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Parking area with skiing in the winter, fun park and beetles in the summer
Price: 1000 yen
Saku Ski Garden Parada is a snow park in the winter and a play land in the summer. It is separated into two parts; the North slope and the South slope. Once you have paid into one you are free to go between both without restriction. It is quite a trek to get to the South slope from the North slope as you have to go over the mountain, but you can go the 10 minute drive by car if you prefer.
Our family of six has been to both slopes in both seasons. In Winter it is a great place to introduce small children to the snow on a day trip from Tokyo or surrounding prefectures.They have snow play land with bouncy castles and sledging. In the summer, there are bouncy castles and fairground attractions. You can use the ski lifts up to the top of the hill and slide back down on tubes on one of their vinyl tunnel slides. Another attraction in the summer is the Beetle Dome. Parada is home to a beetle research centre and in the summer you can enter there main dome and walk among the beetles. Due to this the mascot of the park is a giant padded beetle. He visits the sites on occasion and you can get your photo taken with him. There are indoor facilities, including play rooms, and restaurants on both the north and south slopes. There is a creche on the North slope.
The parks location in Sakudaira Parking area on the Joshin-etsu expressway makes it a popular spot for many for a day trip to the snow. There is no hotel on the premises and they have no night skiing, so a day trip is the only option, unless you plan to stay nearby. It takes about 2 hours from Tokyo by car and 90 minutes by train and shuttle bus. The hours and costs vary according to season and what you want to do at the park. You can get up to date information on the official website.