Japan Trip Report – Part 4 (Taketori Park)


The Tako family is currently traveling around Japan for the month of October, and we’re blogging about our travels.  In earlier posts from this series I covered where we’re staying, a mini-trip to Wakayama, and how to eat affordably in Japan.  In this post (Part 4), we kicking back from our busy travel schedule, and heading to the park.

Does a trip to the park sound boring when Japan has ancient temples and castles to explore?  Tourist attractions are great, but they can also be expensive and exhausting.

Frankly, after you’ve seen about a dozen temples they all start to look the same anyway.  Certainly not something a 2 year old and a 4 year old are going appreciate for a whole month.  Instead, we take the kids to the park!

Japan’s parks have plenty to offer — Not only does the country appreciate aesthetic beauty, but they also value how parks enrich the lives of families.

Let me show you what I mean…

 

Beautiful Parks

I tend to think of Tokyo as a giant concrete jungle.  Kilometer after kilometer of concrete, but if you get outside the “big city” in Japan it’s actually a really beautiful country.  Japan’s public parks are no exception, and they’re absolutely free.

After our rainy trip to Wakayama, we needed to get out and enjoy some sunshine.  A day-trip to the park seemed like a good opportunity, and the kids could burn-off all that excess energy too.

We decided to visit a local park called “Taketori Park”.  It’s a short 15 minute drive from our temporary residence.

Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to visit a number of Japan’s public parks, and they can be very beautiful places.  It’s easiest to show you what I mean with photos of the park.

taketori park

Bamboo groves are always nice to look at, and Taketori park has a beautiful one.

bamboo in taketori park

Even in October, flowers are still blooming and they delight visitors with delicate beauty.

taketori park flowers

Taketori park is built on a hillside, with walking paths that meander around it.  A wide playing field sits at the bottom, and suburbs off in the distance.  The fall leaves are only just starting to show their colors here.

taketori park

The park even has fruit trees.  My kids found this persimmon tree (they’d never seen one before), but the fruit wasn’t quite ripe yet.

persimmons

 

Play Structures

Natural beauty only goes so far when you have to entertain a two kids.  Thankfully Taketori park provided the “traditional” play-type structures that you’ll find in most parks.

play structure

Except there wasn’t just one!  This park had a least four big play structures.

play structure

That should be enough for any kid, right?  Well, Taketori park had a few more surprises in store for us!

 

The Hairy Green Slide

When I think of public parks in the States, I usually think of a large grassy area with a slide, swings for kids, and maybe one of those plastic jungle-gyms.  Japan does things a little different (of course), and we found this crazy-huge green slide in one section of the park:

giant green slide

Yes, that’s a giant blue-green slide!

This was something I’d never seen before. Not only was it huge, but it was a hairy monster slide.

green slide closeup

The slope was built-up from individual fibers, which I can only describe as “some kind of plastic”.

A helmet and a sled are required to go down, but this equipment is kindly provided for free by the park and park volunteers.

Big grins were easy to find that day…

big smiles before the slide

Unfortunately adults (aka big kids) aren’t allowed to use the slide (booo!), but my son was happy to provide a video demonstration of how this works.

Needless to say, the slide was a huge hit.  My oldest son describe it as “The best-est slide ever!”.  The kids charged right back up the hill, ready for more.

ready for more

Again, all this was free!  Who says Japan needs to be expensive?

 

Roller Slides

Taketori park also had something called a roller slide!  What’s a roller slide you ask?

Well, little Tako Jr. #2 was brave enough to try-out this small roller slide for us:

roller slide small

Think of it like a whole bunch of metal rollers lined-up one right after another.  The kind of thing you’d find on a industrial conveyor belt, and it makes for a really fast slide.

The main event of the day was a huge roller slide that starts at the top of the park.  Check this baby out!

roller slide

Now that’s a slide!  The pictures don’t really do it justice — This roller slide was HUGE (and again — completely free to use).

roller slide

The scale and the speed of what’s going on here is a little hard to convey.  Adults are allowed on the slide, so I shot some video going down it… for “demonstration purposes”.

 Clearly timid parents need not apply here.  This probably wouldn’t even be legal in the States because of overly-worried parents.  Some unsuspecting child might crack his head open and that would be the end of it in the States.  Clearly, not an issue here in Japan.

 

Conclusion

When you travel slow, not every day is going to be filled with exciting tourist attractions.  Some days are “rest” days and you take the kids to play at the park.  But that doesn’t mean it’s boring — Even those days can be filled with exciting new experiences and discoveries.

Japan’s public parks are some of the best I’ve ever seen.  Not only are they pleasant and beautiful, but they provide plenty of free fun for families like mine.  If you ever travel to Japan with your family, I highly suggest checking one out!

18 thoughts on “Japan Trip Report – Part 4 (Taketori Park)

  • October 20, 2017 at 11:13 PM
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    I love the videos. I went on the roller slide at Robot Park in Tokyo. I never thought of using a cardboard to sit on, it seems like you can go down faster.

    The grass slide looks very interesting and looks pretty fast. Thanks for sharing. Enjoy your time there!

    -Mike

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    • October 21, 2017 at 6:51 PM
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      Thanks Mike! We’re having a great time!

      You seem to be pretty experienced when it comes to Japan. Did you live in Japan once?

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      • October 21, 2017 at 8:09 PM
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        We never lived there but I must have visited a half dozen times or so. It is a wonderful place to visit.

        Take care,

        Mike

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  • October 21, 2017 at 4:18 AM
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    Wow the parks are absolutely beautiful! I like that it’s a perfect combination of nature and a well-equipped playground for kids.

    It’s awesome they have fruit trees in the park too! Are visitors allowed to take as much fruit as they want? Persimmons are expensive in the US!

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    • October 21, 2017 at 6:49 PM
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      I’m not clear on the legality surrounding the fruit trees. We didn’t pick any fruit mostly because it wasn’t ripe, but I imagine the local people (or local homeless) end-up picking it “after hours”.

      Reply
  • October 21, 2017 at 5:19 AM
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    That is an awesome park. RB40jr would love it and he’d probably spend most of the day there. The slides and the play area are really cool. The parks in the US are nice, but the play areas are pretty boring.
    We always look for playground now that we have a kid. Never notice them before. 🙂

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    • October 21, 2017 at 6:52 PM
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      It WAS a really awesome park. I get to see a lot of parks these days and I was really impressed. Beautiful place with tons of stuff for kids to do. I didn’t even mention the pirate ship or the zip line in the post (I ran out of time).

      Reply
  • October 21, 2017 at 9:42 AM
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    Parks like those in the U.S. would charge for admission. Love the videos! I, too, like to test out rides and make sure they’re safe for my kids. Sometimes multiple times in order to get a better sampling…for quality assurance purposes. 😉

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    • October 21, 2017 at 7:08 PM
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      I know what you mean! It’s important to have a high quality slide experience for the kids. I do plenty of testing myself!

      Reply
  • October 21, 2017 at 10:22 AM
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    Oh god I love those play structure are so unique and clean. I haven’t been to a play park in a while but from what I remember: rusted chains and very color faded structures that aren’t that fun in the first place. Tsk tsk, I wonder how much it costs to FIRE in Japan.

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    • October 21, 2017 at 7:07 PM
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      FIRE costs are higher here because of a couple things — first taxes on capital gains and dividends are higher at 20%. Those taxes also start on the very first dollar/yen instead of $75k (approx) mark that couples enjoy in the states.

      There’s also town and prefecture taxes, but I don’t believe these are based on income (i.e. it’s a flat per person tax)

      Sales taxes on all purchases are 8%, but this is scheduled to rise to 10%

      Healthcare is probably cheaper as it’s a nationalized single payer system (similar to Canada).

      So while some things are cheaper, other things are more expensive. Cars for example, can be quite costly.

      Reply
  • October 22, 2017 at 5:55 PM
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    Wow the roller slide looks so FUN!! I would be a little scared to go on it, but I do like that there are barriers to prevent one from flying out. Your sons are adorable, the weather looks pretty good in Japan right now!
    GYM recently posted…PF Blog Round Up: September 2017 Dividends Edition

    Reply
    • October 26, 2017 at 5:08 PM
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      The weather was great, until Typhoon Lan hit. We had several days of constant rain, but thanks to Financial Independence it wasn’t a huge pain for our travel plans.

      Reply
  • October 24, 2017 at 8:27 AM
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    This really does look like the best-est park in the whole wide world! Look at it! I want to go to Japan just so I can go to that park. They should make a park like that where adults can go down all the slides too 😛

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    • October 26, 2017 at 5:08 PM
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      Indeed, it *is* a pretty fantastic park! Parks like this really aren’t all that unusual in Japan either!

      Reply
  • October 27, 2017 at 8:03 PM
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    Wow, I didn’t know there were so many great parks and play structures for kids! I think we’ll need to convince the RootofGood clan to come along next time we go to Japan!

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    • October 28, 2017 at 12:04 AM
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      Every time we visit Japan seems to gets more and more kid friendly. It seems like the country is trying to promote having kids (or at least make it easier).

      I think the RoG kids would definitely have a blast here!

      Reply
  • November 17, 2017 at 9:09 AM
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    Our final two days in Tokyo passed like a blur, as we made the most of our Japan Rail passes and cheap subway fare. Instead of climbing Tokyo Tower or the Skytree, we went to the top of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Center, a free observatory where you can see both.

    Reply

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