine displays hundreds of wind chimes during the months of July and August. Today, a storm was brewing up and I instantly thought of going to see the chimes! Last year (2014), when we went the air was so dead that the chimes were also lifeless. Today, we could enjoy their soothing sounds. (Video used with permission).

During the wind chime season, you can add your prayers to the wind chimes by buying an ema, a small wooden plaque, to write your prayer and tie to the chime. Some areas have coloured chimes, while others are clear. At night-time, it is particularly spectacular as the chimes are illuminated and there is a light show in the water feature at the front of the shrine grounds.  Occasionally, there is also live music to accompany the whole sensual experience.

Regular Ema for writing your prayers at Hikawa Shrine
Regular Ema for writing your prayers at Hikawa Shrine
The "ema" (wooden plaques for writing prayers) of Hikawa shrine wind chimes
The “ema” (wooden plaques for writing prayers) of Hikawa shrine wind chimes

During the wind chime period they also have their Tanabata “Star” Festival. It is held annually on the 7th of August:

Tanabata “Star” Festival at Hikawa Shrine


During the Tanabata (Star) Festival at Hikawa Shrine, you can see coloured strips of wishes tied to bamboo trees. You can also write your own wish to add to the bamboo shoots. They have some additional festival stalls and music on that day.

Information and Access

The wind chimes will be available from July 1st for the 2017 season.

The shrine is open from 9am to 9pm. The illumination starts from 7pm. The cafe next door, Musubi cafe, offers seasonal sweets in association with the event.  You can walk from Hon-kawagoe or Kawagoe stations along a tourist route, but it takes about 40 minutes. There is a tourist bus or a regular bus that will bring you close. There is free parking for 300 cars.  The event usually ends late August to early September.

Getting to Kawagoe from Tokyo

From Ikebukuro, cost and route from hyperdia.com;

From Shinjuku, cost and route from hyperdia.com;

 

Address: 2-11-3 Miyashita Machi, Kawagoe, Saitama

Phone: 049-224-0589

You can take a video tour of the wind chimes at the shrine at the official website: http://www.hikawa-fuurin.jp/

 

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 offer.

Playground

This playground was installed in March 2013, replacing a wooden athletic playground.  Now it is a colourful combination equipment playground that suits children of many ages. There are climbing nets, monkey bars, balancing beams, slides, spring rides and sand pits.  All, but the sand pits, displayed in photos hereafter.

The playground in Hidaka Sougou Park
The playground in Hidaka Sougou Park

Waterplay

This park boasts a 165 metre long “babbling brook” (せせらぎ水路) with a paddling pool at the base.

Paddling pool available in the summer
Paddling pool available in the summer

The wading river is protected by the trees, which afford shade during the hot summer.

Exercise Equipment & Flying Fox

There is also exercise equipment and a flying fox in the wooded area beside the playground.

Sporting facilities and club house

There are tennis courts, a baseball pitch, a soccer pitch and 400 metre running track, that can be used at a charge. The club house manages bookings. There is a shower room and toilets in the club house.  The website and contact details are here: http://www.city.hidaka.lg.jp/6,998,24,105.html

Club house
Club house
Soccer Ground and 400 metre long running track
Soccer Ground and 400 metre long running track

Seasonal Activities

  • Hanami / Cherry Blossom Viewing Picnic Area

Hidaka Sougou Park is a popular spot during Japanese Cherry Blossom season. There is a long line of trees alongside the river with dedicated space for setting up picnic mats under the trees.

Hanami area
Hanami area
  • Bug Hunting

The wooded area in Hidaka is ripe with wildlife during the summer. It is possible to catch beetles and stag beetles to keep as pets; a popular hobby of young Japanese children.

The forest in Hidaka Sougou Park, ideal for bug hunting in the summer and acorns in the winter
The forest in Hidaka Sougou Park, ideal for bug hunting in the summer and acorns in the winter
  • Acorn Collecting

Kids love to collect acorns in Japan. This is one of many parks in Saitama, where you can find acorns.

Other facilities

There are toilets in the park, two of which are right beside the playground. There is a drinking fountain. There are changing rooms and showers in the Club House, which can be used at a price.

Access

URL: http://www.city.hidaka.lg.jp/6,998,24,105.html

Address: 1500 Takahagi, Hidaka City, Saitama

Phone: 042-985-7161

By Car: Off route 407, near Musashi Takahagi train station, right beside Hidaka Country Club.

By Train: 15 minute walk from Musashi Takahagi Station on the Kawagoe line.

A DAY OUT IN HIDAKA

There are other nice parks and play areas near this park in Hidaka. I recommend Chikozan Park in neighbouring Sayama, with a small zoo and fun playground, and Saiboku Ham, which has a free play area, plus you can pay to enjoy an onsen there. The Saiboku onsen was recently reopened after a big reform.

 

Kidzoona, Fantasy indoor play centre | OMIYA

Aeon Fantasy Kidzoona is an indoor play centre for children under twelve. Adults must accompany children. In my opinion it is best suited to younger children, such as toddlers and preschoolers up to the age of 6. The centre has a variety of toys, equipment and make-believe play areas, with dress up costumes, for children to engage in creative play. There is one area restricted to babies and small toddlers, who are not yet walking.  There is a convenience store located within the play centre. There is a baby room with a nursing area and changing facilities, but no toilets. To use a toilet you must leave the play area and need to obtain a re-entry pass first. Further information including address, access and price is below the photos.

Dress-up and Make Believe Exhibits

Young children will be creatively inspired by the great selection of pretend shops, restaurants and work places on offer.  Each come with outfits for them to dress-up in.  They can try, for example, a nurses outfit, a baker’s outfit, a fireman’s outfit, to name but a few.

Dress up Make believe exhibits

The post office area allows children to deliver post at a number of little post boxes within the creative play area. They can also collect the post from these boxes and then sort them in the “sorting office”!

Kidzoona Post Office Make believe

There is also an area with push along rides and construction site costumes and mini diggers.

Construction Site

Bouncy Exhibits

As you come in the entrance there is a flat bouncing castle without walls, which is safe even for toddlers. There are a few zorbs close by. The exhibits on the lower part of this collage both have ball pools within the bouncing castle.
Bouncy Exhibits

Areas for babies / toddlers

During busy periods the area below is restricted to babies and toddlers who are not yet walking.

Area for babies

The below area is for all ages, but it is a hit with toddlers as they can draw on anything and everything in this exhibit designated to free drawing.

Free drawing room

Toys and Sandpit

Below is just a sample of the toys. There are many not pictured, including some musical instruments and building blocks.

Toys and Sandpit

Amusement Area

All of the video games and rides in the amusement area are included in the price. For some you need to insert a special coin, which are readily available in big storage bins within the area.

Amusement area

Dining

There is a MiniStop shop on the premises, with seating areas beside it, one of which is Japanese style with zabutons for sitting at on low tables. These areas are dedicated eating areas; there are other seats throughout the play centre.

Ministop in Kidzoona

Further information:

URL: http://www.fantasy.co.jp/brand/kidzooona.html
Address: Aeon 3rd floor, 2-574-1 Kushihikicho, Kita Ward, Saitama
Train access: 12 minutes on foot from JR Nisshin station, 10 minutes walk from Tetsudo hakubutsukan (Railway Museum) station
Opening hours: 10am to 7pm
Price:
Please check the website for up to date details.
One hour: (oosted in 2014) 600 yen for children, 300 yen for accompanying adult
Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays): 1 day pack 990 yen for children over one; 490 yen for accompanying adult
Weekends and public holidays: 3 hour pack 990 yen for children; 5 hour pack 1,290 yen for children (includes a small drink), 1,490 yen for adult

Other indoor play centres in Saitama featured on this blog:

Preschooler fun at Bornelund Kid-o-Kid in Cocoon 2 | OMIYA


Concealed in the back corner of the third floor of Cocoon 2 is a veritable preschooler’s paradise.  Bornelund’s Kid-o-kid recently celebrated its one year anniversary. It still looks li…

Source: insaitama.com/a-toddlers-paradise-at-bornelund-kid-o-kid-at-cocoon-2-saitama-city/

Saitama’s #1 free children’s centre? Ageo Kodomo-no-Shiro

Kid’s US Land in Higashimatsuyama

Team Lab Islands | Lalaport Fujimi

Cats Eye Play and Sports Centre | SAYAMA

【Spo-cha】|Ageo

Mama Smile Making Mama Smile

The girls zorb! | Sakado Jidokan

Soyu Himitsu No Mori, “Secret Forest”; at Mallage, Kuki City

 

 

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)