A guide to Maruhiro Kawagoe – family facilities, kid friendly restaurant, cute animal shaped desserts and tax free shopping. In addition, you can find special information for attending the Kawagoe Festivals with kids, as well as other seasonal events. This post once included information for the rooftop amusement park which unfortunately closed in 2019. I’ve left the photos for posterity! This post also includes information for more than a dozen Golden Week events in 2024, which you will find outlined below.

Maruhiro Kawagoe

Maruhiro in Kawagoe, a prestigious department store on the main shopping street Crea Mall. It was once a great spot with kids because they had an amusement park on the roof. Unfortunately, that closed permanently on August 31st 2019. However, there is still a play area in the department store. And there are still some interesting areas in the store. Plus it is a key spot to consider if you are attending any of the larger Kawagoe Festivals with kids. Moreover, it hosts some interesting events during the year. Coming up they have dozens of fun events scheduled for Golden Week 2024.

Maruhiro Sixth Floor

Toy Stores and Play Area

The toy store of Maruhiro is located on the 6th floor. They have a Bornelund in the toy store area, which sells beautiful wooden educational toys. They are also a distributor of the fantastic British board games giant Orchard Toys, my personal favourite toy brand for children under six. 

There is a Sanrio shop here. This branch of Sanrio sells mainly bento goods and trinkets. They have some Hello Kitty toys and one rail of clothes. Bornelund, Sanrio and the general toy store have play areas with sample toys out for kids to enjoy. Each shelving area also has some toys you can try too. They have everything from arts and crafts to zoo animals.  My girls enjoy the musical instruments such as mini piano as well as the dolls houses and play kitchens. My son loves to build with the magformers and similar building kids. Bornelund toys are a bit on the pricey side, but they are extremely high quality and educational to boot. The toys in the play area are about the same as most toy stores, maybe a little more expensive than they are in Toysrus. They have a good range considering that the toy area isn’t that big.

Maruhiro 6F Baby / Toddler Facilities

Off one side of this toy area, between Bornelund and Sanrio there is a comfortable baby and toddler room. It has seats and tables, a couple of highchairs, a microwave and hot water dispenser. Basically, everything you would need (bar the food and cutlery) to feed a small child. There are nappy changing mats here too and a nursing area. There are general toilets beside this room for both men and women, and a toilet for wheelchair users. The toilets in the women’s have “baby-keeps”, like a highchair except built into the wall, to hold baby while you use the facilities!

Maruhiro 6F Family Restaurants

Also, on this floor are some restaurants. They are all fairly mediocre and some more popular than others. Two worth mentioning are: Olive House as one to avoid, and Gin Yuba for their super value kids meal.

The latter, Gin Yuba, offers Kyoto Cuisine presented in the Teishoku form; Japanese style set meals. It is named after its main staple; Yuba, a product made from soybeans. The selection on the lunch menu is quite decent. They don’t have English menus, but there are good photos on the Japanese menus so you can order easily from them. You can also see their full menu on their website.

The Guru Navi Japan Restaurant Guide site offers reservation support in English for this restaurant. Currently, their kids meal is half price. Only 250 yen for a fairly healthy and filling meal served on a shinkansen plate. It comes with a drink and you can chose one toy from a small selection. The regular lunches come with a complimentary serving of tea and they provide water for free too. When you order the lunch the main part is served to you at the table and you are given a rectangle shaped tray with 3 sections so that you can help yourself to 3 side dishes of your choice from a selection on a table near the door.

Another reason I like this restaurant when I have the kids with me is because you can get a private room and it is Japanese style. So you don’t need any high chairs, the kids can sit on the floor and they can relax in their own private space.

Maruhiro Fifth Floor

Ageo Santa Higashimatsuyama Santa Sakado Maruhiro
Maruhiro Santa 2017

The fifth floor hosts several seasonal events. For example, at Christmas time the real Santa from Lapland visits on select dates. He wasn’t able to visit during the pandemic, but he’s been back since 2023. (He will also visit the Ageo and Higashimatsuyama branches of Maruhiro). In addition, each summer Maruhiro have a special event during the summer holidays. They also have several Golden Week events:

Golden Week Events Kawagoe Maruhiro 2024

2024Golden Week events Kawagoe Maruhiro
April 24th ~ May 7thHiroshi Nagai Urban Cruising Exhibition
April 24th ~ May 7thThe Bear’s School Jackie Pop up Shop
April 27th ~ 29th・May 3rd ~ May 6thFood truck fes in the parking lot at the east exit, from 11 am to 5 pm
April 27thFree soccer fun for young children (4 – 9 years old) needs to be booked in advance. Registration opens April 24th at 10 am.
April 27thFood Marche, same link as above. It will be postponed until 28th if there is bad weather.
April 28thPlay with one of the Sylvania Family life size mascot’s Freya
April 28thGet a photo with Polo (Ralph Lauren) Bear *conditions apply
April 28th and 29thRooftop picnic. Advance booking required and can be done from the Maruhiro App from April 17th.
April 29thFree police motorbike (Shirobai) experience and dress up – weather permitting
May 3rdChalk Art on the 7th floor, from 500 yen per person
May 3rdKawagoe Fire department special event
May 3rd and 4thKids trampoline park. 300 yen for 10 minutes. You can book a spot in advance from April 17th.
May 4thTaiko performances at 1 pm and 2.30 pm, weather permitting.
May 5thCity mascot greetings at 11 am, 1 pm and 2.30 pm
May 6thCheerleading performances at 1 pm and 2.30 pm

Rooftop Amusement Area (until 31/08/2019)

Update April 1st 2019: wanpaku land will close permanently on August 31st 2019. For posterity, here are some photos from the rooftop amusement park:

Other useful information

For foreigners visiting Kawagoe to do some shopping or long termers in Japan who like point cards another area of interest is the fourth floor. Here they have a large customer service area that handles tax back claims and applications for point cards.  If you would like to buy some food and / or food gifts, chocolates, alcohol or other food / drink speciality items, the basement is where you will find a choice of delectable delights. My kids love the owl shaped cakes by JuchHeim Die Meister.

Kawagoe Festival

Kujibiki at Kawagoe Summer Festival Maruhiro

Finally, I want to mention Maruhiro as a key point to visit if you are coming to the Kawagoe festivals with kids. Particularly, the mammoth Autumn Kawagoe Festival. We have been attending the festival for years and have found their toy Kujibiki to be about the best of all the Kujibiki stalls throughout the festival. Kujibiki is a type of lottery used in festivals. There are a number of ways it is played; the end result is the same – a piece of paper reveals what, if anything, you have won. Usually the paper has a number or symbol on it that is matched to a group of toys with the same number or symbol. You then get to pick what you would like out of the selection.

Lottery

We have never won the big prize at the Maruhiro lottery and it doesn’t matter, because… No matter what you draw in the toy lottery at Maruhiro you get a really good present to take away. It is well worth the money (if you want to play the game) because the gifts are the nicest I have seen as a booby prize for a lottery draw. Due to this reason though, it is always crowded. It is good fun to watch while you queue. Another reason this is a good spot to stop by with kids during the festival is that they turn the car park, at the back of the department store, into an amusement area. They have bouncy castles and other attractions. There is also a rest area here.

Maruhiro Access

Parking for Maruhiro is charged, but if you spend over a 1,000 yen you get an hour free. If you spend over 10,000 you get three hours free.  The store opens from 10 am to 7 pm seven days a week, except for the days that Maruhiro takes off. You will need to check the Maruhiro schedule for the up-to-date information as it is not a fixed schedule. By public transport: the closest station is Seibu Shinjuku Line’s Hon-Kawagoe station. JR and Tobu Tojo Line Kawagoe station are within walking distance too.

Services

There are shopping carts suitable for babies and toddlers and you can also borrow a buggy / stroller. They have wheelchairs to borrow too.  Most of the toilets are between floor and so not suited to those with buggies / strollers or in a wheelchair. They have a wheelchair friendly toilet on the 1st floor and on the 6th floor. There are annexes to Maruhiro with lots of different shops and facilities too.

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