The sun is out and the outdoors beckon!

By on June 17, 2013


Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise

If you prefer your aquatic ventures with interaction with nature, then Hakkeijima Sea Paradise is the heaven you’ve been waiting for. Penguins, dolphins, polar bears, turtles, and many other stars of marine life are gathered here, which is sure to delight the little ones. And the more scientifically minded will surely regale in the newly opened Umi Farm (Sea Farm), with its Ocean Laboratory which allows kids to examine sea life up close. And of course, this wouldn’t be a theme park without the rides. There are a plethora of them to choose from: from roller coasters to boat rides!

Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise
Hakkeijima, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama


Adults & high school students ¥4,900
Junior high school & elementary school students ¥3,500
Children ¥2,000


Venture into the great outdoors, where kids can be what they want to be. Describing itself as an “adventure sports park”, the French-born Tarzania – true to the jungle man it’s named after – is a haven of nature for the whole family. Trees are all around, on which visitors can climb, swing from, and play – all while safely tied to a harness. As for the sports section of the park, tennis players can enjoy a match or two at the court, and swimmers splash around – all against a magnificent backdrop of green as far as the eye can see.
1067 Misho, Nagara-machi, Chiba (Japanese)

Adults ¥2,000-¥3,500; children ¥2,000-¥2,500; for families of three or more, each person receives a ¥500 discount.


Tokyo Summerland

A nice dip is probably the most refreshing remedy to the heat wave. Sure, plain old pools are sufficient – but why not throw some fun and excitement into the mix as well? Summerland is one of Tokyo’s largest and beloved water parks, separated into four areas: the Adventure Lagoon, a woodsy area filled with thrilling water slides, wading areas, and spas (open from July); the Adventure Dome, replete with an artificial beach, hot springs, jacuzzis, and game arcades; Thrill Mountain, an amusement park for the thrill seekers in the family; and the more laid-back Family Sports Area, which includes a tennis garden, golf course, camping grounds, and a flower garden to stroll through.

Tokyo Summerland
600 Kamishiro, Akiruno-shi, Tokyo

Directions: from Akigawa Station on the Itsukaichi Line, take bus bound for Tokyo Summerland.

Adults ¥2,000 (¥3,500 from Jul to Sep)
Children ¥1,000 (¥2,500 from Jul to Sep)
Infants and senior citizens ¥1,000 (¥1,800 from Jul to Sep).

Toshimaen Pool

Another water park that’s a hit with the locals is amusement park giant Toshimaen’s aquatic establishment – and it’s no question why! In addition to the seemingly endless array of pools ranging from kiddie and wading pools to those of the more upbeat, flowing and wavey varities, the park is filled with water slides galore. The main attractions here though, are the Hydropolis: a complex of slides that take unexpected twists and turns; and the Nautic Jet, a speedy water-powered ride that will ensure chills. And once that’s done done, go swimming with Robo Dolphin – who is exactly what he’s named.

3-25-1 Kouyama, Nerima-ku, Tokyo
Adults ¥3,800
Children under 110cm ¥1,800; children over 110cm ¥2,800


Yokohama Zoorasia

The scorching sun can instill a desire to venture out into the Savannah and see the wildlife in their habitat. But seeing as packing up and flying to African jungles isn’t a possibility for many, Tokyo offers the next best thing in Zoorasia. Located in Yokohama, Zoorasia offers visitors the rare chance to walk along an open park roamed freely by animals from all corners of the world: kangaroos, elephants, leopards, ocelots, chimpanzees – you name it! Exotic animals also await at the newly opened African Savannah area. If you’re lucky, you may even be able to interact with some of our more demure furry pals. Hakuna matata!

Yokohama Zoorasia
1175-1 Kamishirane-cho, Asahi-ku, Yokohama
Tel: 045-959-1000

Directions: from Tsurugamine, Mitsukyo, or Nakayama Station, take bus bound for Zoorasia.
Adults ¥600, high school students ¥300, elementary & middle school students ¥200, children below elementary school free.

Mother Farm

A breath of fresh air awaits at Mother Farm, where animal lovers will feel just at home. Here, visitors get to interact with many of our four-legged friends: bunnies merrily hop and guinea pigs scurry about the premises, while goats, alpacas, and cows graze nearby; ducks waddle around the ponds; and many, many more! Meanwhile, nothing says “summer” quite like fresh fruits, and parents and children can have their fill at the blueberry picking – and if you’d like more sugary options, try some ice cream made from the milk from Mother Farm’s celebrity cows.

Mother Farm
940-3, Tagura Futtsu, Chiba
Adults ¥1,500
Children ¥800
Tokyo German Village

Sometimes, all you need to cool off in the summertime are wide-open spaces. And nestled in nearby Chiba, the Tokyo German Village offers just that. The spacious park and farm is a charming recreation of a traditional European countryside village, complete with those picturesque tudor houses that Germany is famous for. Surrounding these houses are innumerable gardens, each featuring a parade of more vividly colored flowers than you probably knew existed (unless you’re a florist, of course). And if all the leisurely strolls work up an appetite, you can count on a fresh meal at the resident restaurant, which uses ingredients grown right there on the farm.

Tokyo German Village
419 Eikichi, Sodegaura-shi, Chiba (Japanese)

Adults ¥1,200
Middle & high school students ¥800
Children ¥600

Daiba Kaiki Gakkou

While some prefer fighting the heat with traditional methods, others turn to scares for an icy chill. Within the depths of the normally sunny Decks Tokyo Beach mall in Odaiba lies the Daiba Kaiki Gakkou, a haunted school that is called home by countless Japanese ghouls and spirits – mostly of students who’ve been held back in their elementary years, for all eternity. But in spite of the odd choice for a haunting, the Kaiki does go all out with the spooks with zombie faculty popping up when you least expect it. And given how the Japanese have recently built themselves a reputation as revolutionaries in the horror film genre, it’s safe to assume this school is better suited for the bigger kids.

Daiba Kaiki Gakkou
4F, Decks Tokyo Beach Odaiba

Adults ¥800
Children (elementary school and up) ¥600

Snova Shin Yokohama

What’s more effective in beating the heat than rolling around in the snow? Enter Snova, a year-round winter wonderland located a stone’s throw away in Shin-Yokohama. The indoor snowdome offers slopes of deceptively smooth artificial snow to ski or snowboard down on – or of course, build snowmen and make snow angels if that’s more your speed. And once you’ve had your fill of the chill, step outside and enjoy the sun: you get the best of both worlds!

Snova Shin-Yokohama
1-2-43 Kajima, Tsurumi-ku, Yokohama
Tel: 045-570-4141

90-minute sessions: weekdays: ¥2,800 (adults) & ¥2,300 (children); weekends: ¥3,300 (adults) & ¥2,800 (children)
4-hour sessions: weekdays: ¥3,500 (adults) & ¥2,800 (children); weekends: ¥4,000 (adults) & ¥3,500 (children)

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