My daughter is a pretty easy-going traveler, but there is a limit to how many museums you can drag a toddler to. Sometimes you just have to build in a little bit of playground time. Luckily, there are some fantastic recreational areas scattered around the islands that will entertain adults almost as much as their offspring.
1. The Robot Park (Tokyo) – Venture behind Roppongi Hills and you’ll be greeted by a row of colorful slides all overlooked by a pair of robots. There are four robot riding toys, a LONG roller slide built into the hill and a tower of robots at the edge of the park. Great for families staying in Roppongi.
2. Kilala Park (Sasebo) – A tree house, a pirate ship, a kids’ zip line … what doesn’t Kilala Park in Sasebo have? This park is super easy to reach from the city center via a bridge over the river and just a short walk out of the main gate of the local American Naval base, for military families. There is even a separate play area for little tykes.
3. Sea Monster Park (Ibusuki) – There’s a good chance you’ll never make it down to Ibusuki and an even greater chance you’ll never stumble across this lakeside park. Lake Ikeda is known for its alleged sea monster inhabitant, a Japanese Nessie if you will. The playground here is getting on a bit in years but your kids will love crawling around on a mythical beast’s back.
4. Pirate Ship Park (Okinawa) – Your little swashbucklers will get a kick out of this playground just at the bottom end of Araha Beach. A pirate ship lies parked on the sand and you can climb all the way up to the crow’s nest to feast your eyes over the blue waves of the East China Sea. There’s also a zipline and picnic area nearby.