Tag Archives: tokyo 2020

Places to bring children to visit animals in Tokyo | GREATER TOKYO AREA

2017 version.
This is a master list of the zoos, farms, aquariums and other places with animals in the Tokyo area that are suited to children. You will also find a handful of locations that are actually outside Tokyo, but considered part of the Greater Tokyo area and renowned as places worth commuting to from Tokyo. This list is suited as a guide to both families living here and those traveling to Japan for a holiday. Each location is linked to either their official website or a webpage with further information. All locations are mapped on a Google My Map at the bottom of the article.
A special mention to the Otemachi Farm that opened in August 2017 on the 13th floor of the Pasona Headquarters building near JR Tokyo Station! Right in the heart of Tokyo City. You need to make a reservation to visit the 60 goats, cows, pigs and on other animals on site.

Zoos, Farms & Animal related

Animal Cafe


Award Winning, Intangible Asset “Suneori Amagoi”, Rain Praying Festival | TSURUGASHIMA

The Suneori Amagoi Rain Praying Festival, which started in 1781, has been awarded a number of cultural and festival accolades. The awards include the prestigious and coveted city designated intangible folk cultural asset and equally distinguished grand prize for the best hometown events, both awarded by the Japanese Government. In recent years, the festival is only conducted once every four years due to a decline in the number of farmers. The next one is this coming Sunday August 7th 2016 from 1 pm and will be carried out regardless of weather conditions.


Suneoriamagoi, From the Tsurugashima City Official Website

The festival involves 300 men carrying a 36 metre long 3 ton giant dragon God made of bamboo and straw 2 kilometres to a lake in Tsurugashima’s Kandachiga pond, where the ritual for rain is conducted. The 300 dragon bearers wear traditional Japanese happi coats. The dragon is made from scratch for each festival, as at the end of the rain ritual in the pond, the dragon is destroyed to incite the God’s anger to evoke thunderstorms, hence rain. You can read more about the history and meaning of this unique festival in detail, in English, on the Tsurugashima City website. The Saitama Tourism website, Sai-no-kuni Kanko, anticipates 30,000 people will attend this coming Sunday.  Coinciding with this rare and fascinating festival is an International Exchange Fair at Wakaba Station, the station you use to get to Suneori Amagoi Festival, from 10 am to 8 pm on Sunday.

From the official Saitama Prefecture Tourism website http://www.sainokuni-kanko.jp/eng/
From the official Saitama Prefecture Tourism website http://www.sainokuni-kanko.jp/eng/


Suneori Amagoi Festival Information

Time: 1 pm to 5 pm
Where: Area from Shirahige Shrine to Kandachiga Pond, Tsurugashima City, Saitama
Access: Approximately 43 minutes from Ikebukuro Station in Tokyo. 15 minute walk from Tobu Tojo Line Wakaba Station. See maps and access photos below

If you can’t make the festival this year, don’t worry – you can watch it live on http://www.ustream.tv/channnel/tsurugashimacity-tv

The next festival after August 7th 2016 will luckily coincide with the 2020 Olympics. The festival is usually held on the 1st Sunday of August, but due to the olympics there maybe changes. I will update nearer the time. The Tokyo 2020 Olympics Golf Events are being held at the Kasumigaseki Country Club in the nearby city of Kawagoe. If golf contestants or spectators want to enjoy a quintessential yet extraordinary Japanese festival this is one to bookmark for your trip to Japan. More on Golf In Saitama: Golf in Japan :: Courses in Saitama

If you understand Japanese, here is a video about the festival and its background. Below that is a nice piece with English subtitles.


Access guide to Tsurugashima from the Tsurugashima Official Website:

From the official Tsurugashima website

On Google Maps


insaitama.com is a non-profit blog. I write to share information with foreigners that don’t read Japanese and might not otherwise know all the great things Saitama prefecture has to offer. I respectfully ask that if you are using or sharing this information, that you please quote the source. Thank you. The adverts that appear on these posts are placed in the hope that one day they might cover the cost of self-hosting a website, but they currently do not generate revenue.

Alice in Wonderland theme restaurant, Ginza branch | TOKYO

I was very excited to visit Alice in a Labyrinth, the Ginza branch of the Alice in Wonderland Japan restaurants earlier in the year. I was sorely disappointed. I had a great night, but that was due to the company of wonderful friends and little to do with the quality or atmosphere of the restaurant. The lighting is very dark, the space is very cramped and the food is bordering on awful. However, the presentation of the food, the character dressed staff and the decor are fun and something different and the desserts are the only delicious thing on the menu.

I had hoped that it might be suitable to bring the kids for a fun dining experience, but it is not suited to young children. There is no room for a buggy (stroller), there are no changing facilities and as far as I am aware they don’t have high-chairs. Older primary school and junior high school children might enjoy it though. There is a big tea-cup booth in the main section of the restaurant.  There are a few private booths and the rest are regular tables. I don’t have much else to say, except the website is fairly horrendous too. You can check it out for yourself here;

Here are some photos we took that night;

4-Salad with dressing in a tea cup 3-Cat ice-cream from the front2-Cat ice-cream 1-Alice waiting staff 5-Chesire cat pasta 1-Mouse Ice-cream

Themed restaurants in Tokyo. Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Disaster Prevention Day and free training centres in Tokyo

Today, the 1st of September, is Disaster Prevention Day, on the anniversary of the Great Kanto Earthquake. This year marks the 90th anniversary of that fatal day in 1923.

This morning the Public Address (PA) System wailed its sirens at 6.30am. These sirens sound like the sirens you hear in World War II movies to signal people to get to bomb shelters. I will never forget the first time I heard the siren, I got the fright of my life as I thought North Korea had invaded. I didn’t realise they use these sirens to signal any sort of disaster or threat or for training. Half an hour after the sirens there were a number of announcements, including a reminder that we could practise evacuating to our nearest safety point today. We didn’t go, but we do know where it is.

By complete co-incidence I had brought the kids to a Disaster Training Centre on Friday. I did not know today was Disaster Prevention Day until this morning when all the Sunday Morning programmes (the only day of the week I watch morning or daytime TV) had a feature on safety and/or how to deal with a natural or manmade disaster. One snippet I watched showed Honjo Disaster Prevention Centre, 本所防災館, in Tokyo. This place looks a lot more interactive than the centre we went to on Friday in Konosu. It has an “urban flooding experiental section” where you can try opening a house door and a car door that has flood water blocking it. You choose how many centimetres of water to try out. They have a smoke maze section, fire fighting room and first aid room just like the one in Konosu has. On the third floor they have a rainstorm simulation section, where they deck you out with full-on rain gear before experiencing torrential rain of the kind you can not move your body and some experimenters said it’s hard to breath. Konosu has basic earthquake and typhoon simulators, but the ones at Honjo 本所防災館 are a lot more life-like. Rinkai 臨海広域防災公園 has an excellent earthquake simulator, where you get to experience an earthquake in an elevator and then escape from a damage-stricken urban area.

The great news is all of these centres are free in and free to use their simulators. For more information on the centre in Konosu, Saitama, please see my blog post An earthquake, a typhoon and a fire all in one day.

Things to do and places to see during the Tokyo Olympics in 2020

Theme cafes, restaurants and buffets for kids in Tokyo


Odaiba is a popular sightseeing spot and shopping area in Tokyo. There are numerous restaurants to cater to most tastes, below is a small selection of child friendly eateries.

Fuji TV chocolate fountain and buffet menuFuji TV Kids Cafe “Mamatoko”

This cafe is popular with all ages from small babies to 6th grade. There is a play area for each group too, but its the buffet that attracts the crowds. There are over 60 variety of foods and 3 chocolate fondue fountains.

Special Information:

♥Strollers / Prams / Buggies Ok
♥They have a feeding area, changing room and baby room
♥Child’s toilet
♥Child seats and children’s cutlery
♥Private room
♥You can order a birthday cake in advance
♥There are “service” hours; check their website
♥Discounts available on their website

Location:  On the 6th floor of Aqua City Odaiba

Hours:  11am to 8pm weekdays, till 9pm weekends


5 different menus with prices ranging from 180 yen for babies to 1,780 for adults.  Please look at their website for details.  http://eshop.fujitv.co.jp/specially/mamatoko/about.html

Website:  http://eshop.fujitv.co.jp/specially/mamatoko/

Ramen kokugikan matsuri odaibaRamen Kokugikan Gotoramen Matsuri

This is like a ramen theme park where there are a number of ramen shops, with a variety of noodles, clustered together.

Special Information:

♥Strollers / Prams / Buggies Ok
♥Child seats

Location: On the 5th floor of Aqua City Odaiba

Hours: 11.00 to 23.00, LO 22.30

Website: aquacity.jp

odaiba decksOdaiba Takoyaki Museum

This is another themed type collection of restaurants in the one area.  This time its takoyaki or Octopus dumplings.  Not ideal for smaller children, but popular among primary school children.

Location: Odaiba Decks

Hours: 11.00 to 21.00

Website:  www.odaiba-decks.com/

Access to Odaiba Restaurants

  • All are on the Yurikamome line
  • Accessible from Shuto Expressway number 11’s Daiba Interchange

Tokyo Dome City

There are a huge selection of eateries in Tokyo Dome City, Tokyo Dome Hotel and the general Tokyo Dome area. You can find a list of the restaurants in English here.  I have chosen some of the more unique or popular places for young children.

Moomin cafe and bakery in tokyo dome cityMoomin Bakery and Cafe

Location: In LaQua, one of Tokyo’s largest hot spring resorts, Tokyo Dome City

Access:  Approximately 3 minute walk from Kourakuen Station on the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line

Hours: 8.00 to 22.30 (LO 22.00) on weekdays, 8.00 to 22.oo (LO 21.00) on weekends and holidays

Website:  www.benelic.com/moomin_cafe/tokyo_dome/

Baseball cafeBaseball Cafe

This American style restaurant themed on the major league, has a kids menu that comes with a hero figure.  Currently (May 2013), there are discount coupons available on their page on Tokyo Dome City’s website.

Special Information:

♥Strollers / Prams / Buggies Ok
♥They have changing facilities
♥Child seats
♥They will mark a birthday or special celebration
♥They have performances between 18.45 and 21.15
♥Discounts available on the Tokyo Dome City website

Bikkuri Donkey menu at tokyo dome cityBikkuri Donkey

Bikkuri Donkey is a chain restaurant that is popular among children. It has a 43 year history. It serves mainly burgers.  There are a number of branches in Tokyo.   You can find details of the opening hours in the Tokyo Dome City branch here.

Rilasse in Tokyo Dome HotelRilassa

Usually when I go to Kourakuen or as its most commonly called Tokyo Dome, I eat in the city and as yet I have not had the pleasure of dining in the Tokyo Dome Hotel. I first read of this Buffet in Rilassa, in Tokyo Dome Hotel, in a popular Japanese magazine.  I have since seen it mentioned in many (Japanese) “guides” to Tokyo with children.  You can get full information in English on their website here.

Coming up

Teddy Bear Tea time at the Ritz Carlton Tokyo
Princess Heart Restaurant in Ginza
Alice in Wonderland themed restaurants

and more…

Things to do and places to see during the Tokyo Olympics in 2020