- Education & Catastrophe
- Chiba Children's Wonderland
Chiba Children's Wonderland
Education & Catastrophe 65
Hey y’all! This is John.
This newsletter is about human flourishing. Ostensibly it’s about better parenting and fixing education, but ultimately what I really care about is helping young people flourish.
Last week, I gave the low down on kid-friendly Tokyo as part of a mini-series on where to go and what to do in Japan with young kids. This week, let’s explore Chiba prefecture, right next to Tokyo. The perfect countryside getaway if you don’t want to spend your entire vacation in a big city.
Let’s dive in!
Not many people know that Narita, one of two international airports for travellers flying into Tokyo, is actually in Chiba prefecture. Rent a car from Narita airport and within thirty minutes you can be at The Farm, a farm, cafe, restaurant and glamping site. Since we first visited in 2019, The Farm has added a vineyard where visitors can pick and eat Kyoho grapes to their hearts’ content. There’s also an outdoor hot spring and sauna, perfect for chilly autumn days (I don’t recommend going in winter, too cold). Pro tip: The Farm can set up a BBQ on your lawn. Kids get a thrill cooking what they harvest.
Photo op before harvesting giant gourds
Not far from The Farm is Kasai Rinkai Park, a giant park with a number of walking trails that crisscross the gardens, lawns and beaches. The aquarium and seabird sanctuary, in particular, are worth checking out.
Kasai Ringkai Park. Image credit: Japan Guide
Also in Chiba is Funabashi Andersen Park, rated by TripAdvisor in 2015 as the third most popular theme park in Japan, and the tenth most popular in Asia. Funabashi is a sister city of Hans Christian Andersen’s hometown of Odense in Denmark, so the entire park reflects classic Danish architecture. Pro tip: plan on spending the full day in the park.
Giant snake at the park entrance
Water play in Funabashi Andersen Park
Miniature Danish houses
In Andersen Park, seasonal events are organized like festivals. So, in spring we have a cherry blossom festival, in summer we have a sunflower festival, in autumn we have a cosmos festival, and in winter we have a tulip festival. These are our four main annual events.
I think there are few parks (like this) in the world where you can enjoy flowers year-round. And, unlike in other theme parks which are built around large attractions, Andersen Park is based on (the author’s) stories. So, we focus on delivering coziness and hominess, rather than thrills.”
Country Farm Tokyo German Village is a vast leisure park with rolling hills and landscaping reminiscent of the European countryside. There are playgrounds, carnival rides, and of course, German cuisine. Pro tip: sledding is a lot of fun!
Rolling hills of German Village
Mother Farm has many attractions and activities like animal petting, fruit picking, ferris wheel rides and ziplining. It’s a vast and beautiful park with many hiking trails and lots of activities to keep kids entertained. Pro tip: The Farm opened in Mother Farm a couple of years ago, so you can kill two birds with one stone.
And, of course, can’t write about kid-friendly Chiba without mentioning the obvious. Tokyo Disneyland!
Registration is open for Saturday Kids Unplugged Karuizawa Oct 16-18.