Tag Archives: Playground

Water play and pedal cars at Hanasaki Water Park | KAZO

Facility Map of Hanasaki Park
Hanasaki Water Park in Kazo made quite an impression on me. It isn’t a huge park, but there is a lot to do in the relatively small area. So much so, I recommend it as one of those parks that it is worth a journey to, even just once. That is, if you are in Saitama!

POOLS AND BIKES

There are two main attractions of this park. One is the water park, which is available from mid July to end of August. It has a number of different pools, including one for kids, and a Jacuzzi . You can also rent floats, pool beds and a boat for a separate charge. The other main attraction is the bike hire which includes some pretty unusual and fun bikes. The bikes are charged by the hour for the number of people that can ride them. They have quirky bikes for one, tandems for two (of course!), even a car bike, for want of a better description. Its a bike in the shape of a car, or maybe a car that you cycle! Oh…maybe we call them pedal cars – please comment if you know the answer! Whatever you call it; its great fun. The kids loved this the most.




ATTRACTIONS GALORE!

The park has a lot to offer other than the most popular attractions. The playground has a great big combination piece of equipment. Beside it there are some spring rides and small slides suited to small children. They also have stepping stones, climbing rungs, a little house and other pieces of equipment. There is a large gasebo beside the play area with benches and a couple of tables. Nearby is a wading river that opens early June. The BBQ area can be used during that time too. There is also a scenic river on the far side of the park lined with magnificent conifer (meta sequoia) trees. There is a walkway beside with a wooden path over a type of lotus pond, with other beautiful scenery in different seasons.  There is a lake with pedal AND swan boats for hire. The pools are used as fishing ponds out of season (don’t want to think about that too much!).  The battery cars in the pool area are accessible most of the year. They have putter golf and sports grounds. There is a small flower garden maze and a wide open grass area.  There is even a restaurant, but it closes during off season.  You can find up-to-date costs for each activity on the website, which is linked below.

So you see, it is a park worth visiting at some point, even out of summer season.  If you do plan to go during the summer, please see the up-to-date charges on the website, linked below. The park also recommends that you arrive early to get a parking spot, particularly on Saturdays when the park is at its busiest.

INFORMATION

**Please note that some of the services are not available on Mondays, except during the 6 weeks of summer holidays**

Bicycle costs at Hanasaki Park
Costs to hire the bikes, Putter Golf and Table Tennis at Hanasaki Water Park in 2015

Please see the website for up-to-date costs.

Address: 1722 Mizubuka, Kazo, Saitama

Tel: 0480-65-7155

URL: http://www.parks.or.jp/kazohanasaki/about.html (Japanese only)

Access

Train: About a 15 minute walk from Tobu Isesaki Line Hanasaki Station

Car: Approximately 3 kilometers from Kazo Interchange of the ken-o expressway.
Parking: Free out of pool season, but once the pool opens it costs 820 yen for the day. Spaces for up to 1,200 cars. Between April and September the car park is open from 8am to 6.30pm. From October to March it closes at 5.30pm.




Peter Rabbit lodgings during Golden Week trip | SHIZUOKA

A welcome sign in English "Welcome Friends Slowly Smiling"
A welcome sign in English “Welcome Friends Slowly Smiling”

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 view of the maze of Peter Rabbit lodgings taken from the Big Bang playground, with Mt Fuji in the background
The view of the burrow of Peter Rabbit lodgings, taken from the Big Bang playground, with Mt Fuji in the background

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.

The Resort

Information about accommodations and attractions: –
Shizuoka, Gotemba. Family resort with Accommodation, Hot springs, Dining, Shopping, Sports & Much much more

One of the hotels within the resort

Hotel Tokinosumika, Gotemba, Shizuoka

Lodges within the resort

Blueberry Lodge at Tokinosumika, Shizuoka (And Shaun the Sheep!)

Some of the attractions within the resort

Peter Rabbit Slow House Villa Tokinosumika

 

 

New Year adventures. Kumagaya Sports Bunka park

There is a belief in Japan that how you spend your New Year’s is reflective of how your year will be. The New Year period lasts until the 7th of January. With that in mind, we spent those 7 days, the last of the kid’s holidays, out and about enjoying all this wonderful prefecture has to offer young kids.  It is representative of the variety of this prefecture, that even after 5 years of trying a different play location at least once a month, we can still find somewhere new to hang out near our home.

Playground equipment at Kumagaya sports bunka park
Playground equipment at Kumagaya sports bunka park

Kumagaya sports park is massive. It has all sort of pitches and sports areas, as well as a stadium and a dome arena. My guess is that the stadium and the dome arena will be used for the 2020 Tokyo olympics.  Near both the stadium and the dome is a playground, particularly suited to kindergarten and primary school age.  The park and its facilities are hosts to many events throughout the year.

Circular climbing frame
Circular climbing frame

Climbing frames
Climbing frames

The playground is located near the dome. Parking areas 4 and 6 are the closest, but they are still a fair distance away. We parallel parked along the small public road that runs along the side of the playground area. 5 year old and (then) 3 year old loved the circular climbing frame as well as the other climbing equipment. 2 year old was able for some of the climbing equipment, but she wasn’t able for the circular climbing frame. She enjoyed the sandbox.

Kumagaya is commutable from Tokyo. It is easily accessible by a direct train line from areas of Tokyo, such as Ueno on the Takasaki Line or Shinjuku on the Shonan Shinjuku Line. The park is an approximate 12 minute taxi ride from Kumagaya station.
ADDRESS: 300 Kamigawakami, Kumagaya-shi, Saitama-ken 360-0004
TEL: +81 48-526-2004

Slide
Slide

Playground at Ichigo no Sato | Yoshimi

Ichigo no Sato is a “roadside station” in the prefecture of Saitama, North west of Tokyo. A roadside station is a type of rest and service area with a large parking area.

There are toilets and benches as well as a gift shop, a vegetable shop, a farmer’s market, a shop selling rice, a strawberry greenhouse, an udon restaurant and a coffee shop with rest area. There are also some eateries in log cabins along one walkway.  One of the popular products on sale is “Ichigo Nama Dorayaki”, which is like a type of strawberry filled pancake. There is an information stand with information for Yoshimi in the building behind the ice-cream van, it also provides a list of all strawberry picking greenhouses in the area. We go for the playground and the ice-cream!

 

Update November 2016

The roadside station has added some really fun and colourful equipment to the playground this year.

INFORMATION

Address: 1737 Kubota, Yoshimi, Saitama 355-0137

Phone: 0493-53-1530

Access: 7 kilometres from Kanetsu Expressway’s Higashimatsuyama Interchange.

Hours: Playground is open all year round, but shops are open 9 am to 5 pm, restaurants are open 11 am to 3 pm on weekdays and until 4 pm on weekends.

Other attractions in Yoshimi

Very near to this playground is a strawberry picking area:

Strawberry Picking in Yoshimi, Saitama

Other attractions a short drive away:

A park with 2 playgrounds

Yoshimi Town Friendship Athletic Ground

100 Caves of Yoshimi

100 Caves of Yoshimi, Saitama

Iwamuro Kannon

Iwamuro Kannon | YOSHIMI

 

The play area and sakura at Miyoshino Shrine | KAWAGOE

Shinto shrines are plentiful in Japan, almost every village, town or city has one. There are usually amenities available at popular and / or large 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.

Miyoshino Shrine

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.

Miyoshino Shrine

Miyoshino Shrine in Kawagoe is one of my favourite shrines to bring toddlers. The playground there is relatively new and the equipment is really suited to children under four. Young kids love the equipment in the shape of a train with climbing and slides. For older children they have a climbing frame, a flying fox, a spring see saw and there is the hill beside the playground that kids love to climb.  There are also swings and a sand pit for children of all ages. The sand pit is enclosed which keeps out the cats and keeps the kids in!

During sakura season this park is ideal for hanami with small children. There are only a few sakura trees, but they are mature and really beautiful in full bloom. It is a popular spot to enjoy a picnic under the cherry blossoms for locals, so do arrive early to secure a spot under a tree. There is plenty of other space on the grounds if you don’t manage to get one of the prime locations. 🙂

Kawagoe Tourist bus passing Honmaru Goten

Miyoshino shrine has free parking (very busy on weekends), toilets, vending machines, a small shop, a pay phone and a yaki-soba counter. There is also a rent-a-bike station nearby. It is right next to the popular tourist attraction Kawagoe Honmaru Goten, the only surviving building of Kawagoe castle.

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

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/

 

Best of Saitama: Chikozan Park | SAYAMA

Multi-purpose park with Campsite, BBQ, Zoo, Fishing, Sport facilities, Athletic Playground, Multi-use Playground, Beautiful Flora and Fauna.

Chikozan Park in Sayama is close to the controversial proposed site of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Golf Tournament. It is a beautiful vast park with lots of attractions for all types and ages.

There are two playgrounds in the park. Both are set in a wooded area which affords plenty of shade and protection from the elements. They are beside each other too, so kids can run between both and enjoy a couple of hours of fun. The athletic playground was undergoing work for our last 3 visits since the start of the year, but according to the website it is back open for public use. Update February 2017: most of the old equipment of the athletic playground has been removed and they are currently putting in new equipment. Two of the new pieces and one of the old are currently open for use.

The general playground is colourful with some unique equipment. About a 15 minute walk from these playgrounds is the zoo (more information on the zoo: Chikozan Park Zoo). Past the zoo is a marsh with a boardwalk running through it leading to the BBQ area and camping grounds. The camping grounds also has 2 wooden cottages, which are very reasonable to rent. There is other accommodation in Chikozan in the Welfare Center. The welfare center takes care of the BBQ facilities and this is where you can order BBQ food sets. You can barbecue from March.

Sporting facilities include a large sports hall with table tennis, training room, running course, martial arts dojo and many more. There are tennis courts near the children’s zoo. There is a club house in this area. Beside the tennis courts there is a family restaurant. It is a Japanese style restaurant with a raised tatami section which is useful with small kids. The kid’s meal is reasonably priced and quite nice too (pictured below).

The park and its parking are free, but you do need to pay into the zoo (which is very reasonable) and to use some of the facilities such as the tennis courts and camping grounds. You can book online, however their website is in Japanese only. I particularly recommend Autumn and Cherry Blossom season  as a prime time to visit Chikozan park. There is one garden in the park with a number of Cherry Blossoms around a lake. The zoo also has some lovely cherry blossoms pictured below.

Parts of the park can be accessed at all times, but the car parks and various facilities have varying opening and closing times. Generally speaking the park is most accessible between 9 am and 4.30 pm. There are toilets in various locations in the park.

For the Tokyo 2020 Olympics the area of Sayama may well be a pre-games training camp host for RUGBY. The training camp grounds are at Secom Rugby Field very near this park.

In the Area:

Cats Eye Play and Sports Centre | SAYAMA

Cats Eye play and sports centre is very like Spocha in Round 1, just not as classy or clean, and the limited number of staff leave a lot to be desired. There is a smell of stale smoke in the areas …

Source: insaitama.com/cats-eye-play-and-sports-centre-sayama/

Kinchakuda Red Spider Lily Festival | HIDAKA

The famous red spider lilies of Kinchakuda in Hidaka Saitama have begun to bloom and prime viewing is guestimated for the end of September. The season officially opens September 17th until the 2nd …

Source: insaitama.com/event/kinchakuda-red-spider-lily-festival-hidaka/

Hidaka Sougou Park

The Japanese sougou 総合 is used to indicate a multi-purpose park and that is exactly what Hidaka Sougou park is. The park is free in, with free parking.  Here is some of the attractions it has to of…

Source: insaitama.com/hidaka-sougou-park/

A fun day out in Saiboku; Hot springs and Ham! |HIDAKA

Today’s new location for the kids was Saiboku Hot Springs and Ham! We didn’t actually enter the hot springs today, but I have been there myself a few times and it is a nice hot spring. …

Source: insaitama.com/a-fun-day-out-in-saiboku-hot-springs-and-ham/

Related articles

Okegawa Children’s Park | OKEGAWA

February 1st 2013

Today’s play-a-day was a new park for us, but I’m guessing Okegawa Children’s Park has been around a long time. The “monster” in the center of the park is a giveaway; it could do with a lick of paint. I don’t think its officially supposed to be a monster, it just looks like one!  It is still functional and was a huge hit with all the kids.

 

I didn’t think much of the park to be honest, but my toddlers enjoyed it. Credit where credit is due: the section for small children is very nice. It has some unusual play equipment including a cement whale and boat, linked together by a low bridge made of tyres. It is in a sand pit as is the slide of a cement climbing feature, pictured above. One side has spikes to climb on and there is a tunnel under the top of the slide. There are some stepping stones and a cement turtle in the sand pit too. The toadstool seats beside this area are cute and fun for the kids. There are 4 swings in one corner of this area. The rest of the playground is more suited to older children. There is a flying fox as well as lots of different climbing equipment. The monstrosity in the middle of the park, plus one of the climbing frames have cement slides.

Small children would play for a couple of hours in this park, but older children might bore after an hour. There are vending machines and a public phone at the pedestrian entrance to the park. Parking is free. It is a bit tricky to find as the entrance is narrow and hard to see. Update 2016: they have put pedestrian lights near the entrance to the parking for this park and there is a convenience store across the road. Hopefully you will be able to spot the entrance easier with these landmarks.

Fun all year round in Kamihira Park | AGEO


My overwhelming impression of today’s new park is that it is the most used park I’ve been to this month. A friend commented to me recently that Japanese people don’t bring their kids to play outdoors in January. I hadn’t given it much thought until then, but it really does seem to be true in a lot of areas. However, Kamihira park in Ageo City defies that theory as there were plenty of people making use of the park’s facilities.

Kamihira park has, what seems to be, a very popular tennis club. There is also a jogging course, not to mention the baseball pitch and stadium. All, but the latter were getting full usage today. I couldn’t believe the buzz in the park, I haven’t seen a park that busy since late November. The patrons were largely pensioners and mothers with young children.  You often see retired people walking or playing gate ball in parks in Japan, but I have never seen so many of the older generation in one park at one time.  And I haven’t seen so many young children in the playground since Autumn.

One of the pieces of playground equipment is a bucket crane truck.  My son (3 years old) was in playground heaven! I think this may even be a contender for a coveted position on his top ten playground list.

Cement Slide with rope climbing

GENERAL INFORMATION
Address: 16 Sugaya, Ageo, Saitama 362-0003
Phone: 048-776-8986

Toddler Equipment. Slide into sandpit.

Access:

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