Kijima Kogen

This is an amusement park in Oita prefecture between the towns of Beppu and Yufuin up on a high plateau. During the Obon holiday we stayed in Yufuin and this was only about a 15/20 minute drive from the town centre and we had a lot of fun here!

There are many rides young children can go on, if you are over 110cm you can go on most of them. My son is 3 and there was plenty for us to do!

We started playing miniature golf, my husband is crazily into golf at the moment and my son really enjoyed playing altogether. He got frustrated sometimes as you would expect but his love of numbers helped him enjoy the game. He likes finding the flag for the next hole and what number par was on each hole.

Then we took him to the kids driving school, this was really cool! When you go there for the first time, the kids have to go into a classroom and watch a DVD about safe driving (mimicking a real driving school) and then they can go out on the “roads”. The car had indicators, hazard lights, 2 pedals and can also reverse. The driving area has traffic lights, a roundabout, petrol station, car park etc.

Afterwards my son received a driving license that looks like a real adult one! So cute! He loved this, after his ride with daddy, he said “mummy I’ll take you for a drive!”

We also did a maze where you had to collect stamps hidden inside, and an indoor obstacle course, with rock climbing and a giant cargo net.

After the carousel ride, we went to the children’s pool, which was really fun! It’s super shallow but has lots of things to play on. In winter it’s an ice skating rink so fun in both seasons!

The pool is open one more week until September 1st! The desk to buy tickets shuts at 5pm but once you have one you can stay inside until it gets dark or they close I think. We entered at 16:45 and stayed until about 6pm.

It’s a really fun place to go with small children and easy to reach by car if you are in either Beppu or Yufuin! As it’s at a bit of altitude it was also not so hot! So good to escape a bit of the summer heat! It’s also a great place to go to for adults as there are lots of big rollercoasters too! So a fun family day out!

Kijima Kogen is about a 2 hour drive from Fukuoka city, and a 20 minute drive from either Beppu or Yufuin towns. You can get a number 36 bus from Beppu Town to Kijima Kogen which takes about 30 minutes. From Yufuin it doesn’t look like there is public transport so if you were coming from there without a car, a taxi is the best option.

Address: 123 城島高原, Beppu, Oita 874-8666

http://www.kijimakogen-park.jp

Road Trip to Yamaguchi

My sister has been visiting from the UK, I asked her while she was here if there was anywhere she wanted to go (she used to live in Japan too)! As she has already visited a lot of places, she had to think a bit and gave me the answer of “Tsunoshima”.

I had never heard of this place but found it’s in Yamaguchi prefecture, a drivable distance, and my husband had never been there either. So we added a few points to our itinerary, the whole journey round trip took about 5 hours. We’d planned to stay overnight somewhere but as there are not many hotels in the area and they were all fully booked, we did a day trip from Fukuoka, which was perfectly doable.

1st Stop – Mara Kannon

I knew about this from a very old “Lonely Planet: Japan” I own, and it’s basically a shrine to penises! To aid male fertility, etc. As it was en route to the main shrine we wanted to see, we stopped there. It’s tiny and not really worth visiting on its own but was a funny place to stop considering we were going past it anyway.

Address: Shimoanda Tawarayama, Nagato, Yamaguchi 759-4211

(There is a car park across the street and a sign just before you get there)

2nd Stop – Motonosumi Inari Shrine

This shrine is located next to the sea and the location and views are really beautiful. There is a big car park here, but the road when you get close is quite narrow and got a bit tricky in places when cars were coming the opposite direction.

There is a Torii gate, up a slope with a box attached near the top of it, you try to throw coins into it for good luck, which is really difficult!! Somehow my sister and brother-in-law did it on their first attempts, I have no idea how!!! It’s fun to try!

You come back down and there is a tunnel of Torii gates to walk through down to some cliffs, very scenic.

On the way back to the car we found a little place selling Kakigori (shaved ice), Takoyaki (octopus dumplings) and drinks. There was also a little cart near the car park selling frozen pineapple. Good to have a snack and something cold before continuing on with your journey.

Address: 498 Yuyatsuō, Nagato, Yamaguchi 759-4712

3rd Stop – Tsunoshima bridge

We arrived at our main destination, the viewpoint to Tsunoshima bridge, it connects the island of Tsunoshima to the mainland and is around 2km long and makes for a good photo opportunity!

4th and Final Stop – Hotel Nishi Nagato Resort

We wanted to find a beach to swim at, on the way to the bridge we had seen a place with a beach and where you can use the hotel onsen (baths) even if you are not staying. The beach had very clear water but had many rocks under the water, the far left side of the beach nearest to the hotel had no rocks. We brought a snorkel mask and were able to see quite a few fish, as we got there pretty late we were only able to use the beach for a short time as they ask you to get out of the water around 5:30pm as the lifeguards go off duty.

We used the onsen, which have outdoor baths looking over the sea. As we were not staying overnight we were limited to 2 restaurant options, a sushi restaurant and the beach side bar. We opted for the beach bar, we watched the sunset, danced to music and the food was simple but good. Things like taco rice, jerk chicken, curry etc.

The hotel also sold fireworks and let us borrow a bucket so we could set them off on the beach. So we finished the day with our own fireworks display.

We would have loved to have stayed overnight, but I took the responsibility of the 3 hour drive home! I think you can do it in 2 hours but my GPS was not working very well!!!!

Address: 2045 Hōhokuchō Ōaza Kanda, Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi 759-5331

https://www.kgh.ne.jp/10/

Bonus stop

On the way home we stopped at the service area on the highway for Shimonoseki and it’s amazing at night, beautiful view of the bridge from directly underneath. A good place to get out and stretch your legs, before completing the drive home.

Summer has arrived!

So I made a blog post when I started about Japanese words called Kigo, which are words used to to express the changing seasons, and are used in Haiku to give a sense of the time of year the poem was written, and I guess some context given the poems brevity.

Last time I wrote about words used to express rainy season, and now words used to express the real summer that has just started! With its high humidity, high heat and the constant call of the cicadas! These words are largely related to the need to stay cool and summer festivals!

かき氷 – Kakigori/Shaved ice

花火 – Hanabi/Fireworks

蒸し暑い – Mushi atsui/Humid

浴衣 – Yukata/a thin type of kimono, worn as a bath robe or at summer festivals!

団扇 – Uchiwa/ Japanese paper fan

海 – Umi/Sea

滝 – Taki/Waterfall

雷 – Kaminari/ Thunder and Lightening

扇子 – Sensu/Concertina fan

西瓜 – Suika/Watermelon

茄子 – Nasu/Aubergine or Eggplant

蝉 -Semi/Cicada

蜻蛉 – Tonbo/Dragonfly (you see them a lot before and after thunder storms)

お盆踊り – Obon odori/ Obon dance (Obon is a festival held in summer where you remember your ancestors, and at a lot of shrine festivals there are special dances, sometimes that go on all night)

台風 – Taifuu/ Typhoon (the Pacific version of a hurricane, a lot hit Japan between July and October)

Picture Book Museum

Since my son turned 1 I have taken him to this exhibition every year, as it is always on during the summer holidays.

There are exhibits related to different books and also just lots of books dotted around in boxes or on shelves for you to pick up and read anywhere inside.

Last years exhibition featured Babapapa and Swimmy (by Leo Lionni), this year the books being focused on are:

1) “Boku da yo, Boku da yo” by Kikuchichiki

2) “Minna” also by Kikuchichiki

3) “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle and “Brown Bear, Brown bear, what do you see?” By Bill Martin and illustrated by Eric Carle.

4) “Dottoko Dobutsuen” by Norio Nakamura.

5) “Moko Mokomoko” by Shuntaro Tanikawa, illustrated by Sadamasa Motonaga.

6) “Rain” by Peter Spier.

7) “Chiri to Chiriri” by Doikaya.

My son was in a bit of a bad mood when we went to visit here, but after a while he did really enjoy himself. I would say this exhibition is aimed at children in Kindergarten or Elementary School.

His favourite parts of the exhibition were –

• A tunnel you can run through and as you walk down it illustrations appear on the walls and the sounds “Bu bu, bu bu”, (a child playing with a toy car) , from the book “Minna”.

• There are tables set up covered with a grid and lots of coloured square tiles you can place onto it. Here you can try and make pixel animals like from the book “Dottoko Dobutsuen”.

• His favourite by far was the big screen set up for “Moko mokomoko”, here children shout into receivers and depending on what word they say, how many times they say it and the volume of their voice different shapes grow on the screen.

• The “Rain” area had a large circle on the floor that creates ripples as you walk across it. Also there is a seating area with bean bags where you can watch a projection of pages from this book and as it moves through the story, different sounds come out of the bean bags you are sitting on and they kind of vibrate.

There were some nice areas to sit and read books and we found some very interesting ones in the boxes. Also the gift shop for this exhibition is very good, most of the books on display can be bought and they also sell other related goods, such as flash cards, stationary etc.

Selection of books written and/or illustrated by Eric Carle

art of Kikuchichiki

Some of the picture books you can read

Eric Carle area

Moko Mokomoko

Chiri to Chiriri

Chiri to Chiriri hotel

The exhibition is on until August 18th at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum. Prices are ¥1000 for adults, ¥700 for High School Students and ¥500 for Junior High School and Primary School students. Children in Kindergarten get in for free.

If you pick up one of these leaflets (see photo below) on the back page, bottom left hand corner, there is a ¥100 discount coupon.

Flyer for Picture Book exhibition, can be picked up in other museums around the city

The museum is on the 7th floor of River Rain shopping mall. If you go to Nakasukawabata subway station and come out of exit 6, you should be able to find signs for the museum. The museum is open 10am-7:30pm and is shut on Wednesdays.

Address: 〒812-0027 Fukuoka, Hakata-ku, Shimokawabatamachi, 3−1, Riverrain central building 7・8F

http://faam.city.fukuoka.lg.jp/home.html

50 things to do on a rainy day

So looks like rainy season is going to last a bit longer and it’s also getting hot, hot, hot outside, so I thought I’d see if I could come up with 100 activities you could do indoors. Then I thought maybe 100 is a bit much, not sure if I can think of THAT many, so let’s try to think of 50, that I can do. As I live in Fukuoka, most of my ideas are in Fukuoka over other places. So here we go . . .

1) Fukuoka City Museum

2) Fukuoka City Art Museum

3) Fukuoka Asian Art Museum (Picture book exhibition starts today!)

4) Fukuoka City Science Museum

5) Saga Air and Space Museum

6) Kyushu Museum in Dazaifu

7) Oita Fragrance Museum

8) Fukuoka City Citizens Disaster Prevention Centre

9) Shopping in Tenjin (you can use the subway tunnels to get around and stay mostly dry/cool)

10) Canal City, you can go to Hamley’s and take the kids in the Play Room or go watch a movie.

11) Shopping at Hakata Station, there is also a cinema here too, and a small children’s play area on platform 1.

12) Markis shopping mall, again has a cinema and an Asobi Park for kids and a game centre and VR area too!

13) Shopping at Marinoa City, where there is also a game centre.

14) Marine World Aquarium

15) Karaoke anywhere

16) Go swimming at a public pool

17) Go to a Planetarium, there is one at Yurix in Fukuma and one in the Fukuoka Science Museum too.

18) Go bouldering, we went with our 3 year old son and he liked it, and it wore him out so much he fell asleep and we could do a board game session!

19) So obviously play a board game! CATAN!!

20) Go to the cinema, Toy Story 4 and live action Lion King both coming out soon.

21) Go to a driving range and practice your golf swing (not with young children)

22) Go to a batting cage and practice your baseball swing (the ball comes out to fast, too scary for me!)

23) Round 1! Game Centre and Karaoke and Darts and Billiards combined!

24) Make some teams and go play indoor Futsal.

25) Put some music on loud at home and have a dance party, or a silent one by listening through your headphones.

26) Download an exercise app and do some working out at home, my son loves joining in with this, especially skipping and bicycle kicks!

27) Aso Farmland, I wrote a blog post about here, they have a lot of things to do indoors.

28) Shimonoseki Aquarium and Fish Market for some fresh sushi.

29) Go to an onsen despite the heat 😬

30) Go on a scenic drive, there is a great one on Ikitsuki island (Nagasaki Pref.)! There is a bridge connecting it to Hirado island which in turn has a bridge connecting it to the mainland.

31) Bake or cook something new.

32) Do a painting or a drawing or any other artistic activity, many art supplies can be bought at ¥100 shops.

33) Teach yourself origami using the internet and make a paper forest/jungle.

34) Go ten pin bowling, the one we go to has ramp for children so my son can play too.

35) Practice/study Japanese or any other language.

36) DVD marathon at home.

37) Try writing poetry or a haiku or anything you want.

38) Take the kids to an indoor play area.

39) Go to a second hand shop and try to find the craziest items of clothing you can and try them on. Or choose something for a friend to wear and act out an 80s style fashion movie montage.

40) Go to Fukuoka airport viewing deck or even the roads close to the runway and watch planes land and take off.

41) Go shopping for rain coats and Wellington boots and once you’ve got some, brave the weather and go out anyway!!

42) Go on a road trip to Kokura and check out the castle, covered shopping arcades, and River Walk shopping mall.

43) Go to Karatsu and check out Karatsu castle and go on a boat ride to some caves.

44) Invest in Mini4ku, small cars that you have to build and then can race them on tracks, some electrical stores have the tracks inside to use for free. The cars and parts themselves are very cheap. A great hobby to get dads involved helping their kids do the building and tuning up of the little cars.

45) African Safari Park close to Beppu in Oita Prefecture. You see the animals out the window from the comfort of your own car, so even if it is raining you can enjoy this zoo. You can also opt to ride the jungle bus, big buses in the shapes of various animals. If you ride this, they will provide you with food for the different animals and large tongs and you can actually feed lions and tigers and bears! Oh my!

46) Take a scenic train journey, this is a bit expensive but Kyushu has a lot of scenic trains like Seven Stars, Aso Boy and the Rail Kitchen Chikugo. Enjoy the scenery without having to go outside.

47) Another famous castle is Kumamoto castle, Kumamoto also has a lot of covered shopping streets in the centre of town, where you can stay nice and dry.

48) Sasebo in Nagasaki has a lot of covered shopping arcades as well and you can go and get a famous Sasebo burger. Also at nearby Kujukushima you have the option of doing scenic boat tours. There are many types of boats you can choose to ride and some of them are covered so you can stay dry.

49) Yufuin town in Oita prefecture has a lovely little shopping street (this road can get very crowded with tourists!!) it might not be the best place to go if the roads are crowded with people carrying umbrellas, but there are many little shops. So easy to keep popping into places to avoid the rain. There is also a scenic drive up the side of Mount Yufu with some atmospheric views when it is raining.

50) Stay home, read a book, take a nap, flick through YouTube videos or invite friends round to chill out with and enjoy a lazy rainy day at home 🙂

Oita Fragrance Museum (in Beppu)

So my husband is really really really into perfume. He’s kind of a perfume collector, he researches perfume on the internet, what perfumes have high ratings, what notes are in them and when we travel he researchers perfumeries we must visit during our stay. So he found out about this perfume museum in Beppu, in Oita prefecture (in case you were wondering about the name). We decided to visit it recently one rainy day with our son.

Museum tickets cost ¥500 for adults and it’s not such a big place, we looked round both exhibition floors in about 1 hour. Saying that we were going a little fast because our son was getting a bit bored after a while. There are lots of perfume ingredients in small boxes you are able to smell, some are quite strange. There is some history on how essential oils were extracted from certain flowers several hundred years ago, and the history of scent going back to the time of the ancient Egyptians. There are also lots of perfumes you can smell, and displays of different bottles by a famous perfume bottle designer.

All the exhibits had brief descriptions in English, with the main Japanese text being a lot longer. Still I was happy there was something for me to read, so I was able to generally follow the information being displayed.

The main reason we were keen to go here was you are also able to do your own perfume making experience at the “Perfumery Experience Craft Centre”. They are once every hour, it costs an additional ¥2,200 on top of the price of the museum entry ticket and takes around 30-40 minutes.

We both chose to make 30ml of perfume. We were given a choice of three different base notes, three middle notes and three top notes, choosing 1 from each of those to make our own perfume. You initially make 20ml of your perfume, choosing how much from each of your three extracts you want to add. For example my perfume had 7ml of top note, 7ml of middle note and 6ml of my chosen base note, this formula smelled pretty good.

The final 10ml you can make adjustments, for example I thought mine needed more top note so I changed my ratios for the last 10ml (which totally messed it up ah!). It was interesting and pretty fun to see how the perfumes smelled when we were finished. Our son did get pretty bored during this time though, so more of an experience for adults and older children than young children.

They also have an “Aromatherapy Experience Room”, this costs an additional ¥500 on top of the museum entry ticket and takes 30 minutes. We didn’t try this on our visit, so that’s something we can do next time! There is a shop downstairs selling some fragrant products like soap or aromatherapy oil and a small cafe.

It was an interesting experience and I think something fun and relaxing to do on a rainy day if you happen to be in the area. The museum is open 10:00-18:00 and the last perfume experience is at 17:00.

We came here by car, and it was pretty easy to find using Google Maps. If you come by train you can get off at Beppu station and transfer to a local train on the 日豊本 line, you get off at Beppu University station (which takes 4 mins) and from here it’s a 10 minute walk. Their website also says you can take a bus from Beppu University Station to this museum (getting off at 大石大分香りの博物館前) which takes 1 minute. From Beppu main train station a taxi takes 12 minutes.

Address: 48-1 Kitaishigaki, Beppu-shi, Ōita-ken 874-0915

http://oita-kaori.jp/

http://oita-kaori.jp/_common/pdf/pamphlet.pdf (English pamphlet)

Fukuoka Citizens Disaster Prevention Centre

Last weekend we went to the Fukuoka Citizens Disaster Prevention Centre, this is a place where you can experience what certain disasters feel like and get advice on what to do in case of a natural disaster or other emergency. The centre is free, but you do need a reservation when you come, as there are 4 experiences you do in small groups.

In the morning we attended a seminar in Japanese for mums and dads, which taught us some basic first aid and gave us some advice about how to plan for a natural disaster. These seminars are held once a month on either Saturday or Sunday, there are 2 time slots 10:00-11:30 or 14:00-15:30. Below is the schedule. 10 groups can attend one seminar on a first come first served basis, you can make reservations over the phone, it’s ok to bring your children with you.

Later in the day we came back to experience the natural disaster simulations.

We had to walk through a kind of maze filled with fake smoke, simulating a fire and look for the fire exit. As the emergency exit signs are battery powered sometimes they run out of power and are not lit up, making finding the way out much more difficult.

Then we were taught how to deal with a small fire and how to use a fire extinguisher. My husband helped our son to operate one together, you aim it at a screen with a film of a fire playing, my son was very proud he helped put out the fire.

In the last room we experienced what a strong earthquake feels like. My family experienced a strong level 5 earthquake on the Japanese scale. You could experience stronger than this on the simulator if requested. Finally we experienced strong winds like that of a typhoon or hurricane.

After we finished the main simulations, there were a couple of other things we could try. Like in the case of a flood, how hard it is to open a door if there is water on the other side of it. Me and my husband and my son, could barely budge open a door with 40 litres of water on the other side, I could only open the door with up to 20 litres on the other side.

Fukuoka City Citizens Disaster Prevention Centre

Emergency supplies you will need at home in case of a natural disaster

Map of Fukuoka City, the day we went so far 227 ambulances had been called

Learning how to call the Emergency services

Rescue helicopter pilots!

Great pictures!

My sons favourite part was definitely the Rescue Helicopter on the 2nd floor, we were literally pretending to be helicopter pilots for 30 minutes!

This is a really useful place to visit if you are unsure of what to do in case of an emergency or just want a refresher. My son wasn’t scared or worried about any part and definitely found it interesting as since then he’s been watching videos about earthquakes on YouTube. But I think there is a chance young children might get scared by the earthquake simulator or typhoon simulator, so just something to bear in mind.

The Fukuoka Citizens Disaster Prevention Centre is open from 9:30am to 5pm. If coming from Hakata or Tenjin you can take the subway to Nishijin station and it’s about a 10 minute walk. By bus you can take a number 301 or 303 from Hakata bus stop A or in Tenjin the Tenjin-Kita bus stop, get off at Seinan Chukou and it’s a 4 minute walk.

Address: 1-chōme-3-3 Momochihama, Sawara-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka-ken 814-0001

http://119.city.fukuoka.lg.jp/bousaicenter/centerinfo

Indoor play areas

So I think from yesterday rainy season has officially started with the weather suddenly getting a lot more humid!! Maybe not the best time to be playing outside, rain, heat and also mosquitos. So here are a list of a few indoor play areas that I know about in Fukuoka city, great places to take the kids if they need to let off some steam!

1) Aikuru

This indoor play area is run by Fukuoka city, and is free to use. It is over 3 floors, with the main playing space for young children, under 6 being on the 5th floor. There is an exercise area with a ball pool and a climbing wall. Also the main space where there are lots of toys for small children to play with.

The 6th floor has tables, chairs, vending machines, a microwave and a sink. So you can bring a bento and eat lunch up here. There is a large floor space, I often see primary school age children here playing card games, there are also books to borrow.

There is also an outdoor area for children to play on the roof.

Sometimes on rainy days this can get very busy, as it’s free. But it is a great place for small children, and a good place to meet up with other mums to have lunch and a play date.

Take the subway to Tenjin. It is pretty easy to find being across the road from the Apple Store in Tenjin. The main Children’s plaza is open from 9am-6pm.

Address: 〒810-0021 Fukuoka-ken, Fukuoka-shi, Chūō-ku, Imaizumi, 1-chōme−19−22, 天神CLASS6階

http://www.jidoukaikan-aikuru.or.jp/

2) Milky Way

This is a really fun and big children’s play area, located at Hakata Bay Plaza. They have a large bouncing area and some big slides. A little cave you can go in to read books, a balance beam and some large soft blocks that can be used to make an obstacle course. It also has some iPads where children can draw pictures, then flick their pictures up on the iPad and they will appear in front of them moving across a big screen. I usually go here on weekdays when my son finishes school and it’s pretty empty. But does get busy on national holidays and rainy weekends.

You have to pay to use this one, you have options to pay for 1 hour or free play which is as long as you want. There is also a fee for the adult. If I remember correctly it is ¥900 for one hour and ¥1,500 for free play, adults are ¥200. This is also open until 6pm. You can take a number 90 bus from Tenjin, it will take about 10 minutes. From Hakata station take a number 46 or 99 bus.

Address: 13-6 Chikkōhonmachi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka-ken 812-0021

3) Asobi Park, Markis shopping mall

This is smaller than the first two and a bit more expensive but has some really nice features. There is a beach, with an animation of fish and crabs on top of it. You can pick up a paper circle and hold it over the animation to catch them!

There is also kinetic sand to play with, and a bouncy hill!

This one you can only pay for 30 minutes or do free play. If you go for the 30 minute option you will be charged for every 10 minutes you stay after that initial 30 minutes. During school holidays, the free play option is unavailable. This is open until 7pm, but last entry is at 6:30pm.

Markis is a really nice shopping mall and is also a good place for adults to explore on a rainy day too. It’s a 10 minute walk from Tojinmachi subway station. Or from Hakata station you can take a number 301, 303 or 305 bus from bus stop A. Get off at Yafuoka dome-mae and it’s a 5 minute walk.

Address: 2-chōme-2-1 Jigyōhama, Chūō-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka-ken 810-8639

http://www.mec-markis.jp/fukuoka-momochi/search/detail.php?shop_id=6616

4) Play Room, Hamleys, Canal City

This one is inside the toy shop Hamleys, which has lots of toys on display you can play with for free, and a section with arcade games and a merry-go-round. So you could just play in the shop without even going in the Play Room!

This one has some similar features to the Markis, no beach, instead a forest where you can catch butterflies and look under rocks for other insects. Also a ball pool, London buses for you to drive, and a slide that looks like a waterfall. There is a cafe next to it, inside Hamleys, where they sell really cute meals for kids.

My son loved the shop and the play area here, and so did we.

This costs ¥600 for 30 minutes for a child and ¥600 for the accompanying adult. For the child you then have to pay an extra ¥150 per 10 minutes you go over that time. If you stay 2 hours or more get the free pass, which is ¥1,500 for your child. ¥600 is a set price for the adult how ever long you stay.

This is inside the Canal City shopping mall, which is pretty close to Hakata station, you can walk there in about 10-15 minutes. If it’s rainy, it’s better to get the subway to Nakasu-Kawabata station and walk from here, the walk is a little shorter and you go through a covered shopping arcade so only have to walk in the rain a tiny bit. There is also a special bus from Hakata Station bus stop A, that takes 10 minutes.

https://canalcity.co.jp/shop/shop_type/1/detail/551

5) Guru Shitsu (ぐるぐる室)

My friend introduced me to this one in Higashi ward, which is a bit of a hidden gem. It’s cheaper than the 3 listed previously, and when you leave after your first visit they will give you a ticket so there is no charge for adults on your next visit. During the week it costs ¥600 for 1 hour and ¥740 for free play, adults cost ¥300. On the weekend the ticket is an extra ¥200 more expensive.

It’s a little hard to find hidden inside a huge “2nd Store”. It’s not as shiny and new like the other ones but this was the most relaxing for me from a mums perspective. At the reception desk they have lots of really great Anpanman toys, Thomas the tank engine etc. which you can borrow for 30 minutes at a time, and then return it and exchange it for a different one. These really kept my son entertained and I was able to chat to my friend a lot without having to always be chasing him around, as he would sit and play with each toy at our table.

As it had tables, you can bring a bento and eat inside, there is a huge supermarket on the 1st floor of this building so you can always buy something there if you need to.

Inside it had a bouncy castle, a sand pit, a trampoline, a ball pool, a room full of balloons and lots of arcade games that use provided medallions to operate them. One thing is that there are stairs, so obviously that’s something you have to watch your kids on, if they do decide to play with the dolls houses and piano that are up 2 flights of stairs.

To get here you can take the Kaizuka line subway train, that leaves from Nakasu-Kawabata station to Hakozakimiya-mae station, where it’s a 5 minute walk. It’s inside a shopping centre called Box Town, which has a Starbucks out the front. You go into the main building onto the 2nd floor and it’s inside the huge 2nd Store.

Address: 〒812-0053 Fukuoka-ken, Fukuoka-shi, Higashi-ku, Hakozaki, 4-chōme−7−55