Category Archives: OUT THE EAST GATE

In this section we’re looking at a broad swath that lies to the east of the base, just outside the East Gate, and stretches north for about 10 kilometers. It encompasses the cities of Musashi-Murayam and Sayama. There’s no unifying theme here. Hidden gems, urban greenery, convenient shopping, kid stuff – it’s all here. Musashimurayama — 武蔵村山 — (often spelled without the hyphen in English) is the community closest to the East Gate. It includes the Aeon Mall, which people still call Diamond City, despite a name change a few years back.
Updated July 2013 and now includes locations on the east gate and right.

Fukubukuro- New Year’s “lucky bags”

2015-01-01 08.09.13New Year’s Day is the most important Japanese holiday, where many “firsts” are celebrated. Some of these special firsts include; first prayer, first sunrise, and first …SALE! The Japanese phenomenon known as fukubukuro, (orlucky/happy bag”), entails heading to a store on January 1-3 and buying a bag with unknown contents for a set price. The only guarantee is that the bag will be worth more than you paid, sometimes several times more, but it’s a gamble.

If you are a risk taker at heart, you will love this custom! Some stores show the contents of the bags, but most do not, it’s a complete surprise. Opening your lucky bag has all the anticipation of Christmas morning, and possibly some of the disappointment. Was it money well spent, or not?2015-01-02 08.49.17-1

For example, I spent Y3000 for this bag at a kitchen wares store, and this was its contents; a  small roasting pan with rack, frying pan, spatula, “pig” microwave lid, utensil holder, and two fish shaped kitchen sponges. This bag was definitely worth more than what I paid.

 

Head to your nearest mall, specialty store or grocery store January 1-3, to join in the fun. But, beware, if you don’t act fast you’ll miss your chance! Lucky bags are only around while supplies last. Jamie Cowan, December  2015

LaLaport Tachikawa Tachihi

2015-12-11 09.06.16Lalaport Mall is a beautiful, American style mall that just opened in Tachikawa
(near Ikea and Showa park). There are over 250 retail stores, restaurants and services to enjoy, including some of our American favorites; Old Navy, Banana Republic, American Eagle Outfitters, Diesel, Guess, Godiva,  North Face, and Starbucks,  just to name a few!

As far as dining options go, there is both a food court  and a wide variety of different restaurants. I did notice that three of the restaurants on the third floor offered a child play area. KidsBee and Mogoon were restaurants with really fun kid areas (ball pits, slides, and different activities), and Sirotan Museum, was a candy store with a play area in the back. (Cost was approximately Y300 for 1 hour or Y100 for 30 minutes at Sirotan.) None of these play areas were as large as Bornelund in Aeon Mall, but its always nice to have more restaurant/play area options! There was also an Eggs ‘n Things, Pinkberry, Cafe Amigo (someone please let us know if it’s authentic Mexican food!), and so many more.

Driving was super easy (about 20 minutes from the east gate) and there is a huge covered parking terrace with over 3,000 spots. The cost was Y500 for 1 hour and Y250 for every 30 minutes following. This added up very quickly, but take your ticket inside with you because the stores will validate with purchase, though the validation will only subtract one hour from your total. It would also be an easy train trip with the closest station being Tachihi, which is a monorail stop. The station is literally right in front of the mall entrance. Jamie Cowan, December 20152015-12-11 11.42.45

Check out the LaLaport website for a complete list of stores.

http://www.lalaport-tachikawatachihi.com/en/

HOURS: Open daily. Stores and food court: 1000-2100, Restaurants: 1100-2200, Supermarket: 0900-2200

PHONE:Tel:+81-(0)42-595-9393

TRAIN ACCESShttp://www.lalaport-tachikawatachihi.com/en/access.html

DRIVING: GPS 35.7143693,139.4148003

Kushiya Monogatari – Fondue Restaurant

Oil Fondue5If you are looking for fondue, look no further than Kushiya Monogatari, at the eastside Aeon Mall. The restaurant is located just inside the Mall’s west entrance (by Mister Donut). Walk through the entrance and turn left.

Oil Fondue2If it’s your first time, be sure to ask for help, the workers are very friendly. But just in case, here’s the rundown: You will be given a bowl of milky batter, and another of bread crumbs. Walk up to the buffet and choose your “food on a stick.” These foods include meat, vegetables, potatoes, seafood, and more. When you return to your table, dip the desired item in the batter and then roll the item in the bread crumbs. Place the breaded item in the oil and fry to perfection. The restaurant includes plastic bibs and a cover to prevent oil splatter. Once you are finished cooking your items, choose from a variety of sauces to dip them in. The sauces are located at the buffet near the drink machine. Sauces include spicy, sweet, cheesy, etc. and are marked in English. When you are finished with your stick, you can place it in a handy cup located on your table, to reduce clutter.

Oil Fondue6If that isn’t enough, there is also yakisoba, curry, salad, dessert, etc. at the buffet. Be sure to save room for the dessert, a chocolate fountain!! They have marshmallows, pastries, fruits and more. I also recommend frying up a wedge of pineapple, yum!

Similar to a yakiniku restaurant, there is seating for both small and large groups. The restaurant is open every day from 11:00am to 11:00pm. The phone number is 042-561-7737. The Japanese website is http://www.kushi-ya.com. Please note that not all menu items are presented on the website.  Visit the Aeon Mall page for directions. – Megan Luke, December 2013

Kodaira Fish Market

fish market megan millerIf you enjoy a yummy dinner featuring fresh seafood for the main course, the Kodaira Fish Market should be on your list to try. From my understanding, all of their fish comes from the Sea of Japan. It is fresh that day, affordable, and only a fish market by megan miller 1thirty minute drive from the East Gate. Should you decide to buy a whole fish, they will clean it up for you at no extra cost (do remember to translate your request before arriving). They also provide ice free of charge just outside the market. The crabs were still moving when they took them out of the box.  They even had whale meat. It looked like really red thinly sliced tuna meat.  One tip is to bring along an ice chest to store your “catch” for the ride home.  The market is clean and easy to maneuver. An added bonus is the fresh produce market situated next door. They sell a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, plus milk, tofu, and noodles; basically everything you need for a delicious and healthy meal.  Bon appetite!  GPS Coordinates: 35.745028, 139.49109.
fish market by megan miller 2DIRECTIONS:  Turn left out of the East Gate.  Turn right at the 7-11.  Continue to the second stop light at Route 59 and turn left.  This puts you on the road that passes Aeon Mall.  You will pass the mall on your right.  Turn right onto Route 5 aka Shin Oume Highway.  Drive 10 kilometers down Route 5.  You will see the green “VERGER” sign to your left.  Turn left when you see the Verger sign and left again.  Continue straight as you approach the market, it is down a narrow street opening to a parking lot. The day we came, we noticed uniformed parking attendants who help move the cars through the parking lot. Also, the easiest sign to spot is the large green sign that says Verger, which is the fresh produce market adjacent to the fish market (the actual fish market is not exactly visible from the main road). Keep an eye out for these clues or you might miss your entrance. – Megan Miller, October 2013

View Larger Map

fish market by megan miller 3

Food Land: East Side Grocery Store

photo-96Need to make a quick run to get some fresh produce or local brown eggs? Why not try Food Land which is only 1km out the east gate. Unlike stores such as the Seiyu and Daiei, Food Land is just a grocery store, which has it perks. It is never very crowed and the ambiance is very relaxing. No loud music or noisy arcades to distract you or make you feel like you are on a game show.  There is a large parking lot right in front of the store that is free of charge. They do accept credit cards. I believe the hours are from 9am-9pm but do need to verify this as the hours are not listed in English. Best part about this store is that it is so easy to get to.

Directions: Turn left out the east gate and right at the first light next to the 7 Eleven. Navigate this narrow road and turn left at the first light you come to which is next to the Sukiya. Continue on this road through one stop light and then the store will be on your left. –Renée Booe July 2013


View Larger Map

Daiei: Grocery Store, Indoor Playground, and More

photo-93A great resource only 1km out the east gate is the Daiei. It is a store very comparable to Walmart in that you can buy groceries as well as clothes, household goods, toys, and more. The first floor houses a few fast food restaurants, a shoe store, the grocery section, and all the household goods such as dishes, towels, sporting goods, makeup, and many other items.

 

photo-89

On the second floor you will find a sit down restaurant, a ¥100 section, an arcade that includes games and small rides for little ones, clothes for men/women/children, restrooms, and even a small indoor play land.

 

The play area is called Kid’s Us Land.  It is open from 10am-8pm and is located at the very back of the store. The first time you go you will have to buy a membership card for yourself and any child over the age of two. photo-88The membership card is ¥300.The price to play is ¥105 for each 15 minutes you play and you pay this fee at the end. When you enter they will give you a necklace with a paper inside which shows your arrival time. Just show this to the cashier when you are ready to leave and pay for the amount of time you stayed. The area has tables and vending machines with drinks and ice cream and it seems acceptable to bring in snacks. There are video and arcade games that are all free. Kids can jump on a trampoline or run around in the play area that has tunnels, slides, and a ball pit. photo-91The best part about this place is the free massage chairs for the parents to lounge in while children play. There is a very small gold fish pond where your kids can actually buy bait and go fishing.  There is an additional fee for this activity so be sure to ask the cashier for details.  Visit the stores website if you would like more information. Note that the site is in Japanese.  GPS:35.73557, 139.378889.

DIRECTIONS: Go out the east gate and turn right. Turn left at the first light. At the first stoplight make the far right hand turn, not the immediate right. (See map for clarification)  Continue on this road and the store will be on the left.  Alternative Directions: Go out the east gate and turn right. Turn left at the first light. Continue on this road. Just pass the first stoplight you will see the entrance to the parking lot on the right hand side.  –Renée Booe July 2013

View Larger Map

DON-DON, Yakiniku Buffet

I went to a new yakiniku restaurant DON-DON over the weekend.  It is a Yakiniku buffet with salad bar and dessert bar, about a 10 min drive
from the East gate. It is housed in a 2-story structure with the restaurant on top and parking on the bottom.  The buffet comes with 85 items to order from plus the salad bar, dessert bar and cotton candy- all you can eat for 100 minutes.  It costs ¥2480 plus tax.  Grade schoolers cost ¥1240 plus tax while kids under 6 eat for free!  There is also a menu to order from where items are ¥1980 plus tax, but this doesn’t include the salad-dessert bars.  The drinks are a separate charge, all you can drink soda is ¥200yen/person.  All you can drink alcohol is ¥1200/person.  All parties at the same table have to order the same menu and all additional orders are placed via a tablet on the table. I think the tablet menu came with pictures (my friend did all the ordering). The first plate of meats comes with the initial order and then you can start ordering from the tablet.  It is that is non-smoking in the general restaurant.  There is an enclosed room for smokers.  Open M-F 1700-2400, weekends and holidays 1130-2400.  GPS 35.750761, 139.390193.
DIRECTIONS:  Exit left out the East gate.  Turn right at the Seven-Eleven.  Turn left on Route 59 towards the AEON mall. Turn right on Route 5.  It will be on the left side across from a Seven-Eleven past the “Sanbonenoki” light. – Hiromi Arita, July 2013.

Hard Off: A Chain Second Hand Store

photo-83If you like thrift stores then you will love Hard Off. Located in various locations around Japan, Hard Off is a chain second hand store that sells a variety of gently used items. You will be amazed at all the treasures you can find at these stores such as furniture, clothes, electronics, toys, baby gear, dishes, sporting goods, purses, jewelry and much much more.  Need a surf board or shelves for your storage unit? Dying to have a designer purse? Then visit Hard Off  to see if you can find one for a discounted price and still in great condition.

The nearest Hard Off is out the east gate and about a 8-10 minute drive depending on traffic. It is open daily from 10:30 am-7:30pm and has ample parking space. photo-86 They do accept credit cards and yen.  There is an area to try clothes on.  Just remember to take off your shoes. If you find a piece of furniture that won’t fit in your car they will hold it for you for a few days. Thus allowing you time to borrow your friend’s van to come back and get it. However, you will have to pay for it before they will hold it. They will write you a receipt which you will show upon pick up.

Note that this second hard store is actually three stores in one; Hard Off, Hobby Off, and Off House.  Purchases must be made at the appropriate cash register depending on what “store” or section you found your item. If you aren’t exactly sure which cashier to use the workers will direct you. To purchase an item from upstairs use the checkout located on the second floor.

photo-84Have items you want to get rid of? Bring them to the Hard Off and make a little bit of money. After inspecting your items they will offer you an amount for what you have brought in.  If you agree with that offer you will be required to sign a piece of paper and then they will give you the money for your items. Some have said they were not offered a lot, but it is worth a try.  GPS: 35.72987,139.360812

photo-85DIRECTIONS: Turn right out the east gate. Drive on this road and then turn right at the fifth stoplight, which is Route 7.  Continue on Route 7 for .5 km thru one stoplight. The Hard Off will be on the right. -Renée Booe July 2013

View Larger Map

Châteraisé Desserts

cbakery-1Just outside the East Gate is Châteraisé Desserts, a small storefront boasting more types of ice cream desserts than I’ve ever seen in one place, as well as an adorable bakery. Very few signs are in English, but you’ll see a number of ice cream sandwiches, ice cream bars, and various other ice cream confections in the outdoor area. It is a great place to go on a hot afternoon if you are hungry for something sweet and feeling adventurous. The ice creams range from ¥100-¥300.  Meanwhile, inside is a veritable wonderland of puddings, pastries, crackers, cakes, and tarts. Many of their items are available individually or in gift sets, ranging anywhere from ¥105 for a pudding, to ¥300-¥800 for a cookie or pastry, to ¥1000-¥4000 for a gift set. They also sell three types of wine to add on if you’re purchasing a gift.  Open daily 9am – 9pm.
DIRECTIONS: Turn right out of the East Gate.  Châteraisé will be on your left after the first light. – Roxanne Ready, May 2013

cbakery-inside-3 cbakery-inside-1 cbakery-icecream-1

Seibuen Amusement Park

seibuen sarah strausLocated about 30 minutes from Yokota is an amusement park to delight any fancy. Seibuen is a spacious, beautifully landscaped park, filled with over 20 attractions. A giant ferris wheel dominates the skyline, while rocket rides, a carousel, a pirate ship, teacups and much more are tucked into the hillsides of the park. The center has a cute Hello Kitty Land.  They even have a heart stopping roller coaster that loops and twists over water.   A unique rotating observation deck provides spectacular views of Sayama Dam.  While modest, seibuen sarah strausSeibuen is a lovely place to spend the afternoon without venturing too far from base. There are several water attractions, including a “wave” pool. These are open only in the summer months.  Parking is readily available and costs ¥1000. For ¥3200/adult and ¥2700/child you can buy a one-day pass with full access to the park, no additional charge for rides. General admission is ¥1000/adult and ¥500/child 3-12. This allows admission to the park, but you will have to purchase tickets for the attractions. The ticket machines are located near the entrance of each ride. Depending on the ride, tickets range from ¥200 and up. In December the Christmas lights are spectacular.   There is also ice skating from mid December to mid March.  During the Christmas lights display arrive at 4pm and purchase an all inclusive ticket for ¥1300/person (unless you are planning to ride, then it will cost Y2300).  Lights turn on at 5:15pm and it is fun to enjoy all the rides in a sea of Christmas lights. Food stalls and drinks are readily available, but kind of pricey. You can bring your own lunch.  GPS coordinates to parking lot: 35.770426, 139.440549.
seibuen sarah strausDIRECTIONS:  Exit the East gate and turn left.  Turn right at the 7/11 and go straight for 1 kilometer.  Turn left onto Route 59 (also Route 55) as if you are going to Aeon Mall.  Pass the Aeon Mall and continue on this road as it winds past Noyama Kita Obstacle Course Park and into the mountains.  This road parallels the running/biking path on the right and also Tama Lake.  Before you reach Seibu Dome the road dead-ends into a T intersection.  Turn right here and then an immediate left (do not go over the bridge that crosses Tama Lake).  Continue along this road past Seibu Dome and to the amusement park.  This road dead-ends at another T intersection at the amusement park.  Turn left and look for road down to the Seibuen parking lot on the right.  –  Donna Alexander, updated Sarah Straus, December 2012

sarah straus seibuenComments & Photos: Sarah Straus, December 2013: We went to Seibuen again this year for the Christmas lights display.  At ages 4 and 6 our kids were just the right age to really appreciate almost all of the rides in the park, though I think they would be fun for older kids too.  Last year we went on a night that was really crowded.  This year we went on a Saturday night in the middle of December and it was quiet – which made the whole experience even more enjoyable for us.  We were able to ride everything multiple times and get right on the Ferris Wheel.  The rotating observation deck has a really lovely view – don’t miss it.

Tama Lake trail to Sayama Dam

There is a beautiful running/biking trail around Tama Lake as well as a nice park near Sayama Dam.  I love running here because it is off the road, there are lots of trees and shade, it is safe and well used.  Also, every two miles there is something really interesting to look at including two beautiful pedestrian bridges, Sayama Dam and park, sculptures, a roller coaster, Ferris wheel, Seibu Dome and a temple. GPS coordinates for free parking next to the dam and Sayama Park: 35.75963, 139.43951.  Bring your kids and their bikes for a nice ride over the dam or just enjoy Sayama Park.
Directions from Noyama Kita Parking:   For a 7-mile loop run, park at Noyama Kita GPS: 35.76355,139.38615.  Go back to the main road (59 which turns into 55) and head left up the hill.  Cross the street when you can.  The loop trail starts 1/2 mile up the road on your right.  Remember this spot because you will exit here when you come all the way around Tama Lake.  I usually turn right onto the trail.  At apx. 2 miles be sure to go over the red pedestrian bridge.  At approximately 4 miles turn left over the dam.  Turn left at the end of the dam and pick up the trail again with the Seibuen roller coaster on your right across the street.  Continue along the path and pass Seibu Dome and cross one cable bridge on the way back. Directions from the East Gate – Biking/Running: Go left out of the East Gate.  When the road dead ends into a bigger road, turn right and then a quick left at the light onto 162. Take 162 across the river and all the way across Route 5.  At the first light after Route 5 there is a walking/biking path with a beetle emblem on the bollards.  Turn right onto this path.  This path will take you to 55.  Turn left onto 55 where the pedestrian path goes through a long tunnel (or go straight through the series of tunnels for an interesting bike ride!).  Head up 55 until you find the trail head on the right.  See above for directions around the lake. (Sarah Straus, October 2012)

View from Sayama Dam

 

 

 

 

 

Sayama Park and Dam Map

Joyful Honda

I find this place endlessly fascinating. It’s a giant home center with lots of parking, so it’s somewhat reminiscent of shopping in suburban America, yet it’s very Japanese. Joyful has a huge garden section, lumber and hardware, plants, a bike shop, homewares, kitchen gear, curtains, rugs, liquor and groceries. And that’s just the first floor. Upstairs is where the real fun begins. There’s a pet store with amazingly expensive dogs and cats for sale. I’ve seen kittens with price tags of $1,200 and more. Customers are welcome to bring their own pets, so you see lots of people pushing shopping carts around the mall with barking poodles and Akitas inside. Next to the pet section is a vast hobby department with a frame shop, amazing washi paper, sewing stuff, woodworking materials and tools, beads, an astonishing variety of pens and so much more. Also on the second floor is a food court. Our sponsors brought us here on our first day in Japan and it was perfect. Those who don’t want to try exotic food can head for the McDonald’s or KFC counter. My favorite place is the one right by the entrance that sells goldfish-shaped waffles and takoyaki, aka octopus balls. (Yes, smart alecks, I know that octopus don’t really have balls.) My husband always goes for the Korean place that sells bibimbap. (If you shop with your dog, you should know that you can’t bring Fido to the food court.)
What you won’t find for sale is Hondas, except maybe in the generator and farm tools section. I can’t explain the strange name, but I know it has nothing to do with the Honda car company. Hours: 9-7:30 (pet store 10-8). Tel.: 042-568-2311. GPS: 35.76260, 139.35840. Liz Ruskin, 2012
DIRECTIONS: You can get here easily from the East Gate or the Terminal Gate. From the Terminal Gate, turn right onto Route 16 and stay left (0.9km) to avoid going under the underpass. This puts you on 166, which follows the Yokota fence line to its northern-most tip. At the the light (2.1km) turn right onto Route 5, a major multi-lane road (not a sharp right onto the minor road that hugs the Yokota perimeter.) Stay on this road and you’ll see, on the right, a big billboard for Joyful Honda. Turn right at the Lawsons (3.3km). Make the very first left and look for the parking lot entrance. (3.4km). Parking is free.


View Larger Map

Daiso ¥100 Store, East Gate

Past the Aeon Mall is another Daiso store with ultra-cheap housewares, etc. In the same building is a market with fruits, vegetables, wine and other grocery items at good prices.  The Daiso is open 10am-8pm 042-520-3273; http://www.daiso-sangyo.co.jp/english/
DIRECTIONS:  Turn left out the East Gate, then right at the first light onto a narrow road. At the second light (1.2K), turn left and drive past the Aeon Mall (1.9K). After the next light, turn right (2.2K) into the parking lot (opposite a 7/11).   Teresa Negley, Fran McDaniel, 2010.

Komeri Garden Store

Komeri is a garden store close to base that has a fair number of plants, pots and yard tools.
DIRECTIONS: Reset your odometer as you turn left out the East Gate. At the second light (0.6km), a “Y” intersection, stay left. When the road ends, turn left. You will pass a large Dorama store and a baby clothing store with the bunny on the sign, both on the right. Turn right at the next light, at 1.5km (Shiritsu Susho Minami Intersection.) Komeri will be a a few blocks up on the left. The sign is only in Katakana, but you can recognize it by the big red rooster on the sign. GPS: 35.7558, 139.3668 Brian Marriott, 2001. Directions updated 2011.

Baby Mam/Baby “Bunny” Store (children’s clothes & stuff)

Baby Mam/Baby “Bunny” Store
This is a baby clothes store about a mile from the East Gate. It has a larger selection than the BX at a reasonable price. You can find cute clothing that makes good gifts for babies back in the States as well as baby showers at Yokota. They also carry a wide selection of strollers and car seats. The back wall is full of shoes and socks. You can also buy Japanese diapers and general baby and child gear, like training chopsticks. The selection of girls’ tights is also very good.
DIRECTIONS: Reset your odometer as you turn left out the East Gate. At the second light (0.6km), a “Y” intersection, stay left. When the road ends, turn left. You will pass a large Dorama store on the right just before the Baby Mam store at 1.4km, also on the right. The Bunny store is easily identified by the large rabbit on the sign. 5-130-1 Musashimurayama-shi. GPS: 35.7521, 139.3659. Brian & Kristen Marriott, 2002.  Alexis Roberts, 2007. Directions updated 2011.

East Gate Vegetable markets

There is a conglomeration of markets nearby in Murayama, about 15 minutes or 5km away. These markets are closed on Thursdays. A bit of advice: do not buy at the first vegetable market on the corner – browse through several stores to make your selections.
DIRECTIONS: Turn left out the East Gate. Stay in the right lane at the second light, proceeding through the “Y” intersection to the “T” intersection. Turn right and continue to another “T” intersection (Jomo gas station on the right). Turn right at the “T”, then left at the first traffic signal (bookstore on the left corner). Go to the next “T” (overhead sign says Tokeidai Higashi) and turn right. Take the first left onto Gakuen Dori. Follow the road to the Inageya Supermarket sign and park in the supermarket lot on the left. Stores are across the street, through the alley, and around on the next larger street.
DIRECTIONS HOME: Turn right out of the parking lot, proceed to the “T” intersection, turn right. Take the first left and go to the next “T” intersection. Turn right at the intersection and take the first left (gas station on the left). Stay on this road and you will pass the D-Store on your left. Just after the first light (Yamaha dealer on your right) turn left onto Heiwa Dori. Continue straight and look ahead for the East Gate on your right. Geri Yasuhara, Delores Street, Teresa Negley, 1996

Shimoda’s Mitsugi Market
On Tuesdays and Fridays, you can shop for fresh produce at Shimoda’s Mitsugi Market, ten minutes from the East Gate.
DIRECTIONS: Go left out the East Gate. Proceed to the fork in the road where you bear left. Stay straight and make a left when you reach the “T” intersection. Make a right turn at the third signal light, onto Yakushi Dori. The first large intersection (Shiritsu Jusho Minami), will be at Shin Ome Kaido with McDonalds on the corner. Go straight through the intersection until you come to a “T”. Turn right on Ome Kaido and proceed 0.3km until you see the market on the left. Parking is in the back; turn left just past the market building (down the alley between the two buildings). Hours: 10-5pm. Telephone: 042-560-0487

Aeon Mall (Diamond City)

aeon mall sarah strausThis huge American-style mall is just two kilometers from the East Gate. Shops include H&M, Gap, Gap Kids, Eddie Bauer, L.L. Bean, Uniqlo and Zara. It is anchored by a large department store with a big supermarket on the first floor.  Also there is a fabulous indoor playground called BorneLund on the first floor.  At the opposite end, on the second floor, is a large store called Victoria that has outdoor equipment and golf supplies. On the second floor is an Aveda Salon aeon mall sarah straus(042-562-5168) where enough English is spoken to achieve a haircut. The Mall also houses a movie theater. (To find out what’s playing: https://cinema.aeoncinema.com/wm/musashino/.) Parking is plentiful and free. Hours: 10am-10pm, open 9am during the Christmas season. Address: 1-3,Enoki 1-chome,Musashimurayama-shi,Tokyo.
DIRECTIONS: Turn left out of the East Gate. Go 300 meters to the 7/11 and turn right on a narrow road. Go straight for 1 kilometer.  Turn left onto Route 59. The corner of the mall will be on your right at the next light.  Turn right here and left into the parking area.

View Larger Map

Two Indoor Playgrounds

1. Aeon Mall outside the East Gate (also called the Diamond City Mall)
Pricey but really fun, this indoor playground is called Børnelund. It features a jumpy raceway, jungle gym with slides descending into a field of plastic balls, a large train table, and different stations with build-it-yourself toys.  With lots of things to climb in, run on, and puzzles to work out, this makes for a very fun outing.  There is also a segregated toddler area for little ones, ages 6 -18 months, including a place to change diapers.  Located on the first floor of the mall, behind the H&M, near a back entrance.  Price is ¥600 for the first 30 minutes for each child, a flat ¥300 for adults, plus ¥100 for each additional 10 minutes for children.  It can add up, but there is also a flat rate of ¥1500 per child for unlimited play. With the unlimited play option you can come and go as you please.  Opens at 10am even during the Christmas season when the mall opens at 9am.  Sarah Straus and Alexandra Winkler, 2012.  Do you like Bornelund and want more??  Try ASOBono in Tokyo or Round 1 in Iruma.
DIRECTIONS: Turn left out of the East Gate. Go 300 meters to the 7-11 and turn right on a narrow road. Go straight for 1 kilometer and turn left onto Route 59. The mall will be on your right at the next traffic light.  Turn right here and left into the parking area.

2. Aeon Mall out the Fussa Gate (Hinode) : Yu Kids Island is less expensive, a bit smaller, but tons of fun all the same.  This indoor playground is about 6km from Fussa Gate. It features many large movable objects – things that rotate around or rock back and forth that kids can climb up or hang from.  There are two balloon stations where kids can hit at balloons being blown around.  This place is the right size to be able to stay in one place and watch your kids play.   I went with kids ages 18 months to 41/2 years and they all had a great time.  Costs a flat ¥600 per child for unlimited play during the week and 60 minutes of play on the weekend.  Note, with the unlimited weekday play you cannot come and go. It is unlimited play until you leave.  It is located on the third floor near the food court with a great kid-size bathroom  right next to it. Open 10am but starts opening early during the Christmas season when the mall opens earlier.  Phone for Hinode Aeon: 042-588-8000. GPS: 35.73349, 139.27547.
DIRECTIONS:  Go straight out Fussa Gate. Cross one set of tracks and stay right at the “Y” split. After you pass over the second set of tracks (with the Fussa train station on your right), make an immediate right where you must (or you will drive the wrong way into a one-way street.)  Then take the next left onto the main street.  The train station is now behind you and this street becomes Route 165. Follow route 165 over the Tama river, and keep going straight.  You will see fuschia Aeon Mall signs directing you.  One warns when you have 3km to go.  And the next, just after the entry to the expressway, will be on the right, telling you to turn left.  Drive a few blocks and you will see the mall at your 2’o’clock position. – Sarah Straus, 2012

View Larger Map

Out the East Gate & Left: Parks

Toshimaen this entry is very old. Please verify whether it is still up and running before heading out. Perhaps the info desk at the Yujo can help. Let us know what you find out.
Toshimaen Amusement Park and Water Park is the oldest amusement park in metropolitan Tokyo. Its 50 attractions are so varied there is truly something for everyone. Near the entrance to the park is a gilded, antique carousel, the Eldorado. Upon entering, the tranquil beauty of the Japanese gardens soon gives way to the many rides traditionally expected in an amusement park. There are many of the usual children’s rides, as well as roller coasters with names like “The Corkscrew” and “The Cyclone,” to satisfy serious thrill-seekers. Safaris and several haunted houses invite adventurers. A ride, rightly called “The Flying Pirates,” will swing some 15 stories into the air while you are seated in a replica of an old pirate ship. Seven swimming pools, an ice-skating rink, and a fishing pond are available for the sports minded.

The entrance fees are ¥1500/adult and ¥700/child. You can buy a ticket for ¥3300/adult and ¥2500/child, which combines admission and seven ride tickets. An all day pass, covering admission and all rides, is the best buy at ¥3800/adult and ¥3300/child. Hours: the park is open daily, 9am to 5pm. From mid- November to mid-March, the park is closed on Wednesdays. In the summer months of July and August, the park stays open until 9pm. Telephone: 03-3990-3131. Web: www.toshimaen.co.jp.
TRAIN DIRECTIONS: Take the Ome line to Tachikawa. At Tachikawa, switch to the Chuo Line to Shinjuku. Catch the Yamanote line (green train) going towards Shin-Okubo and Ikebukuro. Get off at Ikebukuro and proceed to the Seibu Ikebukuro Line. You will need to exit and then buy a new ticket. Now board the train bound for Toshimaen, it will be the fifth stop on this train. The park entrance is 100 feet from the station. The train cost is about ¥770 one-way, per person.
DRIVING DIRECTONS: The Yujo should have driving maps available.
Maria Witte, Diane Cressman. Location verified 2011.

Sato

Sato is modern Japanese restaurant with traditional aspects. It offers a variety of Japanese food to please everyone, from kids to sumo wrestlers. You can dine either in the booths (in the front of the restaurant) or in one of the many tatami mat rooms. For the latter, you exchange your shoes for slippers (placing your shoes in a provided locker, locked with a wooden key). The slippers are then worn everywhere except on the tatami mats themselves. Each room is equipped with one table which fits up to six comfortably, but the sliding doors can be opened to accommodate a larger party. The extensive menu is written in katakana, but the pictures make ordering easy. Samples include: three types of udon (Japanese noodles range from ¥380-580), sushi (¥480-880), sashimi (¥680), tempura set (¥680), tonkatsu (pork cutlet, ¥680), fried chicken (¥580), and mushroom hamburger (¥580). Side sets of rice, chawan mushi, miso soup, pickles (¥380), gyoza (6 pieces, ¥250) or edamame (soy beans, ¥180) are available to go along with entrees. Kid’s meals offer hamburgers, curry rice, or sushi (¥480). For those with a “yen” for what sumo wrestlers eat, the chanko nabe is a must. It is a high calorie, nutritious stew of pork, chicken, fish with carrots, bean curd, and onions simmered in a rich soy or sugar sauce (¥1680). Green tea is complimentary. Sake, whiskey, beer, and soda are ¥350-600, and separate desserts are ¥200-450. It’s a wonderful place for a couple or a squadron group.
DIRECTIONS: Turn left out of East Gate. Turn right at the first light. At the second light (T-intersection) turn left. Go past Diamond City Mall. The restaurant will be through 5 lights on the left at the Shin Ome Kaido intersection.

Hours: 11am – 12:30 am. Telephone: 0425-53-6060
Nina Carr,  2007