Desmond on a train in Kobe, Japan

Desmond on a train in Kobe, Japan

One of the interesting realities about traveling with young children is the ways that it changes our use of time while we are in port.  We aren’t touring museums or spending much time in Japanese teahouses.  Instead, we are balancing our time between cultural sites and places where our children can be children.

We get to see local playgrounds and experience a small slice of what it is like to have a family in the countries we are visiting.  I plan to share pictures of these experiences with you.  In Japan, we visited two parks, and while I’m sure these parks are not typical of the entire country, I was interested to see how the Japanese design spaces for children in these small regions.

In Yokohama, we visited a massive park called Children’s Land.  There was a small entrance fee to get in.  The park was 240 acres of edible gardens, playgrounds, a train, swan ponds, bridges, a small zoo, and SO much more.  Unfortunately, I misread the metro map, and we spent 1.5 hours on public transportation getting there, only to have it start raining as soon as we got off the metro.  We were cold and wet, so we only stayed for a short time, and spent that short time in one tiny section of this wonderland.
The park had those fabulous slides with the rolling bars, TONS of cargo net climbing tunnels, and two zip lines, just to name a few of the features that we would have preferred to enjoy while it was warm and sunny, but that we made work just fine in the chilly rain.

I tried to take pictures with my children in them so you can have some size perspective.IMG_3519







The other park we visited was in Kobe, Japan.  This was a public park situated on two different levels on the side of a steep hill.  A huge slide and cargo climbing net connected the two parks.  In one of the pictures, you will see my husband going down the slide, so you can get a little perspective about how huge this slide was.