Category Archives: Shizuoka

Travel locations with toddlers in Shizuoka

Peter Rabbit Lodgings in Japan

There are lots of themed museums, parks, restaurants and hotels throughout Japan. Some are more famous than others, such as Disney Land and Sea in Chiba or Universal Studios in Osaka. However, it is not unusual to discover that an unexpected character has a place and a following somewhere in Japan. Previously, I have written about the Moomin themed park in Hanno, Saitama and the Moomin cafe and Bakery in Tokyo Dome City. Another surprising find a few years ago was a Peter Rabbit area (Beatrix Potter Reading Library, Peter Rabbit Gift shop and playground) in Saitama Children’s Zoo (Takasaka). Shortly after that discovery I stayed in a resort with Peter Rabbit lodgings in it. I recently revisited that resort and got a few quick photos of the lodgings while playing with the kids in the playground beside the lodgings.

Peter Rabbit Houses, Tokinosumika Resort, Gotemba, Shizuoka
Tokinosumika have a number of different lodgings including the Peter Rabbit houses in their “Slow House Villa” section, with great views of Mt. Fuji.

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Do you know of any other Peter Rabbit themed locations in Japan?

Shizuoka, Numazu. Awa Island; toddler friendly marine park

Awashima (Awa Island) is on the North West coast of the Izu Peninsula. Is is a very small island and you can easily walk the perimeter in less than an hour.   The island is home to my toddler’s favourite aquarium, Awashima Marine Park, and an exclusive hotel that the Emperor has stayed in.  The island is open to anyone who pays to enter it, but the hotel facilities are only open to paying guests.  However, when we entered to inquire about costs and availability the staff were exceptionally friendly and professional.   Rates, incidentally, start at 60,000 yen per person per night, supposedly worth every yen for the waterfront view of Mount Fuji, but we decided to catch the last boat back to the Peninsula!

Awashima island used to be linked to Numazu by a ropeway.  The ropeway still exists, but it is not in operation.  So the only access to the island is by boat.  The boat ride is included in the 1,500 yen per adult admission cost to the marine park.  That’s 400 yen cheaper than the nearby Mito Sea Paradise, which frankly is not as toddler friendly and has less to offer than Awashima.  Both Mito Sea Paradise and Awashima are free to children up to 3 years old, but they both charge 500 yen for parking.

You can bring buggies and strollers on to the boat without having to fold them down, but you do need to take the children out of the buggy to do this.  The journey only takes a few minutes.  The island is buggy friendly and there are changing units in the toilets.  The island has one restaurant in the middle of the sea, overlooking the dolphins play area!  The staff on the island are very friendly and helpful. There are play areas on the island and opportunities for the kids to get up close and personal with some of the animals!

Awashima Island
Getting close to some of the park life!

Shizuoka, Gotemba. Family resort with Accommodation, Hot springs, Dining, Shopping, Sports & Much much more

The Tokinosumika Resort aka Gotemba Kogen in Gotemba, Shizuoka

This post was first written in 2012 and has been updated on a number of occasions to reflect the changes in the resort, which is always modifying and upgrading.

Highlights

  • A wide variety of accommodation choices with babies and toddlers free
  • A number of different types of eateries, both Japanese and Western
  • Shopping
  • A selection of hot springs including ones that are toddler friendly
  • An abundance of sports facilities and sporting options. Some require booking in advance
  • Swimming pool and paddling pool in the summer
  • Activities and Crafts for people of all ages
  • Games room
  • Playground with mountain trampoline, bouncing castles, carousel
  • Indoor play area with goldfish aquarium, projection mapping, wooden toys
  • Events such as seasonal illumination, travelling exhibitions and Gotemba Kogen Fireworks Display in August
  • A water, light and projection mapping show in the evenings
  • Segways & bikes available for rent
  • A pet hotel
  • Coin Laundry and Vending Machines
  • Free parking and free shuttle bus from station
  • A doctor and clinic on the grounds (seasonal)
  • A multitude of Fuji Views 🙂

    View of Mt. Fuji from Hotel Tokinosumika western / eastern fusion room
    View of Mt. Fuji from Hotel Tokinosumika western / eastern fusion room

The Tokinosumika resort is one of the few places I know in Japan that has a huge selection of things to do and see all available in the same complex.  It also has great views of Mt Fuji. It is an ideal location to travel with family.   It has plenty to do for a day out, and even more available to patrons of it’s accommodation, but please note there are charges for some facilities and activities. They are a very child friendly establishment with a huge selection of attractions some of which are listed below.  It is also pet friendly and has a pet hotel on the premises.  They have self catering accommodation as well as a choice of hotels.

The first  time we stayed in Tokinosumika, also known as Gotemba Kogen, was when I was pregnant with my eldest.  We had never heard of the resort; we just came across it by Providence when looking for somewhere to stay to break up a journey.  It was the best accidental find ever!  We arrived at night and the resort had quite a romantic feel thanks to the illuminations.  We chose not to have dinner included in our stay and thankfully were in time to try out some of the restaurants on site, which, due to the family friendly focus of the resort, close quite early.  We had a light dinner in the Grand Table followed by dessert in the Books and Cafe only a short walk away.  The Books and Cafe is home to an Art Aquarium since 2015. On subsequent visits we have dined in the hotels and in some of the other restaurants on site.  On each visit we have had our breakfast included and all the breakfast restaurants are buffet style.  If you opt to stay in the self catering Blueberry lodges (which have a cooker, microwave, and fridge) or Slow House villas  you can still avail of a buffet style breakfast in a delegated  breakfast hall.  The cheapest accommodation option within the resort are the tepees. The tepees have futons, but nothing else, and sleep up to 6 people. There are toilet and bathing facilities for people who stay in the tepees, and you can rent/buy necessities (e.g toothbrush, facecloth) from the reception.  (2015 Teepees no longer available for private hire). A list of the hotels and accommodation options are listed below.
Teepee at Tokinosumika

The initial highlight for me when we stumbled across this resort was the hotsprings.  On that first visit to the Gotemba Kogen Hotel in 2009 (update 2014 now divided into two hotels; Gotemba Kogen Bu Hotel and Hotel Brush Up) we visited the hot springs in the hotel.  These particular hot springs are only available to guests staying at the hotel, but there are other hot springs in the resort which are open to the general public.  The hot springs in the Gotemba Kogen Hotel are okay (they may have improved when the hotel split into 2), but not as nice as the springs in the neighbouring hotel Hotel Tokinosumika. The springs in this hotel are larger and are toddler friendly.  They have a number of relaxation services, such as massage and body care, that you can pay for as well as free relaxation rooms with TVs and reclining chairs.  There are other spas on the resort which we hope to try out on our next visit!

Art Aquarium at Tokinosumika
Art Aquarium at Tokinosumika

The list of activities available a the Tokinosumika resort is impressive.  On our first visit we enjoyed a travelling exhibition that was been shown at the Sakura Temple.  We walked through the nature trails enjoying the number of water features in the resort.  We visited the Giant Bell, observed some tennis games and soccer matches,  relaxed in the Wood and Tree Museum and stopped in to watch potters at work.  With the kids, as they were only toddlers, they were just happy to play outdoors and go for walks.  There are playgrounds and a playroom available for guests of the resort.  There are also a number of sports facilities available such as tennis, basketball and badminton courts.  They also have fishing, a mountain trampoline, some shops and in the summer you can use the outdoor pool.   You can rent segways or bikes.  You can pay to try your hand at pottery or pitch and putt or even ice skating.  They even have a doctor and clinic on the premises during certain times.  I’ve tried to summarise their facilities below.

Bhutan house standing behind the beach volleyball court, a tennis court and the fishing pool.
Bhutan house standing behind the beach volleyball court, a tennis court and the fishing pool.

Facilities and Sightseeing

Activities, Sports, Points of Interest, Nature

  • Big Bang Playground
  • Carousel / Merry go round (2016: part of playground)
  • Segways available for rent
  • Bikes available for rent
  • Pitch & Putt
  • Art aquarium (external site City-cost.com)
  • Fishing
  • Candle making
  • Pottery
  • Games room
  • Mountain trampoline (2016: now part of “BIG BANG” super playground)
  • Cooking class
  • Beach Volleyball
  • Outdoor swimming pool (Seasonal)
  • Paddling pool (Seasonal)
  • Swan lake skate rink (Seasonal)
  • Water features; rivers, waterfalls, fountains
  • Bell tower
  • Softball ground
  • Soccer pitch
  • Tennis Court
  • Badminton courts
  • Basketball court
  • 3D Theatre
  • Statue Mountain; home to 1800 buddhist statues
  • Wood & tree museum (2016 now part of the art museum)
  • Sakura temple which is used for shows and travelling exhibitions
  • Gardening shop
  • Night light, water and projection mapping show
  • Free Shuttle bus from / to Mishima and Gotemba Stations
One of the holes on the Pitch and Putt course
One of the holes on the Pitch and Putt course

Accommodation Options

    • Hotel Tokinosumika (Please click to be brought to more information in English)

      Hotel Tokinosumika is also illuminated at night
  • Blueberry Lodge (please click to be brought to more information in English)

    Blueberry Lodges at Tokinosumika

 

  • Slowhouse Villa which are themed yurts.
  • Tepee (please click to be brought to more information) 2015 not available for private hire
  • Bhutan House (official website)

For Pets

  • Pet Hotel
The Pet Hotel
The Pet Hotel

Getting there

If you are coming by train there is a free shuttle bus you can get from Mishima and Gotemba Stations.  If you have a group of more 15 you can request the bus pick you up from neighbouring cities. You will need to organise that with the resort.

The timetable for the free shuttle bus (2016):

From the official English website

For further information on this hotel and all the hotels and self catering options in Tokinosumika please visit one of these websites below;
The Japanese website is http://www.tokinosumika.com/ and you can find detailed information and booking services in English here http://www.gotembakogenresort.jp/accommodations.html (I have no affiliation to either of these sites)

For more information on what else is on offer in the Gotemba area please go here;
http://insaitama.com/shizuoka-gotemba-attractions/

Related Articles

Attractions in and near Gotemba | SHIZUOKA

Gotemba is one of the four “5th station”s of Mt Fuji. The following attractions are either in Gotemba city or within commutable distance.

Tokinosumika

A one stop resort for accommodation, play, eating and HOT SPRINGS. It has night illumination most of the year. It also houses the Kogen Brewery.  There is a water and projection mapping show set to music in the evening. Sports facilities include a tennis court, badminton courts, softball grounds, pitch & putt, soccer grounds and even an ice rink. They have a splash pool and outdoor swimming pool in summer. Please see separate blog on this resort with full details on all that is available.  http://insaitama.com/shizuoka-gotemba-tokinosumika-family-resort/

Grinpa

Mt Fuji and ultramanGrinpa is an amusement park at the foot of Mt Fuji. It is most suited to children, but there are attractions for adults too.  The amusement park is known for its Sylvanian family themed area. It also has an Ultraman zone with giant statues, shop, restaurant and games dedicated to Japan’s most famous heroes.   Information in English can be found at their website, here.

Sylvanian Family village at Grinpa, with Mt Fuji in the background
Sylvanian Family village at Grinpa, with Mt Fuji in the background

Kodomo no Kuni

A massive and very reasonably priced adventure park with lots of activities to keep children of all ages entertained for a full day. Among the popular attractions are the canoe rides, waterplay area and crochet playground.   Further information, in Japanese only, can be found on their website here.

Japan’s largest outlet mall!

We didn’t know of it’s existence the first time we visited, which was probably just as well.  You can find all you need to know, in English, about Gotemba Premium Outlet here.

Fuji Safari Park

This amazing safari is only a half hour from Tokinosumika. It is very reasonably priced with kids three years old and under free. They have a petting zoo, a walking safari and other areas suited to small children. They are open 9 to 5pm and there night safari is open from 5.30 to 7.30pm. During Golden Week the park opens earlier. Their phone number is 055 998 1311. Further information in English:
https://www.city-cost.com/reviews/MAy8M-Driving_and_walking_safari_courses_PLUS_a_fantastic_petting_zoo_and_animal_village_Outdoor_Susono_shi

Gotemba Peace Park

A scenic park with beautiful views of Mt Fuji.  You can find a map to it here http://wikimapia.org/3728356/Gotemba-Peace-Park

Horse riding

There are numerous equestrian clubs in Gotemba.  There is one a 5 minute away from Gotemba station where you can do anything from beginner classes right up to courses to become a certified intsructor.  It is called Club New Season Gotemba. They have a separate “pony class” for 3 year olds through to 3rd grade primary school students.  There phone number is 0550 82 8520.  If you book in advance there is a 20% discount.

Snowtown Yeti

This ski resort opens in October, earlier than other ski resorts in most of Japan.
http://www.yeti-resort.com/en/

Otome Climbing Route

Said to be one of the best passes to view Mount Fuji.  The Otome climbing route can be found beside the Gotemba Municipal Hot Spring Resort;

Gotemba Municipal Hot Spring Resort

Open from 10am to 9pm.  500 yen for adults, 200 yen for elementary school children. Half day rate available.  Ten minutes from the Gotemba Interchange by car.  There is a free shuttle bus service available from the JR Gotemba station at specific times of the day. Parking available. Information in Japanese http://onsen.gotemba-otome.jp/

Komadakado Caves

Please note you will have to carry younger children, if they are not steady on their feet. I am glad I saw these caves, but I did find them overrated.  Please see their location on the tourist map here.

Fuji Speedway

Go Kart Racing 0550 78 1234

More attractions to be added in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!