Sunday, 1 April 2012

Arakawa Yuen

Along the Arakawa River, on a tramline that is the last relic of a once extensive Tokyo Metropolitan Government run tram system, lies the Arakawa Yuen, an amusement park, also a relic of a different age.  A visit to the park  is like being transported back to a Tora san movie to a Tokyo that didn't know Louis Vuitton, Disneyland or Sony PSPs.  The  Yuen was built by the Arakawa local government in the 1950s to provide space for the rapidly growing numbers of young people in Tokyo.  It doesn't look as though it has changed very much since then.  

I'd been there once before in 2010, and took the chance to go back on the weekend  when we babysat three delightful boys from Niigata - 7,5,2.   It's a perfectly park for 2-8 year olds who don't have the patience for Disneyland queues (or whose parents or guardians have no interest in Disneyland levels ofcrowds, queues and commercialism). Entrance is 200 yen ($2.30)  for adults, 100yen for primary and middle school students and the over 65s. Ride cost is mostly 100 yen, which means it's easy for local people to come for a couple of hours and go home, unlike Disney where  the steep entry fee makes it better value to stay as long as possible. You can take your lunch or buy it (unlike Disney where you aren't supposed to take in your own food). There is nothing much in the way of souvenirs.  Aside from a mini zoo that is only a few steps above a Chinese zoo in terms of animal rights awareness, it's a  great place for an outing.

To get to Arakawa Yuenchi take the  Arakawa line tram to Arakawa Yuenchi mae stop.  The Arakawa line meets the Chiyoda line at Machiya,  the Keihin Tohoku line and Namboku line at Oji,  the Hibiya line at Minowa, the Yamanote line at Otsuka and the Fukutoshin line at Zoshigaya.
Early spring outside Arakawa Yuenchi

Autumn time in front of Arakawa Yuenchi
An old Arakawa line tram - which doesn't look that different
from some of the ones that still run on the line.
200 yen entry fee for high school aged and above.
100 yen entry fee for children and over 65s
Free for children below primary school age.
You pay separately for rides and entry.
Most rides are one x 100Y ticket for children. Adults need to
ride with pre-primary school children on most rides.
For most rides adults need two x 100 yen tickets.
Two visits and I still haven't made it inside the building that
houses the Arakawa tram information.
A map of the park - a good size for little people.

Some rides like these work on 100 yen coins
You need to be over five to go on this - kind of like a jumping castle
but with a net to climb up. 
A 'ride' for 2-5 year olds
The ferris wheel
A very laid back atmosphere and not very crowded
The Arakawa from  the ferris wheel
A sky bike

A very pretty bird in the aviary

A train - 100 yen ticket to board - a real one is cheaper for the
A jetcoaster

A very retro ride on camel powered by a 100 yen coin,
also ride on dinousaurs and other animals.

The free rides were as popular as the pay rides.  The homepage of the park (in Japanese)


Rurousha said...

Tonight I finally have a chance to catch up with fellow bloggers.

"A visit to the park is like being transported back to a Tora san movie to a Tokyo that didn't know Louis Vuitton, Disneyland or Sony PSPs." I love this description! This is my kind of Tokyo! ^^

When I read this post, I initially confused your park with the Arakawa Natural Park, but the latter is closer to Arakawa Nichome Station. (Errr. I think. Remember, I have no sense of direction!)

Anyway, it looks as if you and the young warriors had lots of good old-fashioned fun. Who needs Disneyland?! :D

Cecilia said...

My kind of Tokyo too.
It was fun. I am not sure if I have been to the Arakawa Natural Park. I don't think so. Something else for the "to do" list!