The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Tokyo summer fun out of the sun

A few weeks ago, I wrote about some of the fun ways to keep cool with a toddler during summer at no out-of-pocket expense. This is about activities that will cost a little bit, but which are also fun for the adults. For those who have never experienced summer in Tokyo, the days can be uncomfortably warm (it was 38degC the other day), made unbearable with humidity. It's generally wise to stay indoors during the hot days, and the following were a few of the family outings we had over the past month while keeping out of the summer heat.

Noppon Land

We went to Noppon Land on the 4th floor of Tokyo Tower with my friend E, her husband and her two gorgeous girls. Noppon Land is targeted towards small children younger than 8 years old, and you pay for however long you use the facility (300yen for adults and 400yen for kids for the first 30 minutes, and additional 100yen for every 10 minutes thereafter). There are basically 3 areas: a large pool of colourful balls, a bouncy area, and a small area of large cushion stacking blocks for children too young to play in the other two areas. There is also Noppon's Magical Dungeon located adjacent to Noppon Land, which is aimed at children older than 4 years old (up to junior high school age).

Drowning in a sea of colourful balls! And the bouncy castle gave a surprisingly good workout!

The waffles and ice cream after that workout was totally optional, of course:

Tokyo Sea Life Park

We headed to this aquarium (Kasai Rinkai Suizokuen, aka Tokyo Sea Life Park) where Zak saw his first live tuna, sharks, penguins, turtle, puffins and countless other fish and marine creatures. Kids under 12 enter for free, so technically this is a 'free' activity for toddlers, but obviously they do need accompanying paying adults. The aquarium is also located within a large waterfront park complete with a ferris wheel, which would be great for exploring and hanging out in cooler weather.

Fixated at the aquarium window; and a huge blue groper which was larger than Zak!

At the penguin enclosure; and saying hello to Mr (or Mrs?) Turtle:

Getting Zak to do the touristy thing and pose next to the giant tuna statue, and then Honey wanted to join in on the fun too:

Tokyo Bay Fireworks

Okay, so I'm stretching it a little with this one because this was an evening event when the sun had already gone down, but we enjoyed viewing the fireworks from a friend's 48th floor apartment. We live a little closer to Tokyo Bay than my friend, and we could've watched the fireworks from our apartment, but the general view from S's place was amazing! Zak loved the pretty "flower fire" (as it's translated from the Japanese word for fireworks, hanabi) that lit up the skies, but he probably enjoyed more playing tea with S's daughter, who is only a few weeks younger than him. There are a lot of fireworks happening in and around Tokyo during the whole summer, but with more than 12,000 fireworks, the Tokyo Wan Hanabi Taikai (Tokyo Bay Firework Festival) is one of the biggest in Tokyo.

"Would you like a cup of tea?" is what little M would've said to Zak:

(You may notice that Zak is wearing the same jinbei (traditional Japanese summer outfit) in all the photos which were taken on different weekends several weeks apart, but it's purely coincidental. In fact, he doesn't really get much opportunity to wear it, and is quickly outgrowing it.)


  1. Tall!
    I can't believe how tall Z is!! 90cm, that's crazy!
    Sam xx

  2. Re: Tall!
    I know! I heard that kids get to half their adult height when they reach 2 years old, so I suppose Zak will be as tall as his daddy! :)