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The best free children's play centre in Saitama
Price: 0 yen
Ageo's Kodomo no Shiro "Children's Castle" is probably the best free municipal children's centre in Saitama. It is certainly one of the largest. They have a number of rooms with different functions spread out over 2 floors. There is also an outdoor playing area. They have a selection of play equipment, toys, services and activities to suit children of all ages.
The rooms in Kodomo no Shiro include a hall for playing sports, a baby and toddler room, a library, a wood workshop, a playroom, a nursery, a counselling room and a couple of rest areas. Then there is the main play area with slides and climbing equipment. Beside this there is a game area, where children over 6 can browse a book of table top games and puzzles. They can borrow one game at a time. They have a huge selection. There are toilets and vending machines on each floor. There is a sandpit in the outside play area. They have cubicles for shoes and presses for hand luggage other than valuables.
The playroom on the 2nd floor alternates toys every week. I have seen lego, play house, play shop, building blocks among others over the years. The sports hall also alternates the type of equipment they put out. They usually have basketballs and soccer balls out and sometimes there is table tennis, climbing or dividing nets out for volleyball or badminton. The woodwork room holds instructed classes that require booking in advance.
Like most children's centres you need to sign in, but unlike most others you also need to sign out when you leave. There is one staff member who speaks a little English. Information is in Japanese only. Hours are 9am to 6pm Monday to Sunday, but they close the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month and for New Year's.