Tokyo with Kids- Yoyogi Park

One of the things that I found challenging when I first arrived was to find places to take the children to where they could have fun, learn new things and experience this amazing country. I have decided that I will write a review of the places that we visit so to encourage others to experience this country with kids in tow! 

For my Japanese readers, I seriously doubt that I need to write a post on Yoyogi park, but for my other readers I felt it vital and interesting. Vital, because if you have kids in Tokyo, then Yoyogi park is a crucial part of your “Let’s-get-the-kids-outdoors” arsenal, interesting because the visit is never the same experience twice!

Yoyogi park is to the north of Omotesando and Shibuya. At 134 acres it is one of Tokyo’s largest parks. It borders Meiji Shrine and is easily accessible from Harajuku or Yoyogi-koen stations. It has trees all round the edge, which make it wonderfully cool in the summer and a haven for photographers in autumn.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA And spring.

P1010189

The park provides a place where people can relax and unwind, practice their dance moves or musical instuments.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe open field in the center is a place where children of all ages can skip, fly kites, play football or whatever. IMG_5628

My girls and their friends had a wonderful time one spring day, when they joined in with a group of Japanese students who were playing skipping games. The students were only too happy to let the ‘gaijins’ join in!
(Gaijin- a Japanese word for foreigner/ alien.)

It is a wonderful place for children to burn off energy and be free.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA There is a cycle centre where you can rent bikes for all ages and cycle round the park, or on the circuit, if you’re little and still learning. Admittedly I’ve yet to use it, though it’s very tempting as my 4 year old still can’t ride a bike! Ours love the freedom that the park offers, from climbing the trees or the modern art statue, digging the ground with the toy diggers, putting leaves on the vent from the underground and watching them fly into the air or just stroking the animals.
Aaah the animals…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So dogs dressed up in coats and other outfits, IMG_5632

(or their owners dressed as dogs)

riding in a pram or bike, isn’t overly uncommon, but it does bring new meaning to the word personification. Yoyogi park, does provide two dog runs (one for medium- large dogs and one for medium-small dogs.) where people can let their dogs off the lead and run free.
But I’ve seen a pet rabbit going for a walk, a tortoise and most recently a pet owl.

IMG_5617
Like I said, no visit is ever the same and it always an interest factor about it!

Yoyogi park is open from dawn to dusk, all year round (except this summer just gone where there were some reported cases of dengue fever resulting from a visit there. In true Japanese style, they closed the park for nearly 3 months, and I believe they sprayed it with insecticide as well.)

Access is easy too, as it has its own car park and Yoyogi-Koen station (on the Metro Chiyoda line) is right underneath the park. On overland trains, Harajuku station on the JR Yamanote line is a 5 minute walk, as is Yoyogi Hachiman station on the Odakyu line.

I love Yoyogi park and every little aspect of it, and I would love to hear about your experiences at it too.

Tokyo with Kids- Tokyo Toy Museum

One of the things that I found challenging when I first arrived was to find places to take the children to where they could have fun, learn new things and experience this amazing country. I have decided that I will write a review of the places that we visit so to encourage others to experience this country with kids in tow! 

 

 

 

It felt in mid-March that Spring was taking a while to show up, so Toddler Trips headed out to the Tokyo Toy Museum, where we could be indoors from the cold.

The name is a bit deceptive as it isn’t a museum, like we Westerners know museums. Yes, they have some toys on display, but the whole feel of the place was that of a place where children can play with beneficial (ie aiding development) toys.

20140410-140057.jpg

It is located in a former school, on a side street about 7 minutes walk from Exit 2 (the elevator exit) of Yotsuya Sanchome station. The rooms are former classrooms and are dedicated to various types of toys.
Our first stop was the Good Toy Gallery. This room houses toys that have been accredited as effective in assisting children’s development. There is a doughnut table in the middle with a selection of these toys and our little group had no qualms about trying them out. J and a friend thoroughly enjoyed a ball helter skelter toy.

20140410-140352.jpg

The Wood Toy Forest was our next stop. This was spectacular! Everything was made out of wood. Wooden ball pits to play in, a tree house, bead pit to rake (Zen Garden style- though ours rather enjoyed picking up and throwing them!)- all beautifully made.

20140410-140523.jpg

Toy Square Red was another room where we lost the children for a while as they disappeared a mini tatami room and played tea parties- Japanese Style. This room is primarily focused on traditional Japanese toys.

20140410-140657.jpg

Unfortunately time constraints meant we didn’t really explore all the rooms or try out the activities that are offered in the Toy Factory, but it was a great morning out.

The museum was a big hit with our group from the 13 month old to the nearly 4 year old. I think my girls (ages 7 & 9) would enjoy it- but not as much as my son did, or for as long. That said, I never visited the Games Salon and I’m sure they would happily have stayed in there playing table top football, Catch the Lion or one of the Chinese puzzles.

20140410-140800.jpg

A lovely morning, enjoyed by all and one I’d highly recommend.

Address: Yotsuya Hiroba, 4-20 Yotsuya, Shinjuku-ku,Tokyo 160-0004.
Hours: 10:00-16:00
Closed: Thursdays
Tickets: Adults:¥700
Child: ¥500

Tokyo with Kids- Shinagawa Aquarium

One of the things that I found challenging when I first arrived was to find places to take the children to where they could have fun, learn new things and experience this amazing country. I have decided that I will write a review of the places that we visit so to encourage others to experience this country with kids in tow! 

My son, J loves aquariums and zoos. He especially loves matching the fish to their image. We have been to a few aquariums, Tokyo Sea Life Park, Hakkeijima Sea Paradise and Epson Aqua Stadium and over the Winter Holidays, we had an opportunity to visit Shinagawa Aquarium.

20140129-111143.jpg
After driving around for 30 minutes trying to work out where the car park was, we entered the aquarium. Like most animal attractions in Japan, it is a cheap place to visit.

The tanks had the usual assortment of various types of fish. The tunnel had a couple of turtles, rays and other fish. It had a few cameras dressed up as turtles and for 100Yen, the girls had a go at moving it up and down and round and watching the fish on the screen. They had great fun pretending they were Octanauts in an Octopod.

There was a dolphin and walrus show, which the children found fascinating. You could also watch the dolphin tank from below. I thought their tank was a bit small for them, and unfortunately I don’t believe that they have much more room behind the scenes.

20140129-112119.jpg

The highlight for me was the seal tunnel. The seals are in a tank with a U- shaped tunnel going through the pool so the seals can swim over, under and round you. I haven’t seen a tunnel in the seal pools in any aquarium before, and thoroughly enjoyed watching them whizz over, under and round me.

20140129-112315.jpg

The highlight for the girls was the touch pool. The loved being able to pick up starfish and feel them. They kept going back to the pool for more.

As I mentioned before, getting there was a bit of a challenge, though now that we know how to get there, it is easy by car.The train stations are all a bit of a walk- 8 Minutes from the Keihin Omorikaigan Station and 15 minutes from the Omori Station on the JR Keihin Tohoku Line.The aquarium does offer a free transit bus from Bus Stop No.6 outside the Oi Town Central Station,East Exit, which is on the JR Keihin Tohoku Line.

A lovely afternoon out and worth visiting.

Apologies that the photo quality is a bit erratic- we weren’t always allowed to use a flash.

Tokyo with Kids- Epson Aqua Stadium

One of the things that I found challenging when I first arrived was to find places to take the children to where they could have fun, learn new things and experience this amazing country. I have decided that I will write a review of the places that we visit so to encourage others to experience this country with kids in tow! 

After our last trip to an aquarium- Tokyo Sea Life Park, I’ve been quite keen to get to another as J had such fun there.

We got an opportunity recently as the girls were away in a school residential trip so I didn’t need to do a pick up, and the weather ensured that we needed to do an indoor outing.

I put forward to J a couple of the aquarium options that he could visit and he chose the Epson Aqua Stadium as he wanted to see the dolphins.

Epson Stadium 6

So off we went, Yamanote line to Shinagawa, out at the West Exit. We wandered through Wings shopping centre and discovered that the aquarium only opened at 12 during the week. It was 11am. J had been up since 4:30am, so he popped into the pram and had a nap. I grabbed an early lunch.

At 12:45 we went in. I experienced a Lost-in-Translation moment as I asked a young lady where I could get the tickets and she directed me to the lift. Upstairs I got sent back down, where I found the ticket machine.

Realistically I should have guessed as most places in Japan have machines that spit out the entry ticket.

¥1800 for me (about £13) and J was free as he is under 4. ¥400 for children over 4.

Epson Stadium 2

The aquarium is small and an easy 1/2 day trip. Their feature tank is their tunnel with rays and some sharks. J loved watching the fish and matching the fish to their image. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Alfred Ray (the teacher ray in Finding Nemo) and admiring how the actual ray moved with the same grace and flow as the one in Nemo. This one didn’t sing however!

Epson Stadium 5

Most of the other tanks were small, but still entertaining for the children. Some of the names were written in English, but there was no information about the fish given in English.

Epson Stadium 1 copy

The dolphin and sea lion shows were very entertaining and the highlight of our visit. Everything was in Japanese, but you got the jist and the atmosphere at the dolphin show was great. We had great fun and thoroughly enjoyed watching the people get wet. Most of the show was about the dolphins splashing the audience, so a warning if you do sit in the seats with the red stripe on the back of the chair- you WILL get drenched!
It is possible to buy ponchos for a nominal amount, which most people did.
Epson Stadium 7 Epson Stadium 3

It is possible to re- enter, so you can head out to the shopping centre and have a meal, or eat downstairs, enjoy the rides of Pleasureland and then go back in, but after a few hours J was ready to head home.
Epson Stadium 4

A lovely afternoon out and well worth a visit.

Apologies that the photo quality is a bit erratic- we weren’t allowed to use a flash.

Spring into Spring Series- Out ‘n About

       I so love spring.       The feeling of the days getting longer…         Seedlings piercing the ground….       The milder temperatures…..        The sound of birds calling for a mate……      The sun gently stirring sleeping world.

Spring into spring

I want to get out. To explore. To potter on my patch of earth. To marvel at the beauty around us.

Today is the last of the series. Every Monday for the last 6 weeks, I have posted my moments as I ‘Spring into Spring’. They have been of explorations of the Japanese Spring, in and around Tokyo. Some of the trips I have done on with just J and I and others have had my family with me. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching how the spring has changed over the last 6 weeks from the cherry blossoms to the tulips, azaleas and irises. I hadn’t realised how green Tokyo is as a city.

Enjoy the final installment of ‘Spring into Spring’

Out ‘n About.

P1060160  P1010099 P1060682 P1060707 IMG_0037  P1060980 P1060985P1060864 P1060583 P1060678 P1060468P1060977P1060989

What has been your favourite spring moment?

Spring into Spring Series- Showa Kinen Park

  I so love spring.       The feeling of the days getting longer…         Seedlings piercing the ground….       The milder temperatures…..        The sound of birds calling for a mate……      The sun gently stirring sleeping world.

Spring into spring

I want to get out. To explore. To potter on my patch of earth. To marvel at the beauty around us.

To this end- I’m starting this series. Every Monday for the next 6 weeks, I am going to post my moments as I ‘Spring into Spring’. They will mainly be of explorations of the Japanese Spring, that I will do with my family, but there might be others- who knows where the spring will take us. If you want to join in- please share a link to your blog. Enjoy as we ‘Spring into Spring’

Showa Kinen Park

This is another of my favourite parks and I do plan to review it in my Tokyo with Kids series. It is a great day out for families and garden lovers alike. P1060585

There is a flower festival on until the end of May (if my memory serves me correct), so if you are in Tokyo, do pay them a visit. I trust that you will enjoy the park as much as I do.P1010240 P1010241 P1010246 P1010248 P1060583  P1060591 P1060604 P1060612 P1060677 

       

Have you found some beautiful spring moments recently?

Spring into Spring Series- Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

  I so love spring.       The feeling of the days getting longer…         Seedlings piercing the ground….       The milder temperatures…..        The sound of birds calling for a mate……      The sun gently stirring sleeping world.

Spring into spring

I want to get out. To explore. To potter on my patch of earth. To marvel at the beauty around us.

To this end- I’m starting this series. Every Monday for the next 6 weeks, I am going to post my moments as I ‘Spring into Spring’. They will mainly be of explorations of the Japanese Spring, that I will do with my family, but there might be others- who knows where the spring will take us. If you want to join in- please share a link to your blog. Enjoy as we ‘Spring into Spring’

Shinjuku Gyoen National Park

P1060248I love this park. It is relatively close to where I live and has lots of open spaces, beautiful gardens and grass.(Something rather unusual for Japan.) It is described in its brochure as ‘the leading example of western-style gardens of the Meiji era.’ and I couldn’t agree more. P1060198

I have yet to explore the entire gardens, as I usually go for an hour or two. Play equipment is not permitted so I go when the girls are at school. J loves running around and it is a lovely way for him to expend some energy while I get my ‘flower fix’!

P1060263P1060230

P1060206P1060787 

     IMG_9827 P1060815 

Where have you been recently?