Family Fun

Family Fun: Niko-Niko Park (Tokyo)

Last month, my lack of preparation for the September Silver Week holiday (a move, two major summer trips, a new apartment in Tokyo … yup, totally slipped my mind!) saw me hanging out in Tokyo with my daughter for the duration while my husband was off hiking the Japan Alps.

Normally I’d be jealous of him, but there was camping involved. 😉

After weeks of fairly consistent rain, the Silver Week holiday was stunningly gorgeous, with blue skies and bearable temperatures. So on one of the weekend days, my daughter and I set off to explore the corners of Tokyo’s Meiji Jingu Gaien Park.

Or rather, one corner in particular. Meiji Jingu Gaien hosts the National Stadium (where the Yakult Swallows play) and running tracks and kilometers of traffic-free roads for runners and bikers. But in the northeast corner they also boast a paid-entry playground with a variety of activities called Niko Niko Park.

Entrance to NikoNiko Park

Entrance to NikoNiko Park

The main playground area is about two stories tall and has a long roller slide as well as two smaller slides and a variety of climbing options. Two smaller playgrounds on either side offer climbing ropes or walls, smaller slides and a long set of monkey bars.

The main tower at the park

The main tower at the park

A sandbox sits in the rear of the park, with a sink nearby for easy clean-up afterwards. And a “rody corner” is across the park, with about 15 of those bouncy Rody horses that kids can ride around an area the size of a tennis court. And in the far corner of the park, there is a zipline for elementary age kids and above.

A smaller playground with climbing options

A smaller playground with climbing options

The park was quite packed and by 10h30 (the park opens at 10h00) the line for the large roller slide was at least 10 minutes long. I consider it a plus that there are park staff posted around the park perimeter AND in the slide tower, to help move the line along and assist any kids with climbing the ladder to the main slides. It meant I didn’t have to go crawling through the tower myself, though other parents did and caregivers are more than welcome to accompany their kids down the slides.

The park is normally ¥300 for adults and ¥100 yen for children, but until November there is a special where adults are ¥200 and kids are only ¥50. There is no time limit so you can stay as long as you want and there is pretty ample seating, both on benches and under trees, to bring a bento or a picnic and make a day of it. They even have trash cans!! (Japan residents will understand my enthusiasm. 🙂 )

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