Hard to believe it is already that time of year, but the wading / splash pool in Saitama Children’s Zoo will open for the 2017 season during Golden Week. From April 29th you can enjoy the splash pool, weather permitting until the end of September.
More information on Saitama Children’s Zoo in English:
We have only been to Hanasaki Water Park once, due to the distance from our house, but it 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.
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.
**Please note that some of the services are not available on Mondays, except during the 6 weeks of summer holidays**
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.
We’ve been hanging out in Shiroyama park quite a lot recently. Thanks to the Family Walker magazine featuring the new piece of playground equipment (pictured) and suggesting it as a hanami location. We had visited a few times in the past, but it didn’t make an impression. It does now.
The timing was convenient, too. The kids have taken turns bringing lurgy into the house; Shiroyama has the perfect playground for sick days. The playground (by the tennis courts, near the main parking area off route 12), isn’t too expansive, is in the sun, but surrounded by trees, and has a sandpit. Another benefit for our family is that there is something for each of their ages. 5 year old likes the flying fox and climbing bars. 4 year old likes the see saw and climbing wall. 2 year old likes the seesaw and climbing net. 4 month likes the view. They all love the sandpit that has two sliding tunnels (last photo); something we haven’t seen anywhere else below.
Shiroyama park also has an adventure playground, a paddling pool, and hanami, picnic and BBQ areas. The BBQ area is free to use, but you need to physically go into the park’s management area up to a day before to book a place. There is a cot in the toilet for the disabled for changing nappies, but to be honest the park’s toilets could do with an upgrade!
Information and Access
Shiroyama Park is an approximate 15 minute bus ride from Okegawa Station’s West exit. Take a bus for Kawagoe Station 川越駅 and alight at Kawataya shisho Bus Stop 川田谷支所.
By car it is 5 minutes from the Okegawa – Kitamoto interchange on the Ken-O Expressway. It takes one hour by car from Tokyo. Parking and all the facilities in Okegawa (excluding vending machines!) are free.