A Fairy-Tale Adventure in Chiba
Looking for something new to excite your kids over the weekend? Take them on an adventure to the Hans Christian Andersen Park in Funabashi. Step into this fairy-tale world inspired by the Danish author of the much-loved children’s books. This park includes something for kids of many ages and encourages adventure and creativity. The entrance fee and slightly-in-the-boonies location keep the crowds in check. Pack a picnic and make a day of it.
Japan has no shortage of amazing playgrounds and this lesser known park outside of Tokyo is sure to be a winner for your family. Start out at the state-of-the-art forest ropes course and let your kid’s inner Tarzan out (perhaps the father’s, too?!). It incorporates climbing, hanging, swinging and water hazards, and is a great opportunity to practice balance, strength training and hand-eye coordination.
Next to this area are playground structures including a 50-meter-long slide. During summertime there is a fantastic splash pool with fountains and a water adventure area, so if the season is right pack your swimsuit. Most people set up “camp” here with sun tents and picnics to last the entire day. There are small food venues, but it would be wise to bring in your own bentos. We tried the so-called Danish restaurant, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re looking for authentic cuisine.
A big hit with the little ones is the petting zoo and decent-sized area for pony rides. Enjoy an ice cream made with fresh milk from local dairy farmers here. In the well designed “children’s museum zone,” kids are encouraged to express their creativity with a free craft area, dress-up play, and other unique hands-on opportunities. If you still have energy left you’ll find outdoor theaters, Danish buildings including an authentic windmill, and even a pond where you can rent rowboats. The park is quite big and it’s unlikely you can cover all areas in one go, so come with a game plan! During autumn there is an impressive cosmos flower festival, but the nature can truly be enjoyed all four seasons with beautifully manicured gardens and paths.
It is easiest to get to with a car but not impossible by public transportation. It is a 45-minute train ride from Shibuya, followed by a 20-minute ride on a local bus. However, there is ample parking available for just ¥500 if you make the hour-long drive from central Tokyo.
Address: 525 Kanehori-cho, Funabashi City, Chiba
How much: ¥900 per adult; ¥200 per child; ages 4 and under ¥100; parking ¥500.