We have a decent selection of fun indoor play centres in Saitama. Below you will find most of the principal and popular play areas in Saitama prefecture. There are 2 pages of fun and / or play centres featured. Please either scroll down through them or use the search function to help you find a fun or play centre near you.
Play / Fun centres detailed below include:
Aruzoland in Highashimatsuyama,
Kitamoto Children’s Centre,
Kawagoe Station East Exit Jidokan,
Ageo Kodomo no Shiro
and Kawagoe Kodomo No Shiro.
KIDS FREE Sole in HIgashimatsuyama.
Kid-O-Kid in Cocoon City and Kidzoona in OMIYA,
Wai Wai and Cats Eye in SAYAMA,
Kids spo-cha and Niko Niko Garden in AGEO,
Team Lab Islands and Studio Cafe Zoo Adventure in Lalaport in FUJIMI,
Soyu Himitsu no Mori in Mallage in KUKI,
Kids Park in KOUNOSU,
Kid’s US Land and Sweet Fantasy Pacc’n in HIGASHIMATSUYAMA
Kid’s US Land and Hoppe in KAWAGOE
One of the many fun and unique attractions of Lalaport in Fujimi is the Steam Locomotive Cafe on the 3rd floor. The cafe, which is also a train shop, features a number of different model railway towns and a plarail display. You can enjoy the displays as you eat your lunch or have a coffee (see the video at the bottom).
On weekdays, the children’s plate (800 yen in 2015) comes on a bullet train plate, as pictured below. They also have a “Nori Tetsu Meat” dish served with a train made out of seaweed. That comes with a half cooked egg though, so if you are buying for a child you might want to request they fully cook the egg! They have a bullet train cake on the menu too. They provide bumper chairs, and crockery and cutlery for children. You help yourself to water. They don’t have toilets in the cafe itself, but you can use Lalaport’s toilets, 2 of which are close by.
The Steam Locomotive Cafe is open daily from 10am to 9pm, last order for food is 8pm and for drinks it is 8.30pm. The nearest parking is probably car park lot number 2 or 3. The latter is outdoors. All parking in Lalaport is free. TEL: 049-257-6801
Little Miss 2 year old chases the turtle she coloured, in an aquarium of children’s art, in the first picture below ⬇. This is a sketch aquarium where children colour pictures of sea life that are then scanned and projected onto a wall display. It is a virtual sea where the fish the kids coloured in can swim. Just one of the unique activities in the Fujimi Lalaport branch of Team Lab Islands, which is paving the way in modern children’s fun centres. They use projection and other technology to engage the minds of little ones.
My 2 year olds favourite was the virtual stepping stone path you create yourself on a touch screen panel. You can choose which shapes and colours to make your stepping stones. When you are finished creating your stepping stones it is projected onto a simulated river and the kids have great fun walking on their own creations.
The most physical activity is the Illuminated Ball Orchestra, where kids push along large balls that change colour and make music.
Other activities include tabletop touch screen panels where kids can make their own railroads. Another wall simulates various images according to movement. You can touch images to make them move or grow in size. When we were last there it was animals. There isn’t a huge selection, but what they have really engages the children and time flies by for them. More information and images available on their website.
In this article: A full day of fun in one shopping center
Games and free play inAeon
Hours of fun at Kidzoona: one of Saitama’s best indoor play centers
Dog Therapy at P’s First!
UFO catchers and slot machines at Molly Fantasy Video Arcade
Cheap and cheerful in-store Ministop lunch
You could easily spend a full day hanging out on the 3rd floor of Aeon in the Nisshin area of Omiya – ask me how I know! We arrived at 10 am to go to the popular kids fun centre Kidzooona, but the queue to get in was longer than I’ve ever seen it, so we decided to play in Aeon first.
Right beside where you queue for Kidzooona there is a freeplay area for smaller children as well as game machines for older children. They have lots of sample toys out in this area as well as a large wooden train set (not pictured).
The games are popular with lower grades of elementary school aged children. They have a good range including games from some of the more popular TV cartoon’s games such as Yokai Watch, Pokemon and Dragonball.
The kids played for the full 3 of hours, after which we had our lunch on the Aeon side of Ministop. The Ministop has a seating area both in the Kidzooonaplay centre as well as in Aeon, beside the free play area. We sat on the Aeon side as our time was up in Kidzoona. It is advised to buy your lunch early from Ministop as they don’t have a huge quantity of their lunches and sometimes sell out. They have pre-made sandwiches, bento and noodles as well as a small selection of yoghurts, salads and snacks. You can also buy hot food; basically fast food such as chips (french fries).
After lunch the kids played in the Molly Fantasy video arcade corner to the left of Kidzoona (with Kidzoona at your back) and beside the toilets for Kidzoona.
Finally, we went to P’s Firstfor some free animal therapy! This is the only pet shop I know of in Saitama that allows you hold the dogs, even if you are not there to buy one. The cinema was planned, but the kids were too tired after hours of fun. It was home to bed for us!
The visit referred to in this article was on a Sunday, which is one of there busiest days. I have often brought the kids to Aeon in Omiya over holiday periods too, mainly spring break and during summer holidays. During those periods the play center Kidzoona is busier than a regular weekday, but it is not, in my experience, as busy as weekends. It is a nice day out for young children over the school holidays.
On this floor that has Kidzoona, Aeon play area, Molly fantasy video arcade and P’s First there are children’s toilets, regular toilets and a baby room. The other floors have almost everything you would need for personal and home shopping, such as food, clothes, shoes, pet goods, baby goods, home-ware and toiletries. The cinema is on the fourth floor.
There is a wheelchair accessible entrance and parking. Pets are welcome in part of the store. Some floors operate under different hours, but the main opening hours are 9 am to 10 pm. The grocery area opens earlier and runs later and Kidzoona opens later and finishes earlier. Parking is free and plentiful. The parking levels are different to the shop levels. If you park at level four in the car park it brings you into the 3rd floor of the shop, right beside P’s First.
Address: 2 Chome-574-1 Kushihikicho, Kita Ward, Saitama, Saitama Prefecture 331-0825
The Mallage in Kuki city offers a number of facilities and services for children, including the Soyu Himitsu No Mori, or Secret Forest, play centre on the 1st floor.
It has the unique feature of an indoor paddling / splash pool, which is part of the Secret Waterfall area. There is a changing area where you can borrow pool clothes and store your own clothes in coin lockers. Beside the Secret Waterfall area (秘密の滝) there are toilets and vending machines for patron’s use. On the other side of this rest area is the Secret Flowerfield （秘密の花畑） area, which is a ball pool with a bouncy castle in the middle. The Secret Base (秘密の基地) area contains a play area for smaller children with soft toys, shapes and blocks as well as a pretend kitchen. There is a baby cot in this area too. In front of this area the free activity event is hosted at 1pm daily. During this time one or all of the play centre’s mascots participate. The other area in the centre is the Secret Hill (秘密の丘) area which has slides and a flying fox. There is also a table here with colours laid out and you can ask at reception for colouring pages. Information after photo gallery.
Children from 1 to 12 years old 600 yen for the first half hour, 250 yen for every 15 minutes after that. Weekdays during the school year you can pay 1,200 yen for unlimited time. Summer holidays and weekends you can pay 1,200 yen for 2 hours. The car park at Mallage is free.
10 to 21.00, entry 19.00
6 kilometres from Kuki Interchange
15 bus ride from Kuki Station
Saitama has a large number of superb free children’s (community/ play) centres, called jidokan or jido centre “jidose” (児童館・児童センター）. Many mothers agree that Ageo’s kodomo-no-shiro, “children’s castle”, is among the best. In terms of size, equipment and diversity, I would personally rank it as number 1. My children go regularly and they have never tired of it. There is plenty of play equipment, toys and games as well as various rooms including a library, a gym hall and a workshop. Each floor has a rest area with vending machines and toilets. There is a dedicated baby room on the ground floor with free guidance on scheduled days. Also on the ground floor there is a play area restricted to babies and toddlers two and under. There is a large space outside to play as well as a playground in the adjacent park.
Ageo’s Kodomo no Shiro, Children’s Castle in Photos
As you come in from reception the ground floor boasts lots of climbing equipment and slides.
Off to the right of this is a rest area where there are vending machines and bathrooms, including a family bathroom. There is also a space to play games that you can borrow from reception.
The baby room with consultancy is located beside the game and rest area. The baby and toddler play room is at the back of the ground floor on the left handside.
Also, on the ground floor is a gym hall (not pictured) and the exit to the open space and sandpit. From the car park you can see an outdoor playground, but you need to go out of the community centre to access it.
One of the rooms upstairs changes toys periodically. For example, one week they might have “mamagoto” (playing house) toys, another they might have baskets of blocks and foam jigsaw.
There are other rooms including a library and a workshop upstairs that are not pictured.
ADDRESS: Japan, 〒362-0047 埼玉県上尾市今泉272
272 Imaizumi, Ageo City, Saitama 362-0047
PHONE NUMBER: 048-783-0888
ACCESS: Located near the Ario in Ageo. Free parking. By public transport; you can get a bus from JR Takasaki line West exit for 西上尾第二団地 (Nishi Ageo dai ni danchi) and alight at the “Kodomo no shiro mae” bus stop.
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.
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”!
There is also an area with push along rides and construction site costumes and mini diggers.
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.
Areas for babies / toddlers
During busy periods the area below is restricted to babies and toddlers who are not yet walking.
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.
Toys and Sandpit
Below is just a sample of the toys. There are many not pictured, including some musical instruments and building blocks.
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.
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.
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
We visited the Toy’s Kingdom during the summer, while staying in Karuizawa. They have a huge marketing and advertising campaign this year and its working; I would never have known about the place otherwise. It is a nice place for young children and it’s quite reasonably priced.
They have different packages you can avail of. We wanted to stay in one of their hotels with unlimited access to the Toy’s kingdom amusement park, but as they were booked up we stayed in another hotel nearby. We bought two free passes and two entrances, our one year old was free. The free pass does not cover all activities and the rides it does cover weren’t of particular interest to my toddlers, so I would actually recommend for children under 4 that you just purchase the entry ticket. The entry ticket covers the playrooms and small outdoor play areas. You can then purchase tickets separately for the rides you would like to try. One turn on a ride is approximately 300 yen; some are 200 and some are 400. An entry ticket and paying for 4 or 5 rides works out cheaper than buying a free pass. Fishing is not covered by either an entry ticket or a free pass. … Yes, their system is a little confusing! This year there are lots of discount tickets available in many different places, including online. Keep an eye out for flyers in shops, they usually have a coupon attached. The normal price for an entry ticket is 1000 yen for adults and 800 yen for children 2 years old and up. Discounts are usually 100 to 200 yen off this price. The free pass price for adults is 2,800 yen and 2,600 yen for children. Most of the coupons offer 500 yen off these prices.
The kids loved the playrooms. Then 3-year-old son loved the “Tomica” room; wall to wall of cars and trains. 2-year-old daughter loved the mamagoto (playing house) room; kitchens, cookers, shopping, dolls etc.
My one year old also enjoyed the mamagoto playroom as it has a section suited to small babies with Anpanman toys. She also enjoyed the little play area outside this playroom with small slides and push-along-cars.
There is an athletic area that is suited to older preschool and primary school children. This is covered by the free pass, but not by the entry ticket. The kids have to put on elbow and knee pads and helmets for this area. My kids tried it out too, but it was a little beyond their level and they packed it in fairly quickly.
They have a number of different amusement rides, most of them are suited to children of all ages. The one thing I found hard is that even with safer rides such as the carousel they require children younger than 4 be accompanied by an adult per child. At one point, my husband had gone for a roam and my son and daughter both wanted to get on the carousel with me, but they wouldn’t allow it. We had to wait for him to come back. When we were in FujiQ earlier in the year, both children were allowed come on the carousel with me and that was a bigger and faster carousel. There are also a few battery cars, a paddling area (in the summer), a sandbox, beetle “fishing” and other activities dotted throughout the park.
There are a number of eateries, all over priced and drenched in fat! You can bring in your own food and there is open green areas where you can picnic. There is only one feeding room and designated baby changing room. There are quite a few toilets, some with smaller toilets for children. There are coin lockers. You can rent a buggy for a day.
One thing I really liked is that you can come and go from the facility once you have your ticket. We left the park after lunch to go for a drive and we were able to go back in on the same ticket. Parking is free. The surrounding area is also very pleasant and there is a little shop and bakery as you come into the resort with a lovely lake out back.
One thing to note is that this amusement park operates VERY differently during Winter. Please see the website for further details.
To be quite frank I was a little disappointed with Poppo Town, a Railway Cultural Village in Gunma, but I had high expectations due to the excellence of the Saitama Railway Museum which we visit often. There is no comparison between the two. The Saitama Railway Museum is in a league of its own. So taking Poppo Town for what it is rather than comparing it to possibly the world’s greatest railway museum, it was a fun day out with enough to keep a preschooler, a toddler and a baby entertained.
Poppo Town is located in Annaka City near the Nagano border. The location is very scenic and there are other attractions in the area, the most famous being the steam locomotive (SL). The steam locomotive runs through the city and the terminal is beside poppo town. We could see train-spotters set up with their cameras all along the train route as we came off the highway. We didn’t know at the time they were waiting for the D51 498 that would arrive later that day and we were very lucky to serendipitously spot the infamous SL oursevles. The train was removed from an amusement park 2 years ago for repair and restoration and now runs for special occasions in the Annaka City area of Gunma.
Within Poppo Town itself there are various amusement rides for children which cost extra to use. There are also some train experiences, such as a mini-SL and an English train that laps the town, that you can try out also for an extra cost. You can pay for a return ticket on a train that goes out of the theme park to a hot spring. You can book to operate a real train on real tracks, this too costs extra. Some of the things you can do are for free, like try pulling a train with a rope or sitting behind the controls of a train. As most of the things cost extra it can add up to quite an expensive day. Also, in high season the train rides and simulators are often booked up by 10am. Another thing to note is there is little in the way of food so you might want to bring your own.
We had a fun day, but we’ve been, we’ve seen, we’ve tried and once was enough for us. The unexpected view of a real steam locomotive was probably the highlight of the day.
UPDATE 2016: Walker Magazinehas listed Usui Touge Tetsudo Bunka Mura aka Poppo Town and the area of Annaka as a recommended spot to enjoy Autumn leaf foliage in the Kanto Area.
Poppo Town or Usui Touge Tetsudo Bunka Mura (碓氷峠鉄道文化むら）
Address: 407-16 Yokokawa, Matsuida Town, Annaka City, Gunma. Tel: 027-380-4163
Access: 2 minute walk from the Yokokawa Station on the JR Shinetsu line.
4 kilometres from the Matsuida – Myogi Interchange on the Joshin Etsu Expressway. Parking is free. 220 parking places.
Entrance fee is 500 yen for adults, 300 yen for children over 6, preschoolers, toddlers and babies free. Train rides and amusement rides cost extra. Sometimes you can pick up flyers with a discount coupon of 100 yen.
Hakone Open Air Museum was the first of its kind in Japan and today it remains one of the most popular due to its harmonious balance of art and nature. The Museum is most known for its outdoor sculptures, but it also has a number of indoor museums with paintings, prints, ceramics and sculptures. One of the indoor museums houses their Picasso collection, which has more than 300 items.
What I love about this museum is that it is great for children, even toddlers. Below are some photos of the activities available to children;
The “Garden of Stars” is a life-size maze for all ages. You can watch from the top or go down into the maze and try it for yourself.
The “Woods of Nets” is a fun space for kids of all ages. The floor beneath the swings and the climbing maze of the nets is padded. There are low down entrances into the climbing maze, that even toddlers can climb into.
The “Curved Space – Diamond Structure” is another type of climbing space. Smaller children would need to be accompanied by older children or adults.
The “Symphonic Sculpture” is a tower in the centre of the museum. There are great views of the surrounding landscape from the top of the tower.
They loan out baby strollers and wheelchairs for free, subject to availability of course. They also have free lockers, for storing small items of luggage, available. There is a foot spa located beside the Gallery Cafe and Shop. There are two restaurants as well as two cafes. We ate in the “Bella Foresta” restaurant, which is an all-you-can-eat buffet style restaurant. There wasn’t a huge selection, but it was big enough to have something for everyone. There are at least six male and female bathrooms throughout the museum and three multi user toilets which have baby changing facilities.
The museum is open all year round from 9am to 5pm, last entry at 4.30pm. Children up to five years old can enter for free. For up to date entrance fees for older children and adults, please see their website. When we went in 2011 we accessed the museum by car and it was well sign posted and easy to find. The parking at that time was 500円 for the day. The museum is a two minute walk from Chokoku no Mori station on the Hakone Tozan Line. There is also a bus that goes from JR Odawara Station or Odakyu Hakone Yumoto Station to Ninotaira Iriguchi Station which is a five minute walk from the museum.
Address and contact details
Ninotaira, Hakone-Town, Kanagawa-Prefecture, 250-0493 Japan
Tel: 0460-82-1161 Fax: 0460-82-1169
Restaurant and shop information: 0460-82-1141 www.hakone-oam.or.jp
One of the many things I love about life in Japan, is the multitude of free playgrounds, play centres and activities available to all children. Below is a photo of my son climbing at Kawagoe Kodomo No Shiro or Children’s castle, a free community play centre in Kawagoe. This free play centre also has a planetarium on it’s second floor which has a cover charge, but all other facilities at the centre are free.
There is a large open space on the first floor, where free baby and toddler classes are conducted. When there is not a class in action the kids can play with toys, but you have to request the staff get them out for you, unlike in other play centres where they are readily available. There is also a smaller playroom on the first floor suited to infants and toddlers. In this room the toys are laid out for you to use freely. There is a cot in this room for sleeping babies.
On both floors there are toilets designed for children and on the first floor there is a nappy changing unit in the special needs toilet. There is a lunch room on the second floor that can be used for those who’ve brought their own lunch between 12.00 noon and 1 pm. You need to clean up after yourself and bring home your own rubbish.
Like all jidokans and jido centres in Saitama, there are a handful of teachers on duty, who are there to keep the environment safe, run the classes and make sure that adults and children alike are respecting the rules of the jidokan. They are not there to mind your children, but they are usually very helpful and friendly. Some more than others!
This particular jidokan is not as nice or well equipped as many others in the surrounding cities, but the classes are great. Also, if you live in the area, its nice to have somewhere to hang out. I highly recommend these type of play centres in general and the free children’s play groups and classes they run.
The centre is open from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm Tuesday to Sunday, closed on Mondays. It is quite a distance from the nearest station, so a bus is advised. Parking is free. It is separated from the building itself, just a few metres, but you can walk in from the back which is safe from traffic.