Category Archives: SPLASH / WADING / PADDLING POOL

Hanasaki Water Park | Kazo

Facility Map of Hanasaki Park
We have only been to Hanasaki Water Park once, due to the distance from our house, but it 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!

POOLS AND BIKES

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.




ATTRACTIONS GALORE!

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.

INFORMATION

**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)

Access

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

PLAYGROUND INFORMATION:

 

SPRING: Cherry Blossoms at Isanuma Park

AUTUMN: Fall leaves in Kawagoe Isanuma Park

 

Information

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

NEARBY PARKS

Kamiya Park Play&Sports ground + Skateboarding | Kounosu

Ever wondered where you can skateboard legally and safely in Saitama? One place I know of is Kamiya Park in Kounosu, which has a designated skateboard park. This multi-use park has a number of sporting facilities, it even has a stadium. The best part: it also has a brand new playground and a wading river which are almost completed. Although, the park is still under construction you can use the playground freely.

The skateboarding area costs money, but for residents of Kounosu it is only 200 yen for school aged children and adults and 100 yen for preschoolers. For people who do not reside in Kounosu it costs 400 yen for adults and students and 200 yen for preschoolers. They have skateboards and helmets to rent for an additional charge. They have skateboard lessons available too. It is open from 8am all year round (except New Years holidays) until 4pm in the winter and until 6pm in the summer.  The official website for the skate park (Japanese only): http://kamiyaskatepark.com/

Other sporting facilities in the park include a stadium, baseball pitch, tennis courts, a soccer pitch, street basketball court and a multi-purpose ground. The baseball pitch, soccer pitch, multi-purpose ground and tennis courts need to be booked and there is a small fee. General facilities include a club house,  free parking, walking paths, a lawn, toilets,  vending machines, a wading river and a playground. The playground is beside the skate park and wading river.

The playground is suited to smaller children. There is something in the playground to engage my younger kids aged 5, 3 and 1. However, although my 6 year old enjoyed it the first and only time he has been, I am not sure he would find the playground as enjoyable a second time. It is best suited to preschoolers.

Information

Park Website: (Japanese only) http://www.kamiya-sk.ecnet.jp/index.html#
Skatepark Website: (Japanese only) http://kamiyaskatepark.com/

Access
Address: 707 Kamiya, Kounosu, Saitama 365-0027

Saitama Children’s Zoo

The Saitama Children’s Zoo in Takasaka, Higashimatsuyama, is fantastic value for money and one of the best days out for children in Saitama prefecture.  The zoo is spread over a large area and there is so much to do, see and experience, that you would definitely need to allocate a full day for a trip to this zoo. Apart from the animals, they have a large athletic playground beside a smaller playground, a Beatrix Potter museum with a small playground, a dinosaur corner, a small amusement area with battery cars and rides, a splash pool in the summer and there is an indoor play area with a climbing area outside (please see Children’s Castle below).   Throughout the zoo they have photo props, interactive educational corners with quizzes and challenges for the kids, as well as plenty of rest areas, toilets and places that sell food.

Highlights

Petting area

In the petting area the children have an opportunity to get up close and personal with farm and domestic animals. Three times a day at 10.30am, 1pm and 3pm they bring out guinea pigs and rabbits for the children to hold and pet.  Sometimes they have baby chicks or snakes, too. When the hour long session is over they have an animal parade where the guinea pigs walk down a long bridge back to their home. Outside of petting hour there is still an opportunity to get to close to farm animals as you can walk freely among pigs, goats and ducks. They provide brushes so you can brush down the animals and there are pooper-scoopers so that the kids can sweep up the animal’s poop. This is all included in the entrance price to the zoo.

 

Other Experiences

  • Next to the petting area is the cows. At 11am, 1pm and 2.30pm it is possible to try milking the cows under the supervision of the zoo staff. It is included in the price.
  • Passed the cows there is the penguin area which is relatively new. For 300 yen you can feed the penguins, but they limit the number to 30 people a day. You can buy a ticket from 30 minutes before the feeding times which are 10.15am and 1.30pm.
  • For 200 yen children over the age of 4 can ride a pony in the paddock beside the stables, which is close to the main entrance of the zoo. This experience is possible between 10.30 and 11.30 am and again between 1 and 3pm.  For adults the price is 300 yen.
  • On weekends it is possible to feed the goats between 2.30 and 3.15pm, it costs 100 yen for a cup of feed.
  • On weekends it is possible to feed the ponies between 3.15 and 3.45pm, it costs 100 yen for a cup of feed.
  • On the first Sunday of the month they have a class about animals from 2.30pm.
  • Every month on the 2nd Sunday you can try your hand at butter making for just 200 yen. You need to book in advance.
  • Every month on the 3rd Sunday they have an “Enrichment day”. Each time they discuss a different animal in detail.
  • Every Saturday they have a craft class.
  • On weekends they have tours of the giraffe’s paddock.
  • On the 2nd Saturday of each month they have story time; please see the “Children’s Castle” below.
  • Zoo train which costs 200 yen to ride once or 300 yen to use throughout the day.

Seasonal attractions

One thing I really love about this zoo is that even though we go quite a lot, there is always something different to try. Throughout the year the classes mentioned above as well as the special events change quite frequently. It is best to check the website for up-to-date information and a full list of what’s on offer. Here are some of the more regular seasonal attractions:

  • Capybara onsen – Winter
    • 2016 the Capybara onsen will start from November 19th until the end of March 2017. The first 12 people there at 14.30 will be able to get up close and personal and dip your feet in a foot onsen. On December 18th they will be giving gifts to the animals.
  • Australian animal Fair – Spring
  • Sheep shearing – Spring
  • Cherry blossoms – Spring
  • Splash pool – Summer
  • Night zoo – Summer
  • Autumn leaves – Autumn
  • New Year cards photo opportunity – Autumn / Winter

2016 Capybara Onsen, Art Festival and Gift giving day information:

Capybara Onsen @ Saitama Children’s Zoo | HIGASHIMATSUYAMA

 

Children’s castle

For an extra 100 yen the kids can enjoy an indoor play area with a library room and talking tree. On the 1st floor they have a special tree that tells stories and plays music. Behind that is a ball pool with boats on top of the balls. Beside that is a cinema room with educational videos. There is a climbing tunnel from the 1st floor to the 2nd floor and also a ramp that is wide enough for a wheelchair and strollers. The kids can take a slide back from from the mezzanine to the first floor. On the 2nd floor there is a padded play area with wooden toys and building toys. There is a snake slide and frog cave in the padded area too. Beside it is the library room.  Here is where they have the story time once a month.

General Information

Hours: 9.30am to 5pm except winter when it closes at 4.30pm. Costs: 510 yen for adults, 210 yen for children between 6 and 15. Free for children under 6. CLOSED ON MONDAYS all year round (except national holidays) and on Tuesdays too during the month of January.
Parking: For 800 cars, costs 600 yen per day. At weekends during peak season, there is an overflow car park. There are also some unofficial parking areas beside the overflow car park that open on busy days and cost 500 yen a day.

TEL: 0493-35-1234

URL: http://www.parks.or.jp/sczoo/index.html

Access: 554 Iwadono, Higashimatsuyama, Saitama 355-0065

Heisei no Mori, Kawajima Town, West Saitama

“This way to Japan’s longest rose tunnel”

Heisei no Mori is a park in West Saitama in a town that has recently become better known, due to its exit on the Ken-o Expressway.  Kawajima town, also referred to as Kawashima town,  is beside the cities of Sakado, Kawagoe,  Higashimatsuyama and Okegawa.

The park has started to make its mark and become more popular and famous due to its claim on having the longest rose tunnel in Japan. It is 330.5 metres long. 日本一長いバラのトンネル. Their annual park festivals are also becoming more known and popular in the last few years. The wading pool and river is often listed in summer travel magazines for kids, adding to it’s increasing popularity. The drive-thru Starbucks I pass on route, is an added attraction for me.  However, lack of public transport to the park and it’s distance from a train station ensures that the park is never too crowded.

Rose Tunnel Gallery

Heisei no Mori has a large playground with combination equipment including, but not limited to, a long slide, climbing walls and nets, and smaller slides. There is also a sandpit, spring rides, a flying fox and a smaller combination unit for young children.  Beside the rose tunnel there is also a small playground for younger children. There is no shade in the large playground and limited shade in the small playground. However, they also have a particularly nice splash pool and wading river,the latter of which is shaded in many parts.The wading river starts running at the weekends first, during the month of May and eventually is available daily.

Playground gallery

There is no restaurant or shop on the premises, but there is a cafe at one exit of the park. There is also a library and public hall beside the park. There are 3 toilets in the park.  Parking is free.  The park holds three annual festivals. One on boys day, May 5th, one toward the end of May in celebration of the roses, and one on the 23rd of November.  Apart from the rose garden, there is a lotus pond and many flowers including the flower of Kawajima town, the Iris Ensata. The park is quite pretty throughout the seasons.  You will see artists and photographers alike capturing the beauty of the flowers in this park.  There are some sporting facilities in the park including a running track, soccer field and fishing.

Wading River and Paddling Pool Gallery

Access:
By train and bus – Take a bus, from East exit of Tobu Tojo line Kawagoe station, bound for Konosu. 20 minute walk from 「川島農協前」(Kawajima Nokyou mae) bus stop.
By car – 5 minute drive from the Kawajima exit of the Ken-O expressway.

 

Contact:
TEL: 049-297-5701

URL: http://www.town.kawajima.saitama.jp/

The Iris of Heisei no Mori

THIS POST WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED ON ANOTHER BLOG.

Besshonuma Park, Urawa, Saitama City

I read an article on the DailyPost with suggestions for surviving NaBloPoMo. One of them was plagiarise yourself. Duly noted and executing that suggestion in this post! Not a particularly exciting post and far from detailed, but I like to give the good parks of Saitama a searchable link in English and seen as today is “Choos-day”. This one is from an old blog of mine that no longer exists.

Besshonuma Park is centrally located, only a 5 minute walk from Naka-Urawa Station on the Saikyo Line. The park can be reached from Ikebukuro or Shinjuku in about 30 minutes. One of the many attractions of the park is its design. The playground is well spread out and is encircled by trees, which give shade in the summer and protection from winds throughout the year.

Other attractions include (you will find some pictured in the library);

  • Infant and toddler friendly playground equipment
  • Vending machines
  • A restaurant on site
  • A wading stream during the summer
  • Fishing
  • Walking/jogging course
  • Cherry blossoms
  • Autumn foliage
  • Free parking

Information
TEL: 048-711-2290
ADDRESS: 4 Bessho, Minami-ku, Saitama 336-0021
URL: http://www.sgp.or.jp

Please do share some of your favourite parks!

Shinrin Park | NAMEGAWA

Shinrin park (also known as Musashi Kyuryo National Goverment Park) is vast, 304 hectares to be precise. To put that in perspective; 65 times the size of Tokyo Dome! There is an entrance fee for children over the age of 6 and parking is charged, but it is well worth the money as there are lots of things to do and see for people of all ages. They also host special events most weekends and during holidays, which often cost extra money.

Due to the size of the park there are different exits, each with their own parking lot. The adventure playground, giant ball play area and the musashi kids dome are close to each other and accessed from the West entrance. They are all walkable from the entrance and from each other. In the summer, there is a splash pool which is near the adventure playground. The West entrance adminisitration building at that entrance has a shop, seating area, nursing room, nappy changing area, microwave and toilets including a wheelchair accessible toilet. The “ponpoko mountain”, Japan’s largest trampoline, is at least a 20 minute walk away. That, the botanical gardens, restaurant and seasonal illumination are accessible from the Central Gate. The popular tree climbing event is close to this entrance too.  The plum blossom and cherry blossom groves are closest to the South Entrance. The Dog Run is closest to the North Entrance.

Adventure playground
Adventure playground

The adventure playground has 23 different pieces of equipment,  including the very popular pirates ship.

Musashi Kids Dome
Musashi Kids Dome

The Musashi Kids Dome is a colorful play area for kids of all ages. There are quirky slides, climbing chambers, a ball pool, spring rides and more.

Giant Ball play area

Giant Ball play area

Giant balls are put out on a fine day. They are beside the Musashi Kids dome and close to the athletic / adventure playground. They are free to use.

Ponpoko Mountain
Ponpoko Mountain

Japan’s largest outdoor mountain trampoline is quite a walk from any entrance, but the central gate is probably the closest. Kids must be over 3 years old to play on the main trampoline, but they have a smaller one beside it that even smaller kids can play on.

The walk between entrances is quite long, so if you prefer to use an easier mode of transport, the park has some on offer. You can’t bring your own bikes into the park, but you can rent a bike. It is 410 yen to rent an adult bike or mamachari for 3 hours, 200 yen for children. They have designated cycling courses.  The easiest is the park bus that goes between the gates of the park and stops at popular spots en route. It costs 210 yen for an adult per ride or you can buy a day pass for 400 yen.  Small buggies / strollers are available to borrow for free. They have segway tours too, but you have to be over 16 to use them and must use them in a tour group.

Bikes for hire
Bikes for hire
Park Bus
Park Bus
Segways
Segways

During the summer there is a 2500m2 paddling and wading pool as well as mist and fountains. The water depth ranges from 5 to 30cm.  You can enjoy as early as April and they run to mid October. They close the waterplay area some Tuesdays and Wednesdays for cleaning. They have lockers, but no changing rooms. Nappies (diapers) are allowed, but the pool type, water nappies, are not. There is a tuck shop beside the wading pools, that sells ice cream and kaki-kori.

This park is beautiful all year round, but especially during cherry blossom and autumn foliage seasons.

There are many activities and attractions on offer all year round as well as seasonal attractions and events. During January the park closes the 3rd and 4th Monday. Opening hours are 9.30-17.30. The phone number is 0493-57-2111. Please visit their website, for further information in English about access and entrance and parking fees; http://www.shinrinkoen.jp/english/

 

Check the plum blossom and cherry blossom schedule and find some events in Shinrin Park in this schedule of events for Saitama.

 


 

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.

 

Parks with Waterplay in the Greater Tokyo Area | K-A International Mothers in Japan

My latest contribution to the KA Japan website; kajapan.org. A round of parks where the kidlets can play with water in the Greater Tokyo Area, which includes Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama.

via Parks with Water Play in the Greater Tokyo Area | K-A International Mothers in Japan.

PREVIEW:

Summer has started and the heat is already on! Thankfully, there is a huge selection of parks with water play areas in the Greater Tokyo Area to help us cool down.

Water play includes such things as spray pads, spray pools, paddling pools, wading rivers, splash pools, spray grounds, lazy rivers or other recreational water environments. It does not include swimming or bathing pools.

The Greater Tokyo Area refers to the metropolis of Tokyo and its surrounding highly populated prefectures of Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama.

Parks with water play are introduced by area, quoted by KA Mother who introduced or recommended them, with some additional information added.

TOKYO

Amy N recommended some wonderful parks with waterplay, suitable to young children:

Hikarigaoka Koen; Exit A3 of “Hikarigaoka (end of Oedo line). Fountain is open year-round! The park itself is huge and has an excellent playground (10 min walk from the fountain). There is a kiosk near the fountain that sells ice cream and other treats.”
URL: http://www.tokyo-park.or.jp/park/format/index023.html
This park was also featured in our cherry blossom viewing round-up article. You will find further information and access details in that article.

PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINK TO READ MORE: http://kajapan.org/general/parks-with-water-play-in-the-greater-tokyo-area/

Saitama Museum of Rivers | YORII

Saitama Museum of Rivers is located in Yorii town. It is home to the largest water mill in Japan. It has a number of facilities available under the general admission price including their main educational hall where children can learn about rivers in general as well as river dams, transport,
trivia, the role of rivers through history and specific information about the rivers in Saitama.  You can also pay extra to enjoy the “waku waku land“, water adventure park, or watch a film in their adventure theater, which is a virtual simulated theater.

 

Music Splash Pad

General admission gives you access to the museum itself (including outdoor displays and some events), the small aquarium on the lower ground floor, wading and splash pools and a unique music pad that jets water as you play with your feet. The museum runs a number of events and interactive displays as well as housing a library. The workshop room in the main display area often has free crafts for the kids to enjoy.

In the aquarium the children are free to touch and hold turtles. The water in the splash pool is only 5 cm high so suitable for small children.  They are allowed enter with nappies / diapers.  The splash pools are open from the last week in March until mid- November. There is plenty of green space to rest or set up a picnic. They added a climbing wall in the area in front of the turtle aquarium this year. There is a shop and restaurant on the premises. There are changing cubicles and lockers beside the free splash pool.

General admission is reasonable at 410
yen per adult and 200 yen for children over the age of 15. Young children and teenagers up to 15 years old are free in.

WAKU WAKU LAND
For an additional charge you can enjoy the water adventure park for one hour.  About half the equipment is on water, but the kids don’t necessarily have to get wet, but I do recommend you bring a spare pair of clothes.  It  costs 210 yen per adult, 100 yen per child from 4 to 15 years old. Children under 4 years old are free.  The times are fixed. There are 7 sessions during the summer at 9.30, 10.40, 11.50, 13.00, 14.10, 15.20 and 16.30.

Photo Gallery of some of the equipment in the water adventure playground.

For further information and up-to-date prices and schedules please see the official website –

URL: http://www.river-museum.jp/

For those coming by car the phone number for your Satnav is 048-581-733 or the address is 39 Kozono, Yorii Town, Saitama. It is 7 minutes from the Hanazono exit of the Kanetsu expressway.  Parking is 300 yen for the day.

Another interesting museum in the Kanto area centered around a water theme is the Tokyo Water Science Museum in Koto-ku. From “Best Living Japan”:

The Tokyo Water Science Museum – Free Hands-on Educational Fun!

The Tokyo Water Science Museum is a great FREE hands-on, educational museum – a great spot to take the kids on a hot, rainy or cold day. The museum takes

Source: bestlivingjapan.com/tokyo-water-science-museum/