Summer is winding down finally! We have 2 more weeks left before E starts her last year of Kindy. All I can say is that I’m all burned out from this summer and in desperate need for a few days off from the kids. I really don’t know how stay-at-home moms do this all the time.
This summer has been a busy one with the kids home and us moving and all. We’ve been quite productive though and there is always never a dull moment. I always want to write about the places we go and the things we do but I get distracted easily and never actually get around to it. So here’s an attempt to write a little about some of the shenanigans we’ve been up to this summer (since I’m currently “hiding” from my family at Starbucks on a Sunday morning).
One of the things we’ve been going to a lot this summer that I’ve never done much of in previous years was to go to splash pools (or wading pools if you prefer to call it that).
Summers in Tokyo are unbearably hot and humid. While Jason and I don’t mind staying indoors in the AC all day long, our kids need to be out and about to get some energy out. Unfortunately, it’s also really hot and humid outdoors which in turn makes us all grumpy and sweaty.
That’s where the beauty of splash pools come in.
Apparently, all over Tokyo there are parks that turn their fountains on during the summer and allow kids to go in and play in the water. The best part is that even babies in swim diapers are allowed in. It’s a big revelation since a lot of the public pools here don’t allow kids in swim diapers to use their facilities. It’s the reason I don’t go as often as I’d like to.
Anyway, this year we went to a few that some of our friends introduced us to. All I can say is why in the world did it take me so long to discover these little pool of water heavens? These places are perfect sizes for small kids! Unfortunately, it seems they are meant for kids only since I have yet to see an adult throw themselves into the fountains. I would love to run through the fountains too if it didn’t make all the other adults look at me strangely.
Here are the few that we went to this summer:
Technically, this photo was from last summer but K and I did go there once this summer. This play fountain is great since it’s right in front of a bakery so while the kids play in the water, parents can sit back and enjoy a coffee and some baked goods. It is a little awkward though since the fountain is also in front of a business/house high rise so if you go during the weekday, you’d see a lot of working people walking about during lunchtime. Good access too since it’s right in front of the elevators coming up from the Yurakucho subway line.
Odaiba park by the Maritime Museum
This water fountain is located near the Maritime Museum in Odaiba, right by the bay. It’s great because it also has these nozzles that sprays out water every few minutes and the kids just go nuts over them. Another good feature is the slight incline into the ankle deep waters. K was at first intimidated by the fountain but she gradually worked her way into the deeper parts of the water and had a lot of fun playing in it. There’s even a large pirate ship playground nearby for post-pool playtime.
Shinjuku Chuo Park
This splash pool is located in a park that I didn’t even know existed in Shinjuku since most of the time, we go to the pay park. But this one is free and even has a flea market on the weekends. It’s in an enclosed pool area and the water tends to be a little deeper than the previous ones we went to but it really only goes up to my shins. It does get a little crowded on the weekends and they make you get out every hour for cleaning, I think. There is also a play area adjacent to the splash pool.
Honshibakoen park by Tamachi Station
This one is a wonderful discovery made by our friends. It’s actually pretty close by to where we live (it’s located in our ward) and we can easily access it by the local bus. The nice thing about it is that it’s not that crowded and is located in a small park by the JR Tamachi train station. It’s great for us since we don’t have to travel too far to get to it and the kids love it.
Rinshin no Mori
This one is a bit farther out there since it’s located closer to Meguro. It’s actually the most natural looking fountain since it’s located in a really big park. Unfortunately, it’s also super crowded and has the strongest smell of chlorine. It has a pretty cool waterfall that kids love to climb up and down and they do have a faucet area to rinse off afterwards though. Lots of shade too.
This one is actually way, way out in Chiba at the Andersen amusement park. E went there with her school for their annual spring fieldtrip. The fountain is really huge and the kids had a blast playing in here. It’s definitely E’s favorite one because of the size and she constantly asks me when we can go back there. Unfortunately, it’s really far out there and I think you need to have a car or find a tour bus to take you there.
Splash parks are really cool and I really wish that I could put on my swimsuit and join the kids in them too. Luckily, they are all located in parks or near parks and are free. Summer may be coming to an end soon but at least I know where to take the kids next summer!