Tag Archives: Familyfriendly

Lake Sagami Pleasure Forest

In the winter Lake Sagami Pleasure Forest has a Christmas light walk and rides with Paddington bear theme. The illumination runs from November to April.

If you drive tolls are ¥1700 each way. It is 45 min from the Supply gate. If you take the no toll route it is 75 min from the supply gate. We left at 5:30 pm on Friday. It may be faster at a different time,

The gondola ride is ¥700, infants and pets are free. Admission was ¥1800 each adult for the park. Children 2 and younger are free. Bring extra yen for rides and food. Rides vary from ¥100 – ¥800. Lots of food vendors, vending machines and lockers available. Park is wheelchair/stroller friendly. Restaurant, gift shops and tons of clean restrooms (a few with kid-size toilets and urinals) babies changing facilities also.
 The park is also pet-friendly! Time may be better on a different day. Park opens at 4 pm, closes at 9 pm. December 2019, Sylvia.

https://www.sagamiko-resort.jp/events/illumillion.html

Lake Sagami Pleasure Forest address is 1634 Wakayanagi, Midori Ward, Sagamihara, Kanagawa 252-0175, Japan


Family-Friendly Hike from Mitake Station

If you’re comfortable with hiking 6-8 miles in a day with moderate elevation gain (1800-1900 feet), this is a pleasant hike that’s easily accessible from base. We initially found out about this hike from the following link, which has more details as well as information on other hikes in the area: https://ridgelineimages.com/hiking/mt-iwatakeishiyama/
As the hike starts and ends at Ome Line train stations (Mitake and Ikusabata), the logistics are fairly easy — no buses involved. To access the start of this hike, take the train from Fussa Station (Ome Line) to Mitake Station (towards Okutama). It may be necessary to transfer in Ome; as not all trains are direct — check Google Maps to confirm.

Once you get off the train in Mitake, stop by the Visitor Information Center (can’t miss it – its directly by the stairs leading down from the station exit) and pick up an “Ohtama” area map. If you ask, they’ll also be able to provide a map of this specific hike, and a paper showing directions to the trailhead.  I’ve attached these directions to this post as well, for reference.

The trailhead starts near a temple a few minutes away from the train station. Go down the stairs at the station exit, and turn left at the street. You’ll pass an ATM on your left (inside its own building), and will see a set of stairs on the left immediately after the ATM. Go up the stairs and cross the train tracks. Turn left, and then turn right into the temple entrance (you’ll see the temple). Once just inside the temple, go to the left, and you’ll see the trailhead marker.

As you go along the hike, you’ll see signposts with kanji, but also English in small labels below. At the start, you’ll want to follow the signs for “Mt. Iwatakeishiyama 岩茸石山”. Once you’ve reached Mt. Iwatakeishiyama, then follow the signs for “Ikusabata Station”, which is the finish point where you’ll catch a train back towards Fussa Station.

The hike starts with a fairly quick ascent; but (mostly) levels off after that point. There are two points where you have the option to either ascend to a peak for a better view, or keep going.  Recommend taking the climb up to Mt. Iwatakeishiyama for a view — you’ll likely also see a large number of Japanese hikers taking a snack break here. If you choose to ascend the fork to the peak, there is no backtracking required to get back to the main trail — the fork continues down the other side of the peak and rejoins the main trail.

Continuing on, you’ll come to a temple in the mountains, right along the trail. Its a nice spot to take a break and look around, and there are bathrooms here (did not check them out, but expecting squatting/pit style). Descending from here, you’ll enter a fairly exposed valley, and continue down past a stream. As you continue downward, you’ll come to a large manmade dam, and the trail becomes a stone stairway. Look out for snakes sunning themselves along the steps; they should be easy enough to spot.

As we reached the end of the stairway, we came to a Japanese shop that offers some drinks at picnic tables outdoors (beer, coffee, lemon sour, water) as well as cooked fish. My Japanese wasn’t great, but we were able to understand well enough the owner’s indicating that ‘everything is OK to eat’ on the fish, as its cleaned and cooked whole and ready to eat (skin and all), which might be unfamiliar to some folks. The owner was very friendly, and everything was pretty reasonable – we got two cooked fish and one coffee for under 1000 yen. Be sure to bring cash if you’re planning to stop here, as I don’t imagine this shop takes credit card.

After this shop, the ‘trail’ becomes a  road, keep going onward and it will merge into a slightly larger road. Bear right, and continue. Eventually, you’ll come to a point where there is a sign pointing towards Ikusabata Station up a small road on the right – take this road upwards, and you’ll cross train tracks. Turn right, and you’re at the station. Take the train back towards Fussa. This is all shown on the maps as well; and if you download offline maps on your phone before the hike, you can also ‘mark’ the location of the station if you’d like to be able to double-check along the way. – Joshua Milburn, April 2019

Baseball Batting and Pitching Cages – Hamura Dome and Murayama Sportsland

Taking my sons to the batting cages in Japan bring back great memories of going to batting cages with my dad.   I wish I had discovered the batting and pitching cages at the Hamura Dome sooner.  They are only a few minutes from the base and are a great place to blow some yen on a school night (it’s not super cheap). All the cages are operated by a ticket purchased from the machine and everything is really easy to figure out.  You have to buy pitching and batting tickets separately.  The workers at the desk can give you a kids bat, but other bats and helmets are inside the cages.  Choose your speed and hit away.  Though most of the customers are adults, I found it to be OK – the slowest pitch is 70 kph – for about ages seven and up.  My younger son likes the miniature golf hole.  There are lots of great family places to eat down the street when you make this a weeknight boys night out.

Parking: 200 Yen

Batting cages and pitching cages about 300Yen per session or cheaper if you buy a bundled ticket.  

Hamura Dome Batting Cage

Hamura Dome Mini Golf

Hamura Dome Pitching practice

On the East Side, check out the old-school batting cages at Murayama Sports Land just a few blocks east of Aeon Mall.  There are also cages that spit out soccer balls, ping pong balls, tennis balls and basketball.

Free parking. Most of the cages are 200 Yen.  Zeke Lyons – January 2018

Sportsland Soccer Cage

Sushi-chu

2013-12-08 14.35.18There is Japanese food and Japanese cuisine…Sushi-chu offers the latter – to the maximum delicious degree. Prices are reasonable, the staff is learning English to serve their customers, and the atmosphere is cozy and relaxing. You can order from their set menu, or create your own experience by ordering a la carte. The restaurant is family-run and family-friendly (kids can even roll their own sushi). Sushi-chu delivers on taste, freshness, presentation – and most importantly, a welcoming staff.2013-12-08 15.03.31

2013-12-08 16.02.37Arrive with cash (yen) and park next to the building on the West side. You can even reserve special tatami rooms to dine in. This would be a great place to take visitors for an authentic Japanese experience. Pictures, Jamie Cowan, July 2015

DIRECTIONS:This restaurant is about 20 minutes away from base, in Hachioji.

Phone number: 042-691-0230

Coordinates: 35.708078, 139.295207

Website: http://www.sushi-chu.com/pg9.html

Tripadvisor: http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g1060898-d6656894-r290066255-Tobuki_Sushichu-Hachioji_Tokyo_Prefecture_Kanto.html#

Mike’s Tex-Mex Restaurant

Tex Mex3Mike’s Tex-Mex is a Tex-Mex joint just north of the Seiyu, serving burritos, chimichangas, tacos, enchiladas, margarita specials, and more. Many entrees come with rice and refried beans. Appetizers include chips and salsa, nachos, taquitos, or a cheese quesadilla with guacamole. Lunch and dinner menus are both in Japanese and English. The Margarita of the day is written on chalk board near the bar. My favorite was the peach margarita, delicious! ! The
restaurant also serves a variety of Mexican beer. Most entrees range from ¥900 to ¥1500. Children are welcome as well. In fact, there’s a shelf in the seating area full of toys to help keep the little ones occupied.

Tex Mex1There is parking at the hospital across the street. My friend and I recently parked there for approximately an hour and paid ¥100. The restaurant is open every day 11:30-14:30  and 17:30 to 22:00, unless otherwise posted. The last order is at 21:45. They ask that you call in advance during a Japanese holiday to make sure they are open. Telephone: 042-513-5210. If you search for Mike’s website through Google, click on “translate this page” and the page will appear in English. They also have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/yokotaTEXMEX. GPS 35.746357, 139.326014. Michelle Nexon, August 2013.


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Fujiya – all you can eat cake!

cake by meganAt Fujiya you can order meals or just dessert, one option being the cake buffet or “viking cake”.  Alone the buffet is ¥1380 per person or added to your meal it is an additional ¥980. Meals include Japanese cuisine or pasta dishes.  They allow 60 minutes for all you can eat cake and the slices are large. Children under five are allowed to share with an adult at no extra charge for the buffet. The menu is in Japanese only, but has pictures of everything and is easily understood. My family of five went around 4:30pm on a Sunday and were seated immediately,  We experienced quick and friendly service. GPS 35.733032, 139.325688.
DIRECTIONS: Fujiya is easily accessible by car about ten minutes from the supply gate and there is plenty of free parking. Head straight out the supply gate, cross two railroad tracks and continue down the hill. At the bottom, just before the road crosses the river, there is a raised blue pedestrian crosswalk.  The street name is Legal Affairs Bureau Road (written in English on the street sign). Turn right here. The restaurant will be on your right approximately one stop light up, You will notice the sign by it’s logo, a girls face with a hat.  The sign is written in English as well.  – Megan Miller, July 2013

Shokudo – All Day Dining Cafeteria

The food at Shokudo, “all day dining cafeteria” is yummy “home-style” Japanese cuisine (no sushi).  It is a very family-friendly place; the prices are amazingly cheap for Japan, and there’s plentiful parking adjacent to the building. The first thing you’ll see upon entering the restaurant is a bento box counter for take-out.  Keep walking around the corner, past the huge rice steamers to pick up your meal tray. Slide your tray along to check out all the offerings, the first of which is a made-to-order omelet station (the three toppings offered are red diced ginger, shredded scallions and teenie white fish (not at all “fishy” tasting)–it’s the rectangular pan-style omelet–delicious! Next comes broiled whole fish or salmon steak, then the chill-bin with lots of little dishes of pickled this-and-that (everything’s good, but the eggplant is particularly so). If you like thick slices of sweet and tender stewed daikon, this is the place! Then you’ll see various fried meats like tonkatsu (pork cutlet) and chicken. There is donburi (meat strips stewed in sauce) and udon-noodle;  ramen; rice (a “chiisai” [small] bowl is plenty) and miso soup (with a variety of self-serve toppings) come with the dinner. The cashier is at the end of the line and you pay for each item on your tray. The dining room includes a lot of 2-person tables, a solo counter, bigger tables by the windows and tatami-on-the-floor. ENJOY! – Pam Tubbs, June 2013
DIRECTIONS: Shokudo is on the Seiyu road.  GPS coordinates: 35.747579, 139.325687. Here is the new restaurant’s website, with their main menu items: www.shokudo.jp/menu/ as well as their map link: http://www.fujiofood.com/shop_search/shokudo/shop_1462.php.


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Tama River Trail

If you are looking for a place to bike or run, consider the paved trail that follows the Tama River.  It starts in Hamura and continues 48 kilometers.  It runs close enough to Tama Hills Recreation area that it can be used as a path to run or bike there, though you’ll need to navigate some city streets to reach this destination.  During the spring, the cherry trees bloom over the trail in Fussa, as seen in the photos above and below.  Also in Fussa, the trail passes a baseball field, tennis courts, a playground and an obstacle course park.  The trail goes under each of the bridges that cross the river, allowing for continuous riding/running.  There is a free parking lot near the ball field and playground at GPS coordinates:35.719771, 139.331241.   In the spring use this parking lot for the Fussa Cherry Blossom Festival which takes place along the trail just north of the parking lot.  – Sarah Straus; top photo by Alex Sparks, March 2013
Running/Biking DIRECTIONS: Head straight out of the Fussa Gate toward the Fussa Train Station on Route 165.  You’ll take Route 165 all the way to the river and trail.  Be sure to stay right at the fork in the road, pass over the train tracks and continue down Route 165 after the Fussa Train Station.  The trail picks up in both directions just before you cross the river.  Turn right on the trail towards Hamura for the short section of the trail (just a few kilometers).  Turn left on the trail for the longer section.

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DIRECTIONS to parking lot:  Turn left out of the Fussa Gate onto Route 16.  Continue on Route 16 as it curves right.  Turn Right onto Route 7.  (Note: I’m not sure how clear this right hand turn onto Route 7 is… if anyone finds a clear marker for this turn, let us know).  Turn left into the parking lot area just before Route 7 crosses Tama River.

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Fussa Roller Slide Park

This is a small roller slide park, great for an hour of play just outside the supply gate.  There is a play structure leading up to two roller slides.  Tall cherry trees provide shade.  Above the slides there is a nice place to sit and eat a snack. There are bathrooms.  GPS 35.73433, 139.33611.
Directions: One option is to park on base at the supply gate and walk.  The park is just 600 meters from the gate with sidewalks on either side of the street.  Head straight out the Supply gate onto 7.  Continue across the train tracks and turn right just after the blue pedestrian bridge.  The park will be on your right.  If you drive, follow the same directions as above.  I’ve seen people park along the street in front of the park, however, for parking information see the comments below. -Sarah Straus, October 2012, updated Dec 2013.  Looking for another playground in Fussa?  Try Fussa Playground.

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