Kodomo no Kuni, Yokohama
Are you looking for a fun family day out? We heard about Kodomo no Kuni, or Children's Land, from friends, and the map on the park's website made it look amazing, so on a recent Sunday we set off to Yokohama. When we finally left hours later, we were all exhausted—but not at all disappointed!
At the entrance to the park, we were given an English map with all the information we needed to plan our day. I would also suggest buying a book of vouchers (¥1,000), which you can use for most activities along the way. We had done a bit of research online prior to arriving and had seen that it is possible to rent cycles at the park (adults ¥150; children ¥100; toddler seats available), so we left the pram in the car and thought it would be lovely to bike around the park to all the attractions, since the park encompasses approximately 240 acres of land, with a four-kilometer outer ring road and a 2.4-kilometer inner ring road. However, once we got to the bike station, we found out that the bike circuit was reserved for those just going for a ride, not for those who want to stop off along the way. This would be fun if you’re not used to the biking lifestyle, but for us who bike everyday it wasn’t so much of a novelty. Thankfully we realized our mistake quickly and managed to find a rent-a-pram (¥300) area, which was a savior because the park is large and requires a lot of walking. Our first stop was at the kids’ bike area, which has loads of different types of bikes, some with pedals and some that required other actions to make them move around a little track. Attached to that was a mini car roller coaster suitable for the little ones. Our son is 22 months old and he loved it. We also went on a helicopter ride which we had to pedal around a track that was up high—a great one for the dads! All these rides vary in price from ¥150 per person, and children under two are free. There were also coin operated Anpanman and Thomas vehicles. Next we headed to the giant Moo Moo Dome, which had jumping pillows, a large grass space, cows, sheep and goats. You can buy cups of food to feed the animals, and those who choose to can also wait in line to milk a cow. This was a very popular activity, and we enjoyed watching this display. Just beside this display area was a pretend cow to milk, which was perfect for our son to have a turn with no lines and no mess. From there we headed to the Horse Stables, where visitors can feed the horses or ride a pony (¥400). There is also a children’s zoo (adults ¥250; children ¥200), where you can feed and touch some of the animals. That was a third of the park complete and we were exhausted! It’s definitely a full day out. We strolled along the inner road, stopping off at the various areas along the way to break up the walking. We enjoyed stopping at a fabulous play area designed for the smaller kids with lots of different equipment. It was then time for a stop in the small rock pools for a quick splash to cool off and have some lunch. Many families had stopped around this area with picnic tents and a packed lunch. I imagine it will only become more popular as the weather heats up. Although we had only covered half of the park, we had an exhausted toddler, so we decided it was time to leave the rest for another day. We made one last stop at the 110-meter rolling slide, which was a great way to end our fabulous day! The areas we missed that are on the list for our next visit are the barbecue site (perfect for this summer weather, but reservations required), the camping site, the plum garden, the swimming pool complex (which wasn’t yet open), the pedal boat, rowboat and rafts area, the swan pond, the green house, the camellia garden, the royal wedding memorial hall, the hanging bridge, the disc golf course, and the playground. There are also tennis courts, a soccer ground and a sports ground located in the park (there is even an ice skating rink in the winter). On our way out of Kodomo no Kuni, we walked through Central Park, where there were activities such as hula hoops and pogo sticks available for the children to enjoy. If you get tired of walking, there is also a mini steam locomotive (adults and children ¥200 per person) driving around the park, but unfortunately it was very popular and was full at every stop we tried to hop on. Our best advice is to not forget your comfy walking gear! We also recommend packing a lunch and snacks that you go enjoy whenever you get hungry or need a break, but there is also a cafeteria at the entrance if you prefer to buy food there.
Address: 700 Nara-cho, Aoba-ku, Yokohama Tel: 045-961-2111 Open: Thu-Tue, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (until 5 p.m. in July and August); closed Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 Admission: Adults ¥600; elementary through high school students ¥200; children aged three to five ¥100; children under two free Parking: Parking is available for ¥900 for the day. A hot tip: if you are pregnant, you are entitled to park in the disabled section, which is closer to the entrance. Things to note: Inputting the address above into your smartphone map app doesn’t direct you exactly to the park entrance. We ended up a few streets away, but were easily able to find our way thanks to some signs posted around. No bikes or scooters are permitted in the park.