Category Archives: Saitama 埼玉市

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 like it was only opened in the last few weeks.  The equipment is very well kept, pristine, bright, colourful and educational to boot. It isn’t particularly large, but it is very well laid out. There is a wonderful selection of fun and clever play areas to challenge a growing mind and body.  Great entertainment for children younger than school going age guaranteed!

As a huge fan of Bornelund toys and a regular customer of their Maruhiro branch, I was so excited when I heard Kid-O-Kid was opening last year. I certainly wasn’t disappointed and I love bringing my two year old there even though it is an hour from our house. The atmosphere is soothing with a very relaxed ambiance and the equipment is diverse and ingenious (click on photo for description / details);

However, I haven’t brought my older children there, because  there
really isn’t much to entertain a child older than six for more than half an hour. Children up to 12 years old can enter, but I don’t think children of school going age would find the center engaging enough. I know that with my 7 year old and 6 year old girl they find the much larger Kidzooona‘s play equipment less riveting in the last two years, but at least it has a game corner that they will happily play in while their younger siblings use the more physically challenging equipment. And seen as I am comparing; Kid-o-kid only has a small dress up area called “Play Stage” whereas Kidzooona has a great choice of make-believe play with costumes. What it does have that my 7 year old boy would enjoy is a mechanical building area and both he and his 6 year old sister would also enjoy the trampolines, zorbs and climbing wall.

 

Another thing it is missing is a rest or seating area. They have a couple of vending machines with two miserly seats in front of them. You are not allowed eat in the center either. I like that in Niko Niko Garden  and Kids Spocha in Ageo you can bring in your lunch and eat it in the rest area that also has free tea, coffee and water. Kidzoona also has a rest area with a Mini Stop convenience store selling a selection of bento and sandwiches as well as some hot food.  However, Kid-o-Kid in Saitama Shintoshin has a “parent room” and “milk bar” (facilities for parents with babies) in their “baby garden”; an area for children under 18 months old. You can change nappies in that area, but please note that Kid-o-kid does not have toilets so it is advisable to visit the rest rooms before you enter the center.

 

All that being said, it is very much high on my list of Saitama’s best,  not quite top ten but not far off it either! If we lived closer I would invest in the monthly pass (prices outlined below), but it is a little too far and not ideally suited to my two older children to justify more than an occasional visit.  It is certainly very popular with locals and there is always a long line of folded up buggies in the stroller storage area on weekdays.  I have no hesitation in recommending this as a place to visit with a child younger than six, especially if you are in the area. I would advise visiting on a weekday though as although it is popular and busy, it never feels packed and there is less chance of you being turned away for the center being at capacity.

Information / Details

Hours

Open 10 am to 7 pm with last entry at 6.30 pm, seven days a week.

Cost

It costs 600 yen for children and 500 yen for adults for a half hour of play. For every ten minutes you go over your time you are charged a 100 yen per child. They do not charge extra for an adult in this situation. If you have a Bornelund or Kid-o-kid point card you get a 100 yen off the child’s admission fee. Children from the age of 6 months are charged.

On weekdays they have two different packages you can avail of for a full day of play. The one day free pass costs 1,700 yen for an adult and one child. The weekday free pass is basically a month’s pass, that can be used on weekdays only. It costs 4,400 yen for one adult and one child, and 3,700 yen for every subsequent child. It is interchangeable among family members.  You need to have a Bornelund or Kid-o-kid member card if you want to buy the weekday free pass. Please note, they have a limit on the number of passes they sell daily / monthly and you cannot purchase them on a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday.

You can also buy a book of entry tickets for 5000 yen that allows a child (only) enter eleven times, saving you 500 yen, if you have either or the afore mentioned point / member’s cards.

If you sign up for a Kid-O-Kid point card, which costs 100 yen a year, you can earn point each time you visit. You can then exchange points for play time. For 2000 points up to three children can get 30 minutes free play time; 3,200 points allows an hour free play time for up to three children; and 4500 points can be exchanged for a book of tickets. If you visit on your child’s birthday they gift you a half hour free play time, if you are entering on the half hour package.

Other Bornelund in Saitama

Kid-o-Kid in Saitama Shintoshin is the only Bornelund play center of this type in Saitama. There are however other Bornelund stores, some of which have free play areas. Maruhiro in Kawagoe has a decent sized Bornelund store and they have lots of sample toys out for the kids to play with. Tsutaya in Honjo has a small Bornelund corner.  There are Bornelund shops in Isetan Urawa, Sougo Omiya and Lake Town Outlet. The latter has a play center called a Tot Garden, another signature play area of Bornelund. They are typically smaller than a Kid-O-Kid and they are limited to children under school going age (under seven years old).

Contact

Address: 〒330-0843 Saitama-ken, Saitama-shi, Ōmiya-ku, Kishikichō, 4 Chome−4−263-1 Cocoon 2

Phone: 048-782-6207

URL: https://kidokid.bornelund.co.jp/saitamashintoshin/

Access

Approximately a seven minute walk from JR Keihin Tohoku, Takasaki  and Utsunomiya Line’s Saitama Shintoshin Station.

Located very close to the Saitama Shintoshin exit of the Metropolitan Expressway Saitama Shintoshin Route.  Cocoon 2 has parking on its roof as well as in an adjacent car park, Cocoon City parking number 3. Parking is charged at 200 yen per 30 minutes. However, if you spend between a 1000 and 2000 yen in Cocoon city on the same day you get one hour free parking, or two hours free for over 2000 yen. You get three hours free if you are using the cinema.

 

Akihanomori Park in Nishi Ward | SAITAMA CITY

We stumbled across this park by accident while taking a respite from visiting a relative in nearby Saitama Iriyo Center.  Unless you find it by accident as we did, you would need a car and a satnav (GPS) to get to this rural park in Nishi-ku (Saitama). It is a relatively new park, but the access roads are very old and very rural. If you are in the area with young kids, or are looking for a place to barbecue, it is worth a visit.

There are two areas with playground equipment. As you come in to the main parking, in front of the baseball pitch, there is a combination equipment piece with climbing and slides among other things. There are also spring rides. In the picnic area there is another combination unit with climbing and a slide. There is also a sand pit. There are also some net climbing equipment. Near the main parking there is the “Center House” which manages the park. There are meeting rooms there that you can book to use. There are clean toilets there. The barbecue area is very popular. It costs 700 yen to book a pit / seating area for one day. The barbecue area is open for use from April to November. They have a multi-purpose ground, which is marked out for baseball, and a soccer pitch. You can book either of them. The latter costs money.

Parking is free and abundant. It is spread out though. There are a few spots in front of the baseball pitch and front playground, but the main car park is past the pitches. This parking is a bit of a walk to the barbecue area. The car park is open from 9 am to 5.15 pm.

The park is located in Nishi Ward of Saitama City, but it is close to both Ageo and Kawagoe.

URLhttp://www.city.saitama.jp/004/006/003/003/p033548.html

 

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:

ACCESS

The Tetsudo Hakubutsukan Station on the New Shuttle line is located right beside the museum. It is just one stop and a 3 minute train ride from Omiya station.

Parking is available, but charged.

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

Saitama Firework Displays August 2014

Taken from the Nagatoro website http://www.nagatoro.gr.jp/en/events/index.html
Taken from the Nagatoro website http://www.nagatoro.gr.jp/en/events/index.html

AUGUST 2ND

Ageo
Bus from in front of Risona Bank at the West exit of Ageo Station
Time: 19.00-21.00
URL: http://www.ageo-kankou.com/
Phone number for inquires: 048・775・5917

Toda
20 minute walk from Toda Kouen Station
Time: 19.00-20.30
URL: http://www.ageo-kankou.com
Phone number for inquiries: 048・431・0206

Hanno
20 minute walk from Hanno Station
Time: 19.30-20.30
URL: http://www.city.hanno.saitama.jp/0000001569.html
Phone number for inquiries: 042・974・7900

Sayama
20 minute walk from the west exit of Sayama City Station
Time: 19.30-20.00
URL: http://www.city.sayama.saitama.jp/
TEL: 04-2953-1111

Shiraoka
20 minute walk from the Shiraoka Station (Utsunomiya line)
Time: 20.00-20.30
URL: http://www13.ocn.ne.jp/~shiraoka/
TEL: 0480-92-8151

Soka
Bus from East exits of Matsubara danchi and Shinden stations
TIme: 19.00-21.00
URL: http://www.city.soka.saitama.jp/
TEL: 048-922-0151

Osata Gun, Yorii
10 minute walk from Yorii Station
Time: 19.00 – 21.00
URL: http://yorii-kanko.jp/tamayodo.html
TEL: 581-2121 Extension 441

AUGUST 3RD

Asahi
5 minute walk from (Tobu) Asahi Station.
Time: 19.15-20.15
URL: http://saikasai.com/
Phone: 048-463-2645

Kawaguchi
Shuttle bus from Kawaguchi Station.
Time: 19.45-20.30
URL: http://www.tatara-matsuri.com/
Phone: 048-258-8225

Fukaya
7 minute walk from Takekawa Station on the Chichibu Main Line
Time: 17.00-21.30
URL: http://www.fukaya-ta.com/
TEL: 048-583-2222

Kita-Katsushika Gun, Sugito Town
1 minute walk from Tobu Dobutsuen Koen Station (Tobu Zoo)
Time: 20.30-21.00
URL: http://kankou.sugito.info/
TEL: 0480-32-3719

AUGUST 9TH

Koedo Kawagoe
20 minute walk from Minami Otsuka and Kasahata Stations.
Time: 19.15~
URL: http://www.koedo.or.jp/event-info/
Phone number: 049-227-8233

Saitama City, Higashi Urawa
Time: 19.30-21.00
URL: http://www.stib.jp/hanabi/index.shtml

Kumagaya
5 minute walk from the south exit of Kumugaya Station (JR Takasaki Line, Chichibu Tetsudo)
Time: 19.00~
URL: http://www.kumagaya-kanko.jp/
Phone: 048-524-1111

AUGUST 15TH

Iruma
10 minute walk from Bushi Station on the Seibu Ikebukuro Line
Time: 20.00-20.30
URL: http://www.iruma-kanko.jp/
TEL: 04-2964-4889 (weekdays only)

Kodama Gun, Misato
20 minute walk from Yodo Station on the JR Hachiko Line
Time: 19.30-21.00
URL: http://www.misato-kanko.com/index.html
TEL: 0495-76-5133

Chichibu Gun, Nagatoro, Funadama Festival
5 minute walk from Nagatoro Station
Time: 19.30-21.00
URL: http://www.nagatoro.gr.jp/en/events/index.html
TEL: 0494-66-3311

From the Nagatoro Tourist website

AUGUST 16TH

Saitama, Iwatsuki
Forty minute walk from Iwatsuki Station
Time: 19.30-21.00
URL: http://www.stib.jp/hanabi/index.shtml
TEL:  0180-99-3144

Chichibu Gun, Ogano
40 minute bus ride from Chichibu Station
Time: 20.00-21.00
URL: http://www.town.ogano.lg.jp/menyu/kankou/maturi/maturi/8tuki/8tuki.html
TEL: 0494-75-1381

AUGUST 23RD

Misato
10 minutes walk from Misato Station
Time: 18.00-21.30
URL: http://www.tonbi.biz/
TEL: 048-952-1231

Higashimatsuyama
15 minute walk from the Takasaka station on the Tobu Tojo Line
Time: 19.00-21.00
URL: http://www.city.higashimatsuyama.lg.jp/soshiki/kankyosangyobu/shoko/kanko/event/8/hanabitaikai.html
TEL: 0493-21-1427 (weekdays only)

Kita Adachi Gun, Ina Town
8 minute walk from Uchijuku station on the New Shuttle
Time: 20.00-21.00
URL: http://members3.jcom.home.ne.jp/inakanko/
TEL: 048-724-1055

AUGUST 30TH

Iruma Gun, Moroyama
25 minute walk from Moroyama Station
Time: 19.00-21.00
URL: http://www.moronet.com/
TEL: 049-294-1545

Light Art Healing at Cocoon

Light art healing cocoon

Light Art Healing, Winter Illumination at Cocoon, Saitama Shintoshin

Dates: November 2nd 2013 to February 14th 2014
Hours: 17.00 – 24.00
Place: Selected areas of the Cocoon Mall at the east exit of the Saitama Shintoshin station
Price: Free
Parking: Open 9.00 – 1.00. 200 yen for 30 minutes, but if you have a Cocoon card or if you spend more than a 1000 yen in one shop you get one hour free parking. If you use the cinema you get 3 hours free parking.
Address:4-267-2 Kishikicho, Omiya Ward, Saitama City
Phone: 048-601-5050
Access: 1 minute walk from JR Saitama shintoshin Station, about an 8 minute walk from JR Kitayono Station




URL:  http://www.cocoonweb.jp/

Blue lights symphony at Keyaki Hiroba

Blue light symphony
Blue lights Symphony, Winter Illumination at Keyaki Hiroba, Saitama Shintoshin

There will also be winter concerts run the week of Christmas in conjunction with this event, please keep an eye on this blog for more information.

Dates: November 2013 to February 14th 2014
Hours: 17.00 – 24.00
Place: The area of keyabi hiroba which is between Saitama Shintoshin and Saitama super arena
Price: Free
Parking: 400 yen for the 1st hour, 200 yen for each subsequent half hour
Address: 2-27 Kamiochiai, Chuo Ward, Saitama City 338-0001
Phone: 048-600-0070
Access: 2 minute walk from JR Saitama shintoshin Station, about a 7 minute walk from JR Kitayono Station