Category Archives: Omiya

A DAY OUT IN AEON OMIYA, KITA WARD | SAITAMA CITY

In this article: A full day of fun in one shopping center

  • Games and free play in Aeon
  • 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
  • Aeon Cinema 

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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.

Long queue for kidzoona play centre

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).

Free play area in Aeon. Wooden toys

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.

When the queue had gone down at Kidzooona we paid to enter for 3 hours.  You can read more about Kidzoona, one of Saitama’s best indoor fun center for small children on this blog here:
http://insaitama.com/kidzoona-fantasy-indoor-play-centre-in-omiya/  There is also a preview at the very bottom of this post.

One of the many attractions at kidzooona

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 Kidzooona play 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).

Mini stop eating area in Aeon

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 First for 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!

Free pet therapy! Pet’s 1st pet shop

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

Phone number (Aeon): 048-665-3101

Website: aeon.jp

More on Kidzoona:

 

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 t…

Source: insaitama.com/kidzoona-fantasy-indoor-play-centre-in-omiya/

Originally written February 2015

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.

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The Railway Museum | SAITAMA CITY

On this the 50th anniversary of the Shinkansen (bullet train), I’d like to introduce one of Saitama’s top attractions.  Japan’s largest Railway Museum in Omiya,  鉄道博物館 is a really good place to visit with a mixed audience. There really is something for everyone, even if you aren’t “that into” trains. It is particularly a great place for a day out with young children, boys and girls, as there is plenty to do and see.  It is commutable from Tokyo, so it appeals to tourists and international families looking for something to do in the Kanto area with kids.


There is so much to say about the Railway museum, I just don’t have the time unfortunately, so this is more of a photo showcase. Please be sure to check out the website. One thing I would like to highlight is, that for those living in Saitama or Tokyo with young children who are into trains, it is really worth buying the annual pass.

URL: http://www.railway-museum.jp/
TEL: 048-651-0088
ACCESS:
By train: Take the New Shuttle from JR Omiya Station and get off at “Tetsudo-Hakubutsukan Station”. One-minute walk from “Tetsudo-Hakubutsukan Station”.
By car: 4km from Shintoshin exit of the Shuto Expressway. There are 280 parking spaces. It costs 500 yen to park for the day.
COST: 1000 yen for adults, 500 yen for school children, 200 yen for young children, free for children under 3. You can buy an annual pass, Teppa, for unlimited access and other benefits.
HOURS: 10am to 6pm, last entry 5.30pm. Closed every Tuesday and from December 29th to January 1st for holidays.

Kids / Play areas

TEPPAKU HIROBA
The ground floor has two outdoor areas. The Teppaku Hiroba can be accessed at the back of the history zone. There is also a “lunch train” there; a train that is a rest area, that you are allowed eat food in.

Shinkansen slide
Shinkansen slide
Back of shinkansen slide
Back of shinkansen slide
Train climbing frame
Train climbing frame
Shinkansen spring ride
Shinkansen spring ride
Passing trains
Passing trains

MINI TRAINS and MINI SHINKANSEN
The other outdoor area is to the left of the entrance zone. It boasts the popular mini trains that for 200 yen for upto 3 people, anyone over 6 years of age can operate themselves. You need to arrive early in the morning to book them. There is also a mini shinkansen that you can ride. It goes from outside the entrance zone to the libray and theatre.

Mini train that you can operate yourself
Mini train that you can operate yourself
Mini trains that can be operated by anyone over 6 years old
Mini trains that can be operated by anyone over 6 years old
Mini shinkansen
Mini shinkansen

LIBRARY, THEATRE and LEGO PLAY AREA
Past the mini trains is a fun area for smaller children, housing the library with books galore about trains. There is a great selection of English books. It also has a theatre which has a couple of showings of Thomas the Tank Engine episodes a day. There is a play area with blocks and a wooden Thomas the Tank Engine play station in this area too.

The library with a wall of children's English books about trains
A wall of children’s English books about trains
English books about trains
English books about trains
The Theatre which shows Thomas the Tank Engine episodes
Theatre shows Thomas the Tank Engine episodes
Lego / block play stations and a wooden Thomas the Tank Engine play area
Lego / block play stations and a wooden Thomas the Tank Engine play area

KIDS SPACE
The “kids space” is a play area for smaller children located in the entrance zone of the 2nd floor. It has rail track and trains for the kids to play with as well as a large plastic train for the kids to play in.

IMG_1625
Play rail and trains
Large play train
Large play train
Kids space
Kids space

OTHERS
There are learning zones on each floor where there are lots of interactive challenges and experiences for children and adults alike.

Remote controlled train, just one of the many activities in one of the learning zones
Remote controlled train, just one of the many activities in one of the learning zones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The history zone displays a number of period trains including steam trains. You can enter most of these trains to have a better look.

Trains in the history zone
Trains in the history zone
Inside a train
Inside a train

There is also a large model railway train city on display. It can be viewed from the “Kids space” or a special theatre.

Model train city
Model train city

There is also a panorama deck on the roof, a shinkansen viewing area on the 3rd floor, where you are allowed eat and there are some vending machines. There are a couple of restaurants within the complex. There are toilets on each floor. Some have nappy change facilities. It is well worth a visit, no matter your age, or interest in trains… I have run out of steam, if you’ll pardon the pun, but if you would like to see more information or photos, take a look at these great blog posts too:

Mihashi Park in Omiya

Omiya park is the most famous park in the Omiya area, but in my humble opinion it is far from the best. The playground isn’t very good and it is located next to coin operated rides. The lesser known Mihashi Sougo Park, 三橋総合公園, is free to play in and has more for active children. It is also easier to navigate.

The park is conveniently located off route 17. It is has plenty of free parking.  There is an indoor community pool within the park, as well as other indoor and outdoor sporting facilities. There are 2 playgrounds, a running / cycle track and plenty of open spaces for children to play in.

The main playground boasts lots of different athletic type playground equipment. The main attraction is the ship in the centre of the playground, with its tall and curvy slides. It has a number of different climbing options, as you can see in the photo below.Mihashi park (2)

Other equipment in this playground encourages climbing skills, such as the monkey bars, climbing wall and ropes. There is also a net climbing attraction, which proves very popular, as you can see in the photo below.
Mihashi park (5)

There is good shade around the circumference of this playground, as there are lots of trees making it ideal for picnicking in the summer. And by mid afternoon the playground is mostly in the shade. There are also picnic tables dotted throughout the playground. There are vending machines that sell drinks and there is a van that sells pot noodles. 🙂 There are toilets beside the car park, the tennis court and in the sports facility opposite the swimming pool.

Mihashi park (3)Near the tennis courts there is another, smaller playground suited to toddlers and smaller children. It has swings as well as the roller slide pictured.

Mihashi park (4)

Another attraction of this park, for my kids anyway, is the abundance of insects. Today, for example, my kids and their friends (who we brought to the park with us), caught over 20 grasshoppers, beetles and crickets. 🙂

 

FURTHER INFORMATION

Address: 5 Mihashi, Nishi Ward, Saitama City
Access by car: 10 minutes from the Yono exit of the Shuto expressway (Omiya route). Located at the intersection of R17 and R2
TEL: 048-623-0505
URL: http://www.city.saitama.jp/004/006/003/003/p033466.html

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:

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

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