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One coin play area in shopping mall
Price: 500 yen
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.
In the Area
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.
There is no mistaking that the Cats Eye building in Sayama is an absolute dive. However, earlier this year, they refurbished the children's play area and if you can get past the dingy game centre and less than helpful mediocre staff, it is actually quite a good and clean place for kids. The system was quite confusing as a first timer, but once you get in to the play area it all makes a bit more sense. You have to become a member the first time you visit, which involves spending a bit of time inputting data into a computer. The first screen has an English option, but it switches to Japanese after that and I got the impression if I couldn't do it by myself, the staff weren't going to help me. It costs 315 yen per person over the age of 6 to make this membership card. After you make it you move to reception to show proof of identity and to request which package you want. There are a few different types, but with young children you basically need to just choose a 3 hour or all day pack. You pay on the way out.There are a number of facilities including, but not limited to, the kids park, play house area, costume dress up, fishing, amusement games (which are included in the cost), sports areas with soccer, baseball, archery, golf etc. There are even bowling lanes that are included in the cost, but you need to pay extra for shoe rental. They have karaoke rooms too. You can pay for drink bar, where you can help yourself to unlimited drinks. They have a selection of soft drinks and some coffee too.The hours for the play centre are 10 am to 5 am, the game centre has extended hours. The cost depends on the package. They currently (2016) have a summer package for 3 hours of play on weekdays for 720 yen for school aged children. Adults cost more. There is a restaurant in the play area. The selection is limited, but it is reasonably priced. The nearest stations are Sayamashi and Iriso on the Seibu Shinjuku line. They are both about a 20 to 25 minute walk from Cats Eye or you can take a bus from Sayamashi station. Parking is free.
Sayama Muncipal Museum is a small museum within Inariyama Park. The café and restaurant is located beside the entrance to the museum. It is accessible from within the museum, but it also has its own door and an entrance from the park side too. The restaurant changed its name last year from Komorei, but it is still called that by many.The cafe is not particularly big, but it is comfortable and my favourite feature is the large floor to ceiling windows which afford a lovely view of the park. Most of the tables are positioned in such a way that they have a view of the park, as you can see in the picture with my daughter. Probably their most popular item is the kaki-kori, a typed of shaved ice dessert flavoured with syrup. They have ice-cream too. Their menu is quite lmited, but I thought the food was rather nice. They have children's meals too. They are a little on the small side, but easy for children to manage. The rice was served as rectangle shaped origami with nori on the underside and furikake sprinkled on top. I think the kids meals are best suited to younger children or children that don't have a great appetite. My preschoolers and toddler really enjoyed their meals. The parking is the same as the parking for the museum, which is right beside the restaurant. Parking is free. Spaces are quite limited so it is not uncommon to have to wait for a parking space to come free. The restaurant is open from 10 am to 4.45 pm, Tuesday to Sundays. Closed Mondays and the fourth Friday of the month.
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.