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Relaxing restaurant in Saiboku Hot Spring
Price: 1200 yen
Kachou Fugetsu is one of the restaurants in Hidaka's Saiboku Ham and Hot Spring resort. It is a table service restaurant with a selection of menus. There are Western type seats or Japanese style. A lot of the tables are beside large windows with a nice view. You can book private rooms too.
The menu is mainly Japanese and is fairly healthy. You can wear the pajama like comfy clothes, you get at reception when you book into the hot spring for day use, in the restaurant or you can wear your clothes if you prefer. You wear slippers or bare feet as you leave your shoes in the reception area upon entering the hot spring building.
The restaurant is open on the same days the hot spring is open, which is generally Wednesday to Monday, closed on Tuesdays. The restaurant's hours are from 11 am to 10 pm, with last order at 9 pm. The parking is the same as the general parking for the hot spring and is free.
In the Area
Hidaka City is one of those places I recommend to long termers in Japan. When you've seen enough temples and shrines to last you a life time and want to try some more quintessentially Japanese sightseeing. Saiboku Ham is a nice place to stop off on a drive around Hidaka. It is commutable from Tokyo. If you like hot springs, putter golf or crafting you could spend a few hours there, otherwise an hour stop off as part of drive would be ample. September is a good time of year for a drive in the area. The famous red spider lilies of Koma will be in bloom mid September. They have a festival on the 25th to mark the occasion. Apart from the kitchen, cafe and shop pinned on the map, there is also the hot springs, a restaurant, putter golf, an ice-cream shop, a craft shop where at a cost you can try pottery among other things, a playground and some pigs. Most of the information about the park is Japanese only. There are a couple of staff who speak a little English. Website is Japanese only, but lots of visuals to get an idea of what the place is like. Each facility in the mini theme park has different opening hours, but generally speaking most things are open between 9 am and 5 pm, with extended hours on weekends and public holidays. The whole theme park area is closed on Wednesdays, but the hot spring is open. It closes one Tuesday a month. Costs vary by activity, but it is free to enter the resort and walk around. The playground is free, too. Parking is free and usually sufficient, but occasionally on weekends, especially when there is an event in the area, you have to queue to park. Access by public transport is tricky involving trains and buses. You can get a bus from Tsurugashima, Kawagoe and Sayama stations. By car it is close to the Sayama Hidaka Interchange of the Ken-o expressway.
Saiboku Ham and Onsen was previously reviewed on City-Cost.com. This cafeteria is one of the many eateries on the premises. Most of the eateries in the restaurant and shop zone are take out type, but this one (and the highly acclaimed Saiboku restaurant) have indoor seating. It also has a very nice outdoor seating area. This "cafeteria" is useful for a quick, reasonably priced, bite, whereas the restaurant is table service and more expensive. The cafeteria doesn't have a huge selection of food. There are hamburgers, hot dogs, spare ribs, popcorn, ice-cream and drinks. On a fine and busy day they also serve from windows that face onto the courtyard. Today, they only had the indoor counter open. It is self service. You line up to order, pay and wait to receive your food; like a fast food restaurant. There aren't a huge amount of seats indoors, so I imagine it gets quite crowded on a rainy day. There is no smoking in the restaurant, but there is an outdoor smoking area nearby. They have high chairs with safety straps. They also have a hand basin with a step for children to use. The toilets aren't in the building itself, but next door in a separate building. In the special needs toilet of that building they provide a child's toilet seat that can be placed on top of the regular toilet seat. I found these little extras to be very convenient for my toddler. They don't have a family toilet like in so many places these days, but they do have a changing mat at the entrance to the women's toilet. A man could use it too, without having to go right into the women's toilets. Parking is shared with Saiboku resort and is free.
Within the woods of Chikozan Park lies a small, but practical zoo for small children. It is very easy to navigate and although hilly in parts, it is stroller friendly for the most part. They only charge adults 200 yen and school aged children cost 50 yen. Children under 7 are free.Given the size of the zoo they have quite a nice selection of animals. The biggest animal is probably the horses. They have monkeys, which is something the Saitama Children's Zoo is lacking. The centre of the farm is the petting area where you can hold chicks and Guinea Pigs, occasionally they have rabbits. There is a Guinea Pig parade in this area too; after petting hour is over the Guinea Pigs walk down a planked aisle back to their pen. They decorate the entrance to the aisle with seasonal decorations. You can buy food pods in the park to feed the animals and / or pay to horse ride. There are also times you can enter the goat's pen and pet and brush them. The zoo is particularly pretty in cherry blossom season. There is a picnic area at the back of the zoo with some animal statues the kids can climb on and a spring ride. The zoo has its own parking and you can also use Chikozan park's parking. All car parks are free. The zoo is open Tuesday to Sunday, closed on Mondays. It is open 9.30 am to 4.30 pm. There are occasionally variation in hours during holidays.
Close to the Golf site for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is a beautiful wooded multi-purpose park. Chikozan park has many of the elements of most parks in the area, but lots of additional features too. For example, it is home to a small, but child friendly and reasonably priced zoo. It has lots of sports facilities including a fishing lake, tennis courts and a gym hall. There are two playgrounds in the park. Both are set in a wooded area which affords plenty of shade and protection from the elements. They are beside each other too, so kids can run between both and enjoy a couple of hours of fun. The athletic playground was undergoing work for our last 3 visits since the start of the year, but according to the website it is back open for public use. The general playground is colourful with some unique equipment. About a 15 minute walk from these playgrounds is the zoo. Past the zoo is a marsh with a boardwalk running through it leading to the BBQ area and camping grounds. The camping grounds also has 2 wooden cottages, which are very reasonable to rent. Beyond this area is an open grass area with a lovely flower garden. There are a couple of places to eat. One of them is by the tennis courts. It is a Japanese style restaurant with a raised tatami section which is useful with small kids. The kid's meal is reasonably priced and quite nice too.The park and its parking facilities are free, but you do need to pay to use some of the facilities such as the tennis courts and camping grounds. You can book online, however their website is in Japanese only. I particularly recommend Autumn as a prime time to visit Chikozan park.
Wai Wai park, by Aeon Fantasy, replaced the run down Yu Kids Ai land in summer 2016. This branch of Wai Wai hasn't got a patch on most of Aeon's paid play areas. And it is even smaller than the old Yu Kids Ai land, which when it was in its prime was actually a fairly decent play center. However, for one coin, one adult and one child can play for half an hour.Basically it has: a balloon room, a ball pool, an inflated slide, merry-go-round swings, an electronic see-saw, turn tables and some make-believe toys. The latter is a few princess dresses, a kitchen and a tako-yaki cart. There are also a few other lose toys such as wooden cars, a pull along dog and a few other bit and pieces. Parking is shared with Aeon Sayama and is free. Open from 9 am to 7 pm, seven days a week.