Mamas’ Paradise: Nowhere But Futakotamagawa

Tokyo With A Stroller

By Lisa Hong
October 3, 2016
Families, Lifestyle

Down the Tama River lies a haven for every parent and their kids...

Futakotamagawa, about a 15-minute ride from Shibuya on the Tokyu Denentoshi line, has long been a haven for parents with small children, with its spotless department stores (Takashimaya, Dogwood Plaza, and Rise), indoor play areas, rooftop gardens, comfortable bathrooms and family-friendly restaurants. I found myself to be one of those mothers who brought her child here more times than she cares to admit. Surely there are other areas of Tokyo and Yokohama that we could go to, but Futakotamagawa is so familiar and convenient.

Enter the Terrace Markets, a new and beautiful extension of the Rise department store, complete with more shopping, more dining, three layers of outdoor gardens, a cinema and the Rakuten headquarters.

My toddler had a great time waddling around the gardens and admiring the different plants in bloom.

We also found the restaurant 100 Spoons to be great for families, as they offer free baby food with your meal.

100-spoons-restaurant

After exploring this new area, if you think you can just turn around and go home, you are wrong. Past the cinema and Rakuten HQ, there is a long walkway that leads south, away from the department stores. I urge you to follow this path. That’s right. Keep walking. Just trust me.

pathway-to-playground-and-garden

At the end of the path, you will reach stairs that lead down (for stroller access, there is an elevator to your left). I couldn’t believe what I found below. It’s as if Futakotamagawa is luring, “Come here and I’ll take care of everything your motherly brain could ever dream of!”

To your left, you will find an exciting, bustling playground, bathrooms with change tables, and even a small community room to rest indoors.

To your right, you will find a fantastic Japanese garden (free to the public) with a pleasant pond, soothing waterfalls, and windy paths that let you take your time through this peaceful place. Both of these areas are grand and a welcome change to the department store atmosphere. But wait, there’s more.

playground

Walk beyond the playground and Japanese garden to find wide, elevated lawn space to your right, complete with a Starbucks. As you explore the area, you will notice a set of stairs conveniently leading down to a walking path along the popular Tama River.

The view from the top of stairs is spectacular; I could sit on the stairs and hang out all day.

japanese-garden

Oh wait, my toddler would probably get bored and throw a fit. Fortunately, there are so many things to do in Futakotamagawa that neither one of us needs to stay in one place too long.

stairs-overlooking-river

Thanks to these new additions, I wonder if I will ever make it to a different neighborhood with my son. And even if I went somewhere else, I’m sure I’d just end up wishing I were here.

Lisa Hong is a California native who loves everything about Tokyo. She especially enjoys its baby-friendly atmosphere and wishes to share good finds, good eats, and good tips with readers. When she's not writing, you can find Lisa playing with her son at a park, drinking wine with her husband, or eating Japanese and Korean food with her family.

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