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Kodomo-no-Kuni means ‘Children’s Land’, and this is a fitting description. There really is something here for children of all ages, from tots to preteens. Our family has been coming ever since my oldest child was a toddler, and now at 10 he still enjoys it just as much. We keep coming back year after year.

Although less than an hour from central Tokyo, Kodomo-no-Kuni makes you feel you are in the heart of the country, with acres of hills, trees, ponds and grass. But your kids will probably be too busy trying out the attractions dotted around the park to appreciate the setting! Don’t forget to pick up a map (they have one in English) at the entrance-you will need it.

For starters, there is a small zoo, including a petting area where kids can cuddle bunnies and guinea pigs.(Unlike many such zoos the staff are close by to ensure that eager little hands are careful with the pets.) Nearby are ponies where children can have a ride around the field, led by one of the staff. Then there is a working dairy, where you can see the cows being milked and try an ice cream made from the fresh milk.

But there is a lot more to do! They have wonderful play equipment to challenge all ages in several locations around the park, including a monster roller slide. There is a cute little train to delight the preschool set and a boating lake where you can hire boats. Well worth a visit is the area where you get to try out all kinds of odd bicycles-you can see how much my kids liked them from the photos. You can also hire conventional bicycles to try on the cycling path that encircles some of the park.

This is a place you can enjoy all year round. The cherry trees make the park a lovely spot to visit in spring. There are pools with waterslides (open July and August only), and in winter some of the pools function as ice skating rinks. (In a separate area is a shallow, manmade stream where small kids can paddle, usually open until early October.)

You can bring a picnic, or buy light meals at the restaurant near the entrance. There are baby-changing facilities in the restrooms. I highly recommend bringing a stroller for little ones-you’ll do a lot of walking. (My four-year-old needed a ride on Daddy’s shoulders halfway through.) Once your family discovers this ‘wonderland’, I can almost guarantee you’ll want to come back!


Open 9.30 to 4.30, closed on Mondays (or the next day if Mon. is a public holiday). Entrance is ¥600 for adults, ¥200 for elementary and junior high students, ¥100 for preschoolers over 3. There are small charges for activities like the zoo, pony rides, rental cycles, train, etc.

The large parking lot often fills up on fine weekends, so plan to arrive early if coming by car. By train from downtown Tokyo, the easiest way is to take the Hanzomon subway line from Shibuya, and change at Nagatsuda to the special Kodomo-no-Kuni line.

Kodomo-no-Kuni, Naramachi 700, Aoba-ku, Yokohama-shi.

Tel. 045-961-2111

(Japanese only).