Tag Archives: Kawagoe with kids

International Book Giving Day – with a bilingual twist! And City Chuo Library Kawagoe

This is a lovely idea I came across, for bilingual families to receive minority language books, thanks to one of my favourite bloggers Free But Fun posting a link to the innovative idea. It is very timely too, as just today I was pondering how difficult it remains to buy English books for children in our part of Japan. For people like me that is, who refuse to buy online for fear of becoming addicted to it! Today, we ventured to a library we hadn’t been to before. It has a much better choice of English books than the library we frequent, but with this great idea from Journal of a Bilingual Family maybe we’ll be receiving more English books in the post! For details of this fun and original idea for International book giving day, please see the blog linked below. For more on City Chuo Library Kawagoe, please scroll down.

The International Book Giving Day – with a bilingual twist!.

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City Chuo Library is situated in Sankubocho, Kawagoe, about a 20 minute walk from Kawagoe station. They have quite a good selection of English books for children, located on the ground floor. They have little tables with chairs for children to read at and “stadium seating” (3 rows! Pictured below) for storytime and kamishibai performances. You can borrow up to 10 books for 2 weeks upon securing membership. To become a member you need proof of your address in Japan in the form of an alien registration card or Japanese license. The card is valid for the 5 principal libraries in Kawagoe. Their system also allows you to return borrowed books to any of the 5 city libraries. These libraries include the one at the Kurasse building beside Kawagoe station and the large Nishi library, which also has a good selection of English children’s books. Like most of the libraries in Japan, the City Chuo Library has an online system where you can check availability of book and reserve them in advance. The system is currently only available in Japanese. If you wish to use the online facilities you need to create a 4 digit pin number when you apply for your membership. Membership is instant upon filling out a form.

The library has plenty of free parking, toilets, a baby changing area and a nursing room (pictured below). It is open 6 days a week, generally closing on Mondays. Tuesday to Friday it opens from 9.30am to 7pm. Saturday, Sunday and public holidays it opens from 9.30am to 6pm. The library will close for a computer system upgrade from the 12th of February to the 25th of February.

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Play areas at Shinto Shrines

Shinto shrines are plentiful in Japan, almost every village, town or city has one. There are usually amenities available at popular shrines, including toilets, baby feeding rooms, vending machines and eateries. However, even the smaller shrines usually come with at least one piece of playground equipment. A lot of them have free parking, but in tourist areas it is not uncommon to have to pay. Typically, weekdays it is easy to find a free parking spot, unless it is during a shinto festival time such as the 7-5-3.

I really love bringing the children to play on the grounds of a shrine. The surroundings are always pleasant and the grounds are well maintained. The atmosphere is serene and majestic as you enter by a torii onto a stone pavement. The area is usually surrounded by trees, some of which are yorishiro (place inhabited by a kami‘s spirit). There are purification fonts to cleanse your hands, the komainu (lion-dogs) guard the inner shrine, wooden plaques hang with visitor’s prayers and wishes, there is usually at least one minature shrine often with a fox, the diety of rice supposedly. The playground is usually to the side or back of the shrines.

Today, we visited Miyoshino Shrine in Kawagoe for the first time. It is not that far from us, 15 minutes by car, but I never knew it was there until planning a route to a library on google maps last night! It has free parking, toilets, vending machines, a small shop and a yaki-soba counter. There is also a rent-a-bike station nearby. The playground is most suited to smaller children, but there is a flying fox and climbing frame that is geared towards older children. It has a sandpit and swings suitable for all ages. Some photos of the shrine grounds and playground equipment below.

Address: 2 Chome−25, Kuruwamachi, Kawagoe City, 350-0053

紅葉 Autumn leaves at Kawagoe Water Park

I love the way in Saitama there is no shortage of places to try out. I’ve known that the Kawagoe Water (/Aquatic) Park, 川越水上公園、is near my house for sometime, but today is the first time I ventured there. I thought the water park was only accessible to paying customers of their summer pools and water slides, but there is a large part of the park that is free to use all year round.

The free parking for the public park is just as you enter the facility under the banner arch. There are no lines to mark out parking spots and much to my surprise (and horror) its parallel parking. Parallel parking is not very common in Japan, especially at a public park. The playground is a bit of a walk, but the scenery is quite pleasant as you pass the lake. The lake has pedal boats and row boats. However, they are not available for hire during winter, from December 1st to March 1st. There are quite a lot of hungry ducks on the lake. Thankfully, I had bread in the baby’s bag, just in case. My kids enjoyed feeding them.

The play area is quite small, but there is enough to keep young children (preschoolers and infants) entertained. The playground equipment can be seen in the gallery, with the few autumn foliage photos I was able to get.

**The park is worth visiting for locals, but it is not worth making the trip from afar in my personal opinion**


Kawagoe Aquatic Park
Address: 880 Oaza-ikenobe, Kawagoe-shi, Saitama
Tel: 049 241 2241
Nearest station: Nishi-Kawagoe station on the Kawagoe Line (JR East)

Kawagoe Sports Park | KAWAGOE

Written in 2013, updated in 2017.

The first time I visited Kawagoe Sports park (川越運動公園)I wasn’t all that enamored with it.  From the point of view of a parent, there is little to entertain older children and it is most suited to a small child.  However, they have recently upgraded the playground and so I have upgraded the park from a 2 star rating to a 3 star rating! Toddlers and preschoolers will enjoy this colourful playground.

The main combination unit of the playground has three slides. One is a tunnel windy one and two are bumpy ones.  There is also a climbing net, a climbing wall and stairs.  There is a smaller combination unit for toddlers. It has some small climbing activities and two colourful slides. There is a giraffe statue in the centre. There is climbing net activity for all ages beside it with fish statues on the top of the poles that support the nets. On the right of the playground is a flying fox type activity.  There is another play area right beside this playground, but they are separated by fencing. It is where the sandpit and spring rides are. There are also some fun audio aural play equipment in the sand pit area.

The park is officially a sports park. It is home to a sports hall with a number of facilities. There is also an athletic track in the park. There are plenty of benches and seats in the park and some picnic tables too. The park boasts a mini bell tower, a symbol of Kawagoe. There are some cherry blossom trees in the park. In the summer they have a very small wading river.

The official hours of the park are 9 am to 9 pm. Parking is free and abundant. However, when there is a big sports event on you may have to use one of the overflow car parks which are a bit of a walk away. There is a bus terminus there, one of the buses goes to Kawagoe station. There are toilets and vending machines.

 

Nearby Attractions

 

Cherry Blossoms at Isanuma Park | Kawagoe

Isanuma park in Kawagoe is a popular spot to enjoy Hanami for locals. There are cherry blossoms along the river at the playground as well as cherry blossoms lining the street that separates the lak…

Source: insaitama.com/cherry-blossoms-at-isanuma-park-kawagoe/

 

Play areas at Shinto Shrines

Shinto shrines are plentiful in Japan, almost every village, town or city has one. There are usually amenities available at popular shrines, including toilets, baby feeding rooms, vending machines …

Source: insaitama.com/play-areas-at-shinto-shrines/

 

Best of Saitama | Maruyama Park, AGEO

Maruyama park is frequently listed in Saitama’s top 3 list of parks. It is personally one of my favourites.  I love that although the park isn’t massive, there is so much to do and see …

Source: insaitama.com/maruyama-park-ageo-city/

New Ice-cream Shop at Enomoto Farm on Popular Cycle course

Enomoto Farm in Ageo is frequently mentioned in guide books to Saitama with small children, due to the selection of bikes and push along toys kids can play with for free.  In more recent years, it …

Source: insaitama.com/new-ice-cream-shop-at-enomoto-farm-on-popular-cycle-course/

 

紅葉 Autumn leaves at Isanuma Park, Kawagoe

The leaves at Isanuma Park in Kawagoe, Saitama, have passed their peak. Within the week they may have all fallen. However, today, there were still areas where it is quite pretty.

Information

Address: 584 Numata, Isanuma, Kawagoe 〒350-0855 埼玉県川越市 大字伊佐沼字沼田町584

TEL: +81 49-222-1301

Parking: Parking is available on two sides of the park. The most convenient and largest is the parking lot opposite the lake.  There is also parking along the west side industrial area and by the small hotel and tennis courts on the North West side of the park.

By Bus: Take a bus for Kawagoe Green Park and alight at Isanuma Bouken no Mori, approximately 5 minutes walk from bus stop.

URL: http://www.city.kawagoe.saitama.jp/kurashi/sports_koen/koen/isanuma.html

NEARBY PARKS

紅葉 Last of the Autumn Leaves? Hikawa Shrine

I went to Hikawa Shrine in Kawagoe today, in the hope of enjoying some vibrant Autumn Leaves. I think I was too late. There is a river out the back entrance to the shrine (where the famous cherry blossom boat ride takes place) that is usually quite impressive, but today I was disappointed that there are few leaves left. I’ll just have to wait until next year!

Access to Hikawa Shrine in Japanese can be found here: http://www.kawagoehikawa.jp/#/access/

Or more information in English on this blog:

Cherry Blossoms on Shingashi River | Kawagoe

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Kawagoe is just 31 minutes from Ikebukuro, Tokyo, on the Tobu Tojo line (jump to access f…

Source: insaitama.com/cherry-blossoms-on-shingashi-river-kawagoe/

Places you can enjoy for free on Saitama Day

WRITTEN IN 2013, but the places are the same year on year.

Saitama Prefectural day is on the 14th of November each year. Many venues and locations offer free entry to their attractions on this day.  You can also get special day tickets for the trains within Saitama.  Below is a list of ten places, selected at random, you can enjoy for free on Saitama Day annually.   Opening hours, address and phone number &/or official URL for each place provided for each place, below this google MyMap where each place is plotted.




 

Saitama Children’s Zoo

Free entry to the zoo and the children’s castle

Opening hours: 9.30 to 17.00 (last entry 16.00)
Address: 554 Iwadono, Higashimatsuyama-shi, Saitama 355-0065
TEL: 0493-35-1234
URL: http://www.parks.or.jp/sczoo/

Saitama Museum of Rivers

Entry to the grounds, to the water playground and parking are all free

Opening hours: 10.00 to 16.00 (grounds are open from 9.00 to 17.00)
Address: 39 Kozono, Yorii, Osato District, Saitama Prefecture 369-1217, Japan
TEL: :+81 48-581-7333
URL: http://www.river-museum.jp/

Saitama Aquarium

Free entry to the aquarium

Opening hours: 9.30 to 17.00
Address: 751-1 Mitakaya, Hanyu City, Saitama 348-0011
TEL: 048-565-1010 FAX 048-565-2768
URL: http://www.parks.or.jp/suizokukan/access.html

Tokorozawa Aviation Museum

Free entry to the facilities

Opening Hours: 9.30 to 17.00 (last entry 16.30)
Address: 1-13 Namiki, Tokorozawa, Saitama 359-0042
TEL: 04-2998-4388
URL: http://www.parks.or.jp/tokorozawa-kokuu/

Skip City Visual Plaza

You can enter the museum for free. They usually also have free showings of movies.

Opening hours: 9.30 to 17.00
Address: Sai no kuni Visual Plaza, 2nd Floor, Visual Museum, 3-12-63 Kamiaoki, Kawaguchi, Saitama 333-0844, Japan
TEL : 81-48-265-2500 / FAX : 81-48-265-2628
URL: http://www.skipcity.jp/english/access/index.html

Ogawa Genki Plaza

Free entry into the facilities, free access to the planetarium.

Opening hours: 9.30 to 17.30
Address: 561 Kiroko, Ogawa Town, Saitama, 355-0337
TEL: 0493-72-2220 | FAX 0493-71-1043
URL: http://ogawagenki.com/

Kawaguchi Science Museum

Free entrance into the Science Exhibitions

Opening hours: 9.30 to 17.00
Address: (Inside Skip City) 3-12-18 Kamiaoki, Kawaguchi, Saitama 333-0844
TEL: 048-262-8431
URL: http://www.kawaguchi.science.museum

Kawagoe Festival Museum

Free entry

Opening hours: 9.30 to 17.30 (last entry 17.00)
Address: 2-1-10 Motomachi, Kawagoe City, Saitama 350-0062
TEL: 049-225-2727 FAX.049-227-5001
URL: http://kawagoematsuri.jp/matsurimuseum/

Saitama Museum of Literature

Free entry

Opening hours: 10.00 to 17.30
Address: 1 Chome-5-9 Wakamiya, Okegawa, Saitama Prefecture 363-0022, Japan
TEL: +81 48-789-1515
URL: http://www.saitama-bungakukan.org/

ADDED IN 2015

Yoshimi Sports Park

Sports facilities free to use. You need to book in advance.

URL: http://yoshimi-park.com/

REPLACED:Aqua Paradise Patio, You can enter the pool for free, for an unlimited time. Opening hours: 10.00 to 21.00
Address: 763 Kashiai, Fukaya, Saitama Prefecture 366-0816, Japan
Phone: +81 48-574-5000
URL: http://www.patio.or.jp/index.php

 

紅葉 Autumn Leaves at Kitain Temple Kawagoe

 

 

One of my favourite local places to bring visitors during Autumn with young children is Kitain Temple in Kawagoe (Saitama). There are some truly beautiful scenes to be captured around the temple and in the period house on the grounds. Unfortunately, my photos were only taken with a camera phone, but they will give you a taste of what is on offer.

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There is a small playground on the temple grounds and lots of places for the children to explore. There is also rest areas, a toilet, vending machines, a little restaurant and a small shop. To the best of my knowledge none of the toilets have nappy changing facilities, but nobody has ever taken exception to me changing babies on a bench or in their buggy! Visitors from home always enjoy a trip to Kitain, particularly when the leaves have changed colour in the first or second week of November.



Kitain Temple is less than an hour from Tokyo. It is a 20 minute walk from Kawagoe Station on the Tobu Tojo Line or 15 minutes from the Seibu Shinjuku Line HonKawagoe Station. You can also get a local bus from either of these stations. By car it is 20 minutes from either the Kawagoe Interchange of the Kanetsu Expressway or from the Kawajima Interchange of the Metropolitan Intercity (Ken-O) Expressway. Parking is available at 500 yen for the day. Car park closes at 16.00.

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Address : 1-20-1 Kosemba-machi, Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture. 350-0036
Phone:049-222-0859
Hours : 9:00 – 16:00

There are some spectacular Autumn Leave photos on their website; http://www.kawagoe.com/kitain/information/annual-events/1201.html

 

More on Kitain on this blog:

2015 Autumn Leaves at Edo Castle remains| Kitain Temple

Cherry blossom festival at Kitain Temple

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Kawagoe Festival in photos

4 year old had his first trip out with this Baba (Japanese for Grandmother) this weekend to the Kawagoe Autumn festival. I didn’t make it myself this year, more’s the pity, but here are some photos I’ve taken over the years.

Athletic Playground at Isanuma Park, Kawagoe

Isanuma Park’s athletic playground equipment is a great fun place to burn off some energy for the kids (and some calories for me!).  What the Japanese call “athletic playgrounds” is what we call “adventure playgrounds” in Ireland.  Isanuma’s playground is geared for 6 to 12 year olds, but I think kids from 3 up are well able for the challenge.  And its a great challenge for adults too.  You often find adults working out on the equipment when there are few kids around.

Other equipment they have that is not pictured include rock and other type of climbing walls, climbing nets, net tunnels, obstacle courses and other type of playground equipment.


Address: 584 Numata, Isanuma, Kawagoe 〒350-0855 埼玉県川越市 大字伊佐沼字沼田町584

TEL: +81 49-222-1301

URL: http://www.city.kawagoe.saitama.jp/kurashi/sports_koen/koen/isanuma.html