School’s out! Indoor parks, playgrounds and play spaces

Baby Oasis in Jiyugaoka. (located above the Anpanman Shop): 1200yen an hour. Cafetaria offering nomihodai (all-you-can-drink) for the mums. It is self serve but they have an espresso machine, herbal teas and iced coffee available. The changing room is very nice and there are private rooms with comfy looking chairs for breastfeeding. Toys for toddlers and babies.

Beetle Nature Garden at Kodomonokuni Kids’ Village Mushi-Mushi Land, Tokiwa Town, Fukushima prefecture
The focus of this theme park for nature-loving children is a beetle-shaped dome studio named the “Beetle-Watching Natural Park,” the first of its kind in Japan. The theme park also has a BBQ house, bungalows and accommodation facilities.

Parking for 300 cars
Admission fee 200yen for adult, 150yen for child, Beetle house 200yen for adult, 150 yen for child
Opening time(Closing day)9:00-16:30 (Mushimushi-Land closes in winter, Beetle observation nature garden closes from September to June, Beetle house closes from November to late April)
Incidental equipment Sky Palace Tokiwa (Hotel facility)
Access—-30 minute drive from Banetsu Expressway Funehiki-Miharu IC. 30 minutes by bus from JR Banetsu East Line Funehiki Station.
Reference—-Tokiwa Town Industry Promotional Bureau
TEL (0247)77-2070 FAX (0247)77-4226

Fantasy Kids Resort in Ebina, west of Tokyo offer the same perks as regular parks — fun for children and relaxation for their busy parents but High Security, Safe toys and equipment and Hygiene are its selling points. Even the playsets are inflatable to avoid any injury. 1,000 kids can be accommodated in the large ingenious playground with air-filled trampolines and closets full of costumes to dress up in.The indoor facility has a big sand box that uses sterilized sand and is of course free of dog or cat waste — but is still cleaned out every day to weed out any objects. Mothers who arrive with strollers are asked to wipe the wheels with anti-bacterial soap.Visitors also have to check their shoes in a foot locker — for security as well as hygienic reasons. Mothers bringing their children to Fantasy Kids Resort have to fill out application forms and present IDs for annual membership. About 20 uniformed staff members watch over the children and 16 security cameras hang from the ceilings.Parents and kids pay 420 yen (US$3.63) each for the first hour and 210 yen (US$1.82) is charged every additional half hour. Over 30 more branches are planned for the next 5 yrs. The indoor park was featured in press reports; also at;

Fun House Tokyo is a drop in indoor play place in Azabu Jyuban. Children aged 0-5 yrs and accompanying adults can climb and play on the climbers, ball pits, and drive around the track on their ride on cars! There is a protected baby zone for children under 2 is full of high quality imported toys. Children can relax an destress in the sensory exploration room. Parents can chat and have a coffee from the coffee shop. Monday-Sunday open mornings from 9:30-12:00 Monday-Friday open afternoons from 2:15-4:45. Phone: 03-5442-8009

***Ghibili Museum (Mitaka-no-mori-jiburi-bijitsukan). Though a fairly newly established museum, this has already become a veritable mecca capital for anime fans around the world… busloads of foreign tourists heading here daily, thanks to the fame of Miyazaki Hayao’s animation movies. The building which houses the museum is an architectural marvel and a delight in itself, with a Mediterranean feel to it, and within Renaissance timbered old-world chambers with secrets to be unraveled behind doors. A HUGE Tottoro greets the visitor behind the unused ticket window outside. Within the building, light filters through stained-glass windows contributing to the fantasy world within the building. Even individual toilets feature different stained-glass artwork. There is a gallery with hundreds of original hand-sketches to final frames for Ghibili movies and set-ups of the animation studio and explanations of how the industry works. Best visited having watched a few of the greatest Ghibili movies (Totoro, Sen-to-chihiro, etc, with your children, but you will be inspired to watch them if you haven’t. Not to be missed is a stroll on the rooftop that has a herb garden and sculptures of Ghibili anime characters. The half-hourly showings of short-films are a real treat too. For the kids, nekobus room is a must … pity the rationed time there to accommodate the crowds. Arrive early or you’ll regret not having enough time to see everything. An enchanting experience guaranteed! (You might want to combine and compare this with a Suginami Animation Museum visit on another day.)

Kichichoji 0123 is a children’s playroom for 3 years and below, operated by Musashino City. Located close to the border with Tokyo’s Nerima-ku and Suginami-ku. Indoor (heated flooring) playroom with toys. You can also visit the lounge, nursery, counselling rooms, book corner, conversation corner and study hall, art room, or your can have your food in the lunch hall upstairs or play outside. Free to residents of Musashino City. Open 9:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday (closed Sunday, Monday, national holidays (except Children’s Day) and the end of the year/new year holiday season) Location: 2-29-12 Kichijoji Higashicho (12 min. walk from Kichijoji Station, or a 2 min. walk from the Higashi-cho-1-chome bus stop on the Kichijoji Station to Nishi Ogikubo Station Kanto Bus line. ) Phone: 0422-20-3210

Kid-o-Kid facilities – operated by Bornelund toy stores – include a baby-safe area for crawling and playing. There is also a ball pit (ages 3 and up), a “bouncy house,” a play kitchen, dress-up area, train table, tricycles, inflatable rolling tubes that an adult and child can go in together, and much more. There is a sand area as well so be prepared for your child to get messy if you let them in there. See fabulous photo gallery of Kid-O-Kid here 

Leaf Minato Mirai, 4-6-5, Nishi-ku, Yokohama, Tel. 045-650 1231. (on the Minato Mirai line, Minato Mirai station, exit 1). Y500 for the first half hour and Y100 for every 10 minutes thereafter Opening hours are 10.30am to 19.00pm. I couldn’t find any reference to prices.

The Kobe 2F, Shin Kobe Oriental Avenue, Kitano 1-1, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Phone: 0120-244 013 (Bornelund Osaka general number). Opening hours 10am to 18.30pm. Right next to Shin Kobe station. Prices: Children must pay 600 yen for first 30 minutes, 100 yen every 10 minutes after that – adults pay a 200 yen flat rate. For other Bornelund locations see access maps at

Note: Compare Kid-O-Kid (KidoKido in Japanese) prices per hour at 800 yen — compare this with Nikopa (Kids Smile Park) in the neighborhood which is cheaper at 400 yen and where parents go free.

JUMPIN JOY” Kadena AB, Okinawa. Very close to Naval Kadena shopping area.  It has bounce houses, swings, and slides, and ideal for 2-6 year old children.  We provide safe, clean fun for the kids.  Great rates, and we would be happy to give group discounts contact Roy at 098 989 7728. 

The link below provides pictures and comments:!/profile.php?id=100002163767580

Kids Smile Park (Nikopa in Japanese) (にこぱ) Jackmall, Yokohama similar to Fantasy Park, 20 min 300 yen with every 10 min there after 100 yen (adult guardians free) much cheaper than Kid-O-Kid. Phone: 045-226-0722

Kids Plaza Osaka features a combined science museum, culture center and playground with games, toys and characters – a place that is designed to teach children about the world that they live in. There is also a “Cultures of the World” section, for instance, where kids can try on ethnic traditional costumes or American football uniform. 2-1-7 Ogimachi, Kita-ku Phone: 06- 6311-6601 Access: Next to exit #2 of Ogimachi Station on the Sakaisuji subway line.

Kidzania Urban Port LalaPort, Koto-ku 2-chome, Toyosu, Tokyo, will be a scaled-down
for kiddies’ virtual town with a collection of facilities and shops or hands-on job-experience theme park. Scheduled for opening in October 2006, 50 pavilions will offer children a chance to work at a gas station, beauty salon, TV station, fire department, automobile maintenance shop, confectionary plant and others (from the website, those facilities look REAL!) Based on Mexico city’s big-hit theme park that opened in 1999. Kidzania is based on a recent trend of edu-tainment and is billed as “Japan’s First
Facility For Children to Experience Various Professions Hands-on”; Admission is steep: Kids willl pay 3,000 yen and adults 2,000 yen. Reviews by Japan Today and Asahi

Muscle Park in Odaiba
Muscle Park , billed as Japan’s first all-sports-themed park has an indoor arena the size of 11 tennis courts. There are 25 activities separated into eight themed zones, testing mental prowess as well as athletic skill and finesse. Reviewed by Metropolis here and by Tokyo Families here 5F Decks Tokyo Beach Island Mall, 1-6-1 Daiba, Minato-ku. Phone: 03-6821-9999. Open Mon-Fri 11am-9pm, Sat-Sun and hols 11am-10pm (kids’ attractions close earlier). Nearest stn: Odaiba Kaihin Koen (Yurikamome) or Tokyo Teleport (Rinkai line).

National Children’s Castle, Omotesando, Tokyo has everything in this building – gymnasium, swimming pool, “bu-bu” little tykes rides, music, percussion room, lego blocks, see this write up for all details plus access info.

Omochaoukoku (Toy Kingdom) in Karuizawa. In a natural setting, the park is literally a paradise for kids – land of toys, food, fun and games. Outdoor pools, joyrides in the amusement park, toy chamber rooms, activities like suikawari (watermelon hacking while blindfolded), kabuto/kuwagata-mushi-fighting rings in summer – while accommodated at the luxurious Hotel Green Plaza Karuizawa. This is the Japanese alternative to Disneyland.

Sanrio Puroland 1-31 Ochiai, Tama-ku, Tokyo. Access: 30 mins from Shinjuku. Like at Disneyland, at Sanrio Character-land – you get greetings by popular Sanrio characters at this indoor theme park featuring 7 attractions. Main events include the daily show with singing, dancing, acrobatic story that takes place 360 degrees around Puroland’s centerpiece – the magnificent “Friendship Tree”. And of course, your kids will want to shop at one of the largest Sanrio stores in Japan with just about everything Sanrio in production sold here. See this write-up online.

*Seagaia Ocean Dome, Miyazaki Hamayama, Yamasaki-cho, Miyazaki-shi, Miyazaki. Access: 25 min from Miyazaki Airport. Famed for the world’s largest indoor water park but there are also a zoo, hotels, convention centre, golf courses and tennis courts.

Shonandai Culture Centre Children’s Museum

*Space World, Fukuoka. 4-1-1 Higashida, Yahatahigashi-ku, Kita-Kyushu-shi, Fukuoka. Access: 55 min by JR Line from Hakata Stn. Rides to space without leaving Earth!

Sunshine City at Ikebukuro’s indoor spaces – feature lots to do here with the Sunshine International Aquarium (1800 yen) that has a small zoo with lemurs, penguins, Shetland ponies, and several other species up-close; the Sunshine Starlight Dome planetarium with a rotating schedule that includes an “All Sky CG Program” with a footage of the Aurora Borealis; the Sunshine Theater’s live shows featuring acts like a live revue of the “Sailor Moon” cartoon and pop stars; and last but not least there’s Namja Town which is Japan’s largest indoor theme park with its six “towns,” including several based on food, such as Ice Cream Town and Gyoza Stadium, in the spirit of nostalgic 1950’s Japan.Tokyo Joypolis 1-6-1 Daiba Minato-ku, Tokyo. Access:2 min walk from Odaiba Kaihin Park Stn (Tokyo Rinkai New Transportation “Yurikamome”)/5 min walk from Toko Teleport Stn (Rinkai Fuku Toshin Line). The largest and most sophisticated of theme parks in Japan located in the entertainment hub of Decks Tokyo Beach, Odaiba, made to look like a city of the future and is full of 3D adventures. Lots of videogames from Sega promoted here too.

Tokyo Sesame Place, Tokyo. Access: Hachioji Stn (JR Chuo Line)/ Keio-Hachioji Stn (Keio Line) 30 min by bus Phone: 042-558-6511

Tokyo-to Jido Kaikan, Shibuya is similar to the National Children’s Castle and is practically right next door to it too. The big difference is it’s free. Music-rooms, theater, scheduled story-telling in their great bookroom.

Youth’s & Children’s Museum, Wakkanai, Hokkaido

NOTE: There are many many other themed places and spaces that kids can go to amuse themselves and learn something in the process – themed / transportation / science museums, etc. See the SCHOOL’S OUT page for lots more suggestions.

For more ideas on Splash or Wading Pools visit this link.

1 thought on “School’s out! Indoor parks, playgrounds and play spaces”

  1. While visiting with my daughter and her family in Yokohama we were advised to take her children to
    to the indoor play park, Kids Smile Park. It is an absolutely wonderful place for children. I was impressed with the cleanliness of every part of the facility and each station was educational in one way or another.
    The youngest is 7 months old and found almost every station fascinating. She was able to pull up on different levels of shaped stacked mats and if she fell it was a safe landing. Our 2 year old had the most amazing time there and begs to return daily. There is a monthly package plan that provides a great savings if you are a frequent visitor of the Kids Smile Park. It is a beautiful stoll away and the cherry trees are in blossom so we look forward to the walk then all the fun.

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