ario halloween

I was suitably impressed with Ario mall in Ageo when it first opened. However, over the years the mall has gone completely downhill and lost most of the attractions that once made it one of Saitama’s most family friendly malls. Information for the annual Ageo Industry Festival is contained in this post too.

Ario Ageo

The only thing that really remains that is any good from when I first wrote this post is the outdoor playgrounds. Even their indoor play area, that was once fantastic, is lacklustre now. Moreover, they put a TV in the play area playing back to back DVDs. I hate seeing malls do this; Benibana Walk in Okegawa also do this. And like Benibana Walk, the only other things Ario has going for it in 2022 is its baby room and its events!


There is an outdoor playground by the Giraffe parking lot. It has the unique feature of a designated area to draw with chalk, provided for free for the children’s use.

Tunnel slide at Ario Ageo
Stepping stones at Ario Ageo

It isn’t a huge playground, but there is more than enough to entertain young children for a half hour or so. Slides are always a favourite with my kids and this playground has six as well as climbing activities, stepping stones and a little hut.

Popjet Play area

Popjet water play area in Ario Ageo

In the summer, they have a popjet play area, where kids can play with water that jets out from the ground. Its very popular with toddlers! However, since the pandemic its only been on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. In 2024 it is on each Saturday and Sunday of May, June and July as well as public holidays and July 29th to 31st. The August schedule is not yet available.

Indoor play areas

Mini "Aquarium"

There is a large amusement area (games, slot machines, anpanman machines, purikura etc) upstairs. It is a complete rip off! The crane games are totally rigged. Even the easy push type crane game that dispense sweets, rarely dispense anything. I saw online that it has hundreds of bad reviews for their crane games being way too difficult and this was our experience too.

Mama smile4
Mama Smile is unfortunately long gone, since about 2017

There used to be a lovely play area for kids called Mama Smile in this area, but unfortunately that closed down in 2017. Also, Pomme Cafe which was on the first floor restaurant area, which was an ‘oyako’ (parent and child) cafe with a play area in it, also closed down before 2017.

2nd Floor Play area

Boring new play area

The second floor play area used to be quite good, but unfortunately they destroyed that too. They moved its location, so its smaller now. And it has a TV showing back to back DVDs. Why do they do this!?

Baby Rest area

"Baby Rest Spot"

The “baby rest area” is still there and it is a nice one. It has a nursery, changing facilities (both the tape nappy and pull up type), children’s toilet, feeding area complete with high chairs with straps (a rarity in Japan), baby weighing scales and a height chart, a microwave, two burcos (clean boiled water for bottles) and 3 sinks for washing hands. There is also a “baby consultation room” there, but I’ve yet to check that out.

Inside the baby rest spot


The saving grace of Ario Ageo, other than having a couple of decent shops, is its events. They have good events on for New Year and Golden Week in particular. The next events of note are:

Sai wadaiko group Ario Ageo

On Sunday June 16th, Ario Ageo will have a very special live performance by Sai, a relatively famous taiko performance group. They have performed over 2000 times in more than 30 countries! They will perform at the outdoor event space three times on the 16th. At 11 am, 1 pm and again at 3 pm. There is also a flea market on the same day. Official event page for the Taiko performances.

Ario Ageo festival june 2024

The Ario Ageo Festival is on Saturday June 22nd and Sunday June 23rd 2024. A highlight of the festival for many will be the supercars. They are on display on the Sunday only. On the Saturday they have a number of live performances. They will also have workshops on both days and bouncy castle play areas for kids. In addition, there are food trucks and an area with festival games. Official event page.

There are other facilities dotted here and there, like character trolleys that keep the kids entertained as you shop, small toilets for children and changing stations in the main toilets. The parking is free.

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  1. It’s great when you find a new hang out. pity its so far from the train station otherwise i’d check it out!

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