UPDATE 2018 CLOSED FOR BUSINESS
Namco Asobi Park – Namco may still be best known as a game developer, but in recent years they actually operate as game centre and amusement park providers. Over the last few years Namco play and amusement centres have been popping up all over Japan. Thankfully, one of their most recent additions is in Saitama.
Namco Asobi Park Ageo
This branch closed in 2018
On June 1st 2017 a children’s Namco amusement centre “Asobi Park” opened in Papa Shopping Avenue in Ageo. Given its location in a run down unfrequented mall it took a while for the play centre to gain popularity. When we visited it for the first time in the summer (2017) I was surprised by how few people there was. It was only us and one other family!
By our next visit there were a few more visitors and the place was still clean and bright with working toys, but the batteries are gone in most of the Meru-chan toys. Meru-chan is a popular Japanese doll. This centre has a great selection of Meru-chan dolls and paraphernalia to play with. You can feed Meru-chan, dress her, do her hair, play hospital with her and much more.
They also have a really good selection of push along and pedal cars. There is a small space, like a circuit, where kids can drive the bikes and cars. In another corner they have wooden tables with trains and cars. There are hobby horses, called eco pony in Japanese, that move when you push your feet down with them.
Video and coin operated games
There are a selection of video games as well as machines that are operated by coins. You don’t have to put money into these machines, there are medals you can use that are included in the price.
There is a bouncy castle designed like a train, pictured above, in this area too.
List of Equipment at Namco Asobi Park Ageo:
- Meru chan dolls
- Selection of Meru chan doll toys / equipment
- Shopping toys including mini trolleys
- Mini shop
- Mini sushi and tako yaki restaurant
- Play cooking with cooking equipment and food you can cut in two (velcro)
- Tent house
- Bouncy Castle
- Hobby horses
- Play cooking
- See saw
- Ball pool
- Jungle gym
- Wooden trains
- Wooden cars
- Pedal cars
- Push along bikes
- Large Lego Blocks
- Video games
For adults, like a lot of the play centres these days, there are massage chairs and a selection of manga you can read. You can also play with the video games. The area for adults in the nearby Niko Niko Garden also in Ageo is much larger and better, with tables you can sit around chatting while the kids play. Niko Niko Garden have free drinks as well as a vending machine that you can buy drinks from at a reasonable price. Namco Asobi Park does have some tables to sit out, but on balance they have less for adults than either Niko Niko Garden or the Kids US Lands dotted around Saitama. There are lockers for storing valuables.
Asobi Park is good fun and nice for an infrequent visit. It is a medium sized location with enough to play for up to an hour. It is most suited to children under school going age and they will love it, especially if they are into Meru-chan. If you are looking for somewhere with more equipment where you can play for a long time, and / or for children over 5 years old, a Kids US Land or kids Spocha (also in Ageo) would probably suit better.
Asobi Park Cost & Membership
It costs 100 yen for ten minutes, which is fairly standard for a play centre, but they have less equipment than others. They do have some play packs which are better value for money. You need to make a members card on your first visit, which is a once off payment of 300 yen. They don’t require any details for this so it is quick and easy.
Access and Other information
This branch closed in 2018
Parking is shared with the malls and is free for up to 3 hours. There is a great 100 yen daiso shop beside the play centre. There is a Saizeriya below which is really great value for money. Don Quixote is across the road; same mall, separated by a road. The nearest train station is Kita-Ageo (Takasaki Line) which is very close; about a 3 minute walk from the mall.
Article written in September 2017, published on InSaitama on February 10th 2018.