Recently, we paid our annual summer visit to the Tokinosumika resort, also known as Gotemba Kogen, in Shizuoka. This visit we split our stay between the Blueberry Lodges and the Hotel Tokinosumika, just two of the accommodation choices available at this activity and attraction packed resort. This year, as always, the night illumination was stunning and the fountain show, which originated in Tokinosumika, was as breathtaking as ever.
This year the central walkway that links the Blueberry Lodges to the village area, have the lights done like the Milky Way. Among the lights are windchimes and tanabata wishes written on prayer plaques.
Tokinosumika was the first place in the world to create a fountain performance using light and projection mapping, set to music. The show is held 3 times a night at weekends, twice on weekdays, beside the Bell of Love at the Big Bang Playground. This year the show started out like fireworks. At one point the water shoots 70 metres into the air.
There are night illumination displays in many other areas of the resort. My favourite view, which unfortunately I didn’t capture very well on my camera with my 1 year old vying for my attention, was the view of the Blueberry Lodges set behind the merry-go-round:
You won’t read much about Tokinosumika in guide books in Japanese or English, as they have such a regular custom from loyal customers they have little need for print advertisement. Most of their custom comes from word of mouth.
For the last 7 years we’ve been going to a resort in Gotemba every Golden Week. The resort has a choice of accommodation ranging from hotel rooms to self catering lodges. This year we stayed in the “slow house villa” area in a yurt or パオ (Pao) as they are called in Japanese. The yurts in the complex are designed on a theme. Our room was one of the Peter Rabbit themed lodgings.
The Peter Rabbit influence may well have gone beyond the interior of the yurts, as the slow house villa area is reminiscent of a rabbit’s burrow. It was great fun for the kids to find their way around the maze like paths. Management makes good use out of the design too, laying out a scavenger hunt challenge of sorts for guests of the slow house villas. The kids followed clues to find letters which, when all were discovered, spelled out a word. On presenting the word to reception they got a prize of Peter Rabbit stickers. Another treat for guests of these particular lodgings is a fluffy bunny rabbit (soft toy) hidden in the room – if you find it, you get to bring it home. (You can also borrow teddy bears and soft toys from reception to keep in your room during your stay).
The yurt itself was also a great source of excitement for the kids. They aren’t the most practical, but between the Peter Rabbit paraphernalia and the spacious loft, it was a dream come true for the kids to stay there. They are also the lodgings closest to the big playground, which turned out very convenient for us. They have a hot spring in the villa area (one of many in the resort) and it is where the pet hotel is too. This is also the area with the resort’s badminton court, games room (billiards and table tennis), reception for some activities (such as fishing and segways) and where they have the magnificent night time water, illumination and projection mapping show. The breakfast hall is a little bit far away, but it is a nice walk, with some great views of Mt Fuji.
While I enjoyed the novelty, I did think the room was quite dingy, dark and hard to regulate temperature. I did enjoy staying there and the kids certainly did, but once was enough for me. There are other accommodations within the resort that are more practical for big families and people with young children. My top two in the resort are the Blueberry Lodges and the Western/Eastern fusion room in the Tokinosumika hotel. For anyone who is interested in more information about the resort it is linked below the photos from the playground.
From December 6th to 23rd Santa is travelling around the Premium Outletsfor a rare photo opportunity. There will be four sessions daily. Each time the first fifty families will be able to get their photo taken with Santa free of charge.
Locations include the Premium Outlets in Shissui in Chiba, Ami, Ibaraki, Gotemba, Shizuoka, Sendai in Miyagi prefecture.
Shisui in Chiba, in front of the food court
Tosu in Saga, in front of Lego
Izumi in Sendai, in front of Rope
Ami in Ibaraki, in front of the food gallery
Toki in Gifu, in front of Unite Arrows
Sano in Tochigi, near New Balance
Gotemba in Shizuoka, in the West Zone near Gap
Rinkuu in Osaka, in front of Gap
Sanda in Kobe, in front of the food gallery.
Times: 10.30, 13.00, 14.30 and 16.00.
They are all free events.
PHOTO from WalkerPlus Magazine. Information fron the official website at http://www.premiumoutlets.co.jp/wsr_santa2015/
We went to Tokinosumika in Gotemba, Shizuoka, this past Golden Week. To be honest, I love discovering new places, but with 4 young children it is easier just to go somewhere we are familiar with. Tokinosumika never disappoints and each year they have something new there.
Something that is not new and is somewhat of a symbol of the resort is their “Bell of Love”. This year I thought to get a snap of it in the daylight, as I only had old photos taken in the dark. It was a clear day and you could see Mt Fuji under the bell. Bonus! The bell, at 36,170 kilograms, is the 2nd heaviest in Japan and 5th heaviest bell in the world.
There is a quote beside it in English
“The bell calls the living Mourns the Dead And overpowers the thunder
Mount Fuji echoes the bell on the morning of cherry blossoms”
With all the volcanic activity in nearby Hakone,I hope it’s not a forewarning!!
2015 – 2016 THE TEEPEES ARE NOT CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FOR PRIVATE HIRE
Are you looking for unique accommodation in Japan? Ever thought of staying in a teepee (tipi / tepee / wigwam)? If you like the outdoors and want to try something different, the tepee site in Gotemba is a cheap, fun and alternative place to rest your head, in beautiful natural surroundings. The teepees even come with a view of Mt. Fuji.
You can rent a tipi (teepee) from (2014 figures) 1,000 yen per person per night at the Tokinosumika resort, also known as Gotemba Kogen, in Shizuoka. The tent costs (2014 figures) 6,000 to rent, but it sleeps upto 6 people. The teepees are very basic. There are no toilets or baths in them, but you can use the toilets and the “ringo no yu” onsen (hot spring) on site for free. You can avail of the other onsens on site for a price. Sleeping mats are provided in the teepee and you get sheets and one face towel at check in. You can buy towels or rent other necessities, including a lamp and insect repellant, from reception. There is parking right beside the tent / teepee area, but only one carspot is dedicated to each tent. The tepees are located beside a free playground and air trampoline. There is a “pet hotel” beside the onsen with facilities for dogs. There are plenty of other activities and services available within the Tominosumika resort. Most of them are listed in the post http://daysofourlivesjapan.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/shizuoka-gotemba-tokinosumika-family-resort/
Check in is from 3pm and check out is 11am. The address is 719 Koyama, Gotemba, Shizuoka. The telephone number for teepee reservations is 0550-87-3700. For more information you can visit the official website of Tokinosumika (Japanese only).
Do you know of any other different / unique type of accommodation in Japan? Please share in comments so I can add to my wishlist of places to go! Thank you.
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 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.
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.
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.
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/
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.