Category Archives: Parks & Sights out the East Gate & Left

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

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

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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.

Obstacle Course Park – Noyama Kita

Sarah straus Noyama Kita 2013Children will swing like monkeys in this sprawling, well-equipped park. It’s less than three miles from the East Gate and has an ample, free parking lot. Enjoy hiking paths, several obstacle courses and intriguing climbing equipment ingeniously constructed of ropes and logs.  It’s all built on a hillside, and challenging enough to tempt children and adults alike. The park is well shaded, so it’s a nice place to go when it’s to hot to play elsewhere. From the parking lot Noyama Kita entranceyou can see a wood-framed entrance gate. Just inside are log steps ascending to your adventure. Or, from the parking lot, walk to the right a few feet and step between a construction yard and a dog training center. There’s another obstacle course here, and the nearest toilets are right at the entrance, behind the dog training area. Climb to the top of these Robinson Crusoe-esque playgrounds and you’ll find a trail (at times a dirt road) that meanders through the forest for a couple of miles, following a fence line. It’s a lovely place for a run or a walk with dogs. Go along it and you’ll see there are several more of these obstacle courses, running roughly parallel to each other on the hillside. At the end of the road is a fire lookout post, and other trails shoot off from here. Here’s a map to the greater park this is on the edge of, which stretches to Mizuho. See page 2. The trail is labeled “Lake Sayama Peripheral Road” and “Southern Hiking Trail.”
DIRECTIONS: Turn left out the East Gate. Turn right at the first light (0.3km).  Follow this road until it comes to a four-way intersection with a light 1.3km. Turn left. You will pass Aeon Mall (Diamond City) on your right. Keep going. You will go through about 10 stop lights.  The road will veer right at 2.2km, then cross Shin Ome Kaido at 2.4. Next the road will begin to climb a hill and curve.  Turn left at 3.7km, on a small road immediately before the road makes a sharp curve to the right (The turn is after the red warning stripes on the road begin, and just before the guard rail with arrows on it.) There is a large Onsen on the left.  About 300 meters down the small road past the Onsen, at 4km, will be a large paved parking lot on the left. GPS: 35.7635, 139.3861
Nina Carr January 2007. Liz Ruskin updated directions 2011, photos by Sarah Straus, 2012.

Reader comments about Noyama Kita
Emily Parks | March 29, 2012
We went to the obstacle course park today and had a wonderful time. It was really cool. Definitely a park for older kids though. Not much for toddlers.
Deborah Silverman | April 16, 2012   We love this park! My daughter is 8 and she can spend hours playing around the obstacle course and nearby playground without getting bored. We have been both during the week, when it tends to be much quieter, and on the weekend, when the whole area filled with japanese families enjoying the park. The long slide built into the hillside of the obstacle course area is a must-do, even the adults should give it a try! Warning: after a rainy day the area is VERY muddy.

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