Category Archives: Sakado

Place Review: 3D latte Art Café Chocotea | SAKADO

Stylish café, Warm ambiance, Delicious food and 3D Latte art…

This is a more detailed version of the review of Cafe Chocotea I originally wrote for city-cost.com.

Everything about my experience at Café Chocotea today was positive and gratifying. From the minute I walked in, I got a really good vibe about the place. The decor is bright cozy rustic, the space is colourful and comfortable, the menu is very well thought out and appetising, the selection of coffee and drinks is impressive. The 3D latte art is worth every yenny.

The staff are very welcoming and the barista speaks perfect English. There are 3 menus, which take a little time to read, but the server will explain anything you are not sure about. You can order individual dishes of food, or opt for a lunch set, or just have a coffee or one of their famous 3D lattes. The lunch sets are a panini or an open sandwich with a choice of add-on sides. The scones are as good as at home in Ireland. The food is really good quality and healthy. They have a good choice of drinks. The 3D art takes about 20 minutes to make, but you get a service drink while you are waiting. The barista only makes a limited number of 3D latte art a day and usually restricts it to one per table. The other latte art, that is not 3D, has no restrictions. The soft drinks are served in larger glasses much like a fish bowl!

We got the table near the door which sits four, in 2 very comfortable leather 2 seater sofas. There are 2 two-seater tables beside that. All 3 of these seats have low tables and sitting room type chairs or sofas.  Up a step there is a large table which sits about six. They have a high chair for a baby / toddler in this section. They also have a workbench area for kids. If you have a child with you, they will provide children’s cutlery and crockery when you order food. The place is small, but very relaxed and quiet.  It is a good place to relax over a coffee and a book, but it also a nice place to enjoy a break with your child in tow. They have a selection of books and magazines for patrons to borrow, including some children’s books.

Added in February 2017
On a subsequent visit for a playgroup meeting there were 4 adults and 4 children. The owner was very accommodating to our various needs. We were able to relax and there was no pressure to leave the table. We were there for about three hours. I was very impressed with the level of service and kindness of the staff.

Stairs outside, beside car park, to toilet

The café is not wheelchair friendly and the toilet is outside and up a steep stairs, with no changing mat, but other than that there is nothing else you can fault about this local gem.

 

Access

The nearest station is Tobu Tojo Line’s Sakado station. It is about an 8 minute walk. Kita-Sakado station is also relatively close. It is about a 15 minute walk.

By car it is approximately 7 minutes from the Tsurugashima exit of the Kanetsu Expressway. There is free parking out the back of the café, down a narrow alley.

Original on City-Cost.com

Review – Café Chocotea in Japan. Everything about my experience at Café Chocotea today was positive and gratifying. From the minute I walked in, I got a really good vibe about the place. The d

Source: Place Review: Café Chocotea, Sakado-shi, Saitama | City-Cost

Strawberry Picking with a play area | Sakado

2 Shimura (1)

2 Shimura (2)Today, we visited a greenhouse type strawberry picking farm in Sakado. This farm has been on my radar since I saw a small write-up about it in a Walker magazine. I was glad we went to check it out.  In previous years, we’ve picked our strawberries and ate them and headed home or onto another nearby location. Today, we spent the whole afternoon at the Shimura Strawberry Farm and Flower Fields. Half an hour was spent picking and eating the delicious strawberries, the rest was spent enjoying the free extra services of the fruit picking farm (gallery below). They have a number of different greenhouses. The reception is in “Dai Ichi”, where you take off your shoes and put on slippers. We picked in Dai Ni today, which is connected to the main greenhouse for ease of movement.




2 Shimura (3)Within “Dai 2” there are 3 different types of strawberries you can choose from. All were sweet and delicious. They use bees in the greenhouse for pollination, but they are not dangerous. The beds are raised making them easier to pick and less likely to have mold. My 1 year old was easily able to navigate the aisles and even pick her own strawberries. Like most greenhouses it was very warm; one good reason to pick in winter. Of all the strawberry picking greenhouse farms I have been to, I like this one the most. It was excellent value for money given that my kids enjoyed playing indoors and outdoors before and after picking. I could sip complimentary tea and green tea, available to all customers, while the kids played. Its location is good for anyone who drives as it is so close to the highway. It is on the Ken-o highway, Sakado exit, very close to the Tsurgashima Interchange for the Kanetsu expressway making it accessible not only to people in Saitama, but other areas of Kanto too. There isn’t much in the immediate area though (nearby attractions below), but they do have a fish farm next door and flower fields, the latter of which is free to anyone. We enjoyed a walk up the embankment. You can sometimes see swans and Tsuru, Japanese crane, in the surrounding rice paddies too; we were particularly lucky to see a whole flock of swans!

INFORMATION:

SEASON: January to

OPENING HOURS:  from 10am, generally Tuesday to Sunday

TEL: 080-5028-1062 phone between 8am and 6pm.

URL: http://www.shimura-nouen.com/index2.html

It is not possible to book, but you may want to ring in advance or check their website to make sure the farm is open to the public on the day you are going.

Public Toilets and Free Parking.

PRICES:

For 30 minutes all-you-can-eat:

Adults and children over 6 ¥1,400 2016 increased to 1800 yen.

Children aged 3 to 6 ¥1,200 2016 increased to 1400 yen.

2 year olds ¥400 2016 reduced to 200 yen.

Under 2 toddlers are free. Discounts are available for school groups of more than 10.

2017 information

Strawberry Picking season opens @ Shimura Strawberry Farm | SAKADO

 

ACCESS

Approximately 1 kilometre or 4 minutes by car from the Sakado exit of the Ken-O expressway.

 

http://www.shimura-nouen.com/map.html

http://www.shimura-nouen.com/map.html

For lists of places to strawberry pick in Japan, please scroll to the bottom of the article. For more information on the strawberry picking system in Japan and some farms in Kanto, please see: http://kajapan.org/places/strawberry-picking-in-kanto/

NEARBY ATTRACTIONS

Sakado Jidokan – free children’s community centre with planetarium

Sakado Taoist Temple – A popular backdrop for cosplayers

Sakado Taoist Temple (3)  Sakado Taoist Temple (2)

Kawagoe “Little Edo” Tourist Town

Heisei no Mori park, with Japan’s largest rose tunnel

Heisei no mori park Kawajima

 

Meiji Sakado Factory Tour

Strawberry Picking Articles




Over the years, I have written quite a lot of articles about Strawberry Picking in Japan. It is not that we pick strawberries a lot, it is just that when I first researched strawberry picking in Saitama there was no information in English. I subsequently realised that there was limited information for the whole of the Kanto region and I wanted to fill the void.  Thus, I had found a niche and it has served me well… or rather, I have served it well!


 

Search terms:
This article will be of interest to people looking for a strawberry picking area with a play area. Other potential search terms will be something different in saitama, rainy day outing in saitama, things to do on a rainy day, keeping warm in winter, winter activities or winter outings with kids, ideas of things to do as a family, family outing from Tokyo, commutable from Tokyo, educational fun with kids, easy outings for children, things to do with children, fruit picking with children, things to do with children in Japan, strawberry picking Japan.

 

Santa is back

The Wakaba Walk Santa statue is taking his pride of place in the main courtyard again this year.  By sitting on Santa’s lap the Christmas tree behind him lights up.

1-Dec 3 2013 (4)

Wakaba Walk is a mall in Sakado, a minutes walk from the Wakaba Station on the Tobu Tojo Line. It is a small mall, with 56 shops.  Well known stores include Yaoko, Daiso and Akachan Honpo.  There are a few restaurants, a food court, “Halos Garden” amusement / kids centre and a cinema.  Parking is free for the first two hours. You can get a ticket validated for a further free hour when you purchase more than 1000 yen in one shop. Cinema goers can enjoy free parking for up to 4 hours. The parking lot is open until 1am.

紅葉 Autumn leaves at Mizohata Park, Sakado

I tried a new park today. It’s a bit of a hobby of mine to find new places to bring the kids, can you tell!? The park is Mizohata Park in Sakado, only a 2 minute walk from Kitasakado station and quite close to the Sakado Jidokan (free children’s community centre).  It’s a small park; basically a playground and green open space cum baseball field. It has toilets, but what park in Japan doesn’t? It also has free parking, about 20 spaces.

The playground has a unique piece of playground equipment; a flying-fox-coaster. That’s my made up name for it, not sure if it has an official name. It’s a flying fox that goes around and up and down, reminded me of a rollercoaster… take a look at the photo “flying fox” in the gallery! It also has a very basic little maze, visible in the first and second photo in the gallery, with fun play areas in it such as a tunnel, a little house and a slide. There are lots of speaking tube toys; where tubing connects sound horns and other speaking boxes to allow voices to travel to separate points. There are 3 slides, two built like animals and one is a roller slide, 4 swings, a sandpit and 4 spring animals/ vehicles.

Most of the leaves have fallen as you can tell in the photos, but as you can see there was some nice foliage left in parts.

Halloween goods at Daiso 100 yen store

There’s a great selection of Halloween goods at Daiso, one of the better known 100 yen shops in Japan. A 100 yen shop is roughly equivalent to a one pound/ euro / dollar store. They carry a huge range of goods most of which are quite decent quality. I took these photos covertly with an old mobile phone so the quality isn’t great, but you get an idea of the range available. One thing to note about Halloween produce in Japan; its stocked early, but they also take it off the shelves early too. I’ve been caught out a couple of times by waiting to the week before Halloween to shop for these seasonal items. This particular Daiso is in Wakaba Walk in Sakado.

The girls zorb! | Sakado Jidokan

Giant inflatable tunnel

Zorb tunnel with balls in the balloon

In the spirit of play-a-day, or basically trying something new everyday, I brought my daughters to a different prefectural paid and run Children’s Community Centre today. It had lots of fun things for the kids to do, but 2yo was most excited by the giant inflatable roller or zorb as I believe it’s called.

This is at Sakado Children’s Community Centre. Sakado Children’s Community Centre is most famous for its planetarium. It’s 10 metre dome is part of Ohira Tech’s research facilities. They are conducting next generation application research which people can enjoy at Sakado before they become available elsewhere. We are saving the Planetarium for another visit when 3yo son can come.

Other facilities in the centre include a trampoline, climbing rope, push along cars, a make-believe kitchen, walls of toys, a baby and toddler room, a library room and a ping pong table. Outside there is playground equipment and right beside it is a little park with playground equipment.

Address of Sakado Children’s Community Centre:

23 Ashiyama cho, Sakado City

Access:

2 minutes by car from the School for the Deaf intersection on route 407.  Four minute walk from KitaSakado Train Station on the Tobu Tojo Line.

Sakado Jidokan in photos:

“Multi-training wall” at Miyoshino Children’s Centre, Sakado

 

Yesterday, we went to our local children’s centre to participate in a free event for toddlers.  Half way through the hour long event, DD1 decided she’d had enough.  It is very relaxed at these events for preschoolers, so there is no problem leaving the room during the event to do other things.  DD1 had her eye on the training wall on the ground floor; an opportunity to use it all by herself.

There are lots of toys and activities that the children can use for free at the various children’s centres around Japan. This is just one at our local centre; a マルチトレーナ which translates to multi-trainer. The ceramic tiled wall has a number of buttons surrounded by a light that flashes, one button at a time, to indicate which button to press.  The activity runs on a timer and the aim is to hit as many of the targets as possible.

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I haven’t seen this type of wall at the other centre’s we go, each seems to have its own unique special activity.  This seems to be our centre’s unique activity and it’s popular with all ages. When the trampoline is out it goes against this wall so its not available for use every visit, which adds to its appeal.

Miyoshino Children’s Centre is located in the Miyoshino area of Sakado.

Address 150-5 Kouya, Sakado City

Access A 10 minute walk from Higashi Sakado Danshi busstop on the bus bound for “Kawagoe Station” via Higashi Sakado Danshi which goes from Wakaba station on the Tobu Tojo line. For residents of Sakado there is free city shuttle bus; the “higashi” (East) course’s busstop number 12 “Miyoshino Jido Centre” stops right outside the Children’s Centre.

Day 238. Baby Salon and Tomato planting

Republishing as got stuck in “drafts” after the move over to self-hosting. Apologies to subscribers who will receive a notification.

Today is day 238 of having three children under four. My eldest has started Montessori since I last posted properly. They start mid April here in Japan. So nowadays its “team Onna” as my husband calls it mixing English and Japanese to say “the girls” basically. Life is notably quieter since Chonan (=eldest son) went off to Montessori. My middle daughter is a very easy, low maintenance child. My youngest daughter is high maintenance, but once I put her in the Ergo on my back there isn’t a peak out of her. So our adventures continue.

Today we went to the local free Children’s Centre (called Jidose in Japanese). It was our first time in almost a year to this particular jidose. I love the place and so do the kids, but when we were doing play-a-day we had so many other places to check out. Today, was the youngest’s first time to a “Jidose” and also her first time participating in one of their free events. The toys, facilities and events at a Jidose are free to use while on the premises, you just have to sign in, providing names and telephone numbers, and respect the rules of the centre. Some centres, like the one we were at today, also have a library room and you can borrow books for a period of a week.

Today at our local centre there was one of their weekly “baby salons”, salon taking from the French expression for a gathering. The baby salon is for children under one year of age. It is led by one of the employees of the centre and usually involves some songs, finger play, interaction and story books. Today’s gathering was themed around bees and the teacher had made bees out of plastic cups. We sang bee songs and did bee finger play much like “round and round the garden”. My youngest delighted in it and chased (on all fours as she’s still only 7 months old) after some of the baby boys in the group! O-ne-san (=older sister in Japanese) was happy to play with some of the millions of toy food and kitchen goods they have. She also played on the trampoline which they take out randomly; they rotate toys and activities so that the kids don’t get bored. We bored some books before heading home for lunch with Daddy, who comes home for lunch everyday.

I pick my son up from Montessori at 2pm. When we got home we snacked and read some stories before heading in to the in-laws next door. Baba (Japanese for Grandma) had a nice surprise; some tomatoes for the kids to plant in our garden. THey got stuck in. Son in particular loves shovelling up mud. I just realised it is the first thing any of them have ever planted in our garden in Japan, but son and eldest daughter have planted things elsewhere (son in Ireland, both of them in Baba’s allotment). They were fairly wrecked at this point of the day, 4pm, having been up since 5.30ish. They used to go to bed at 6.30pm, but the last few weeks its 5.30pm. So I start the night-time routine at 4pm! The older two were fast asleep by 5.35pm and the youngest by 7pm. She takes longer to put to sleep normally, so tonight was as good as any to try a more personal type blog.

Tomorrow we are off to a puppet show in the morning and who knows what the afternoon will bring. In the meantime its bedtime for me! Oyasumi as we say here in Japan…