Tuesday, August 27, 2013

National Children's Castle in Shibuya

We had a modeling audition on a Monday evening in Tokyo (look for a post all about modeling in the future), and because auditions can sometimes be as little as 5 minutes, I looked for something fun to do in the area. Just a few blocks from the audition location, I found the National Children's Castle in Shibuya. Indoor entertainment is a must during summer in Japan because it is SO humid that it's unbearable to be outside for very long.

National Children's Castle looks nothing like an actual castle, but it is a multi-level play-place for children in one of the busiest parts of Tokyo. On the third-floor is a large playhouse and climbing equipment, Foosball and pool tables, building toys, and an art-studio. The fourth-floor houses a music room (with shows for kids and lots of instruments to bang around on) and a movie-rental facility with small, individual pods where kids can watch whatever they choose. [Note: we did not use the movie area because much of it was in Japanese and we couldn't figure out how to find the English movies. It was also very crowded.] The fifth-floor is very popular with a roof-top garden, jungle gym, bike area, and even pools (only in the summer). 

Here is the specific info: 

5-53-1 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Shibuya station (Yamanote, Ginza, Hanzomon lines), Miyamasuzaka (east) exit OR Omotesando station (Chiyoda, Ginza, Hanzomon lines), exits B2, B4. Keep in mind that it's an uphill walk from Shibuya station - little ones may get tired.

12.30-5.30pm Tuesday-Friday; 10am-5.30pm Weekends. Closed on Monday unless it's a national holiday. Check here for an up-to-date calendar.

Adults pay 500yen, children 3-17 are 400yen.

Specific Info for Families:
There are nursing rooms and plenty of restrooms with easy access for kids. There is no place to buy food inside (plenty of vending machines, however), but there is a family lounge area where you can bring your own snacks and meals. There is also a family-friendly cafe (Cafe Castle, open 11:00am-7:00pm) outside the main entrance.

If you're walking to the National Children's Castle, you'll know you are there when you see this out front.

The entrance is under that walkway and to the left.

This is where you will buy your ticket. Just push the button that describes your family and voila!

They wash this wall clean every day. My kids would LOVE something like this at home!

She's proud of her airplane.

If you are going to be in Shibuya, and are looking for a place for your kids to run around, definitely stop by the National Children's Castle. With the language barrier, I don't think we took full advantage of the place like we could have otherwise, but my kids still really enjoyed spending a couple of hours there. And with the summer heat wave that was plaguing Japan, it was nice for them to have a place to run around that was air-conditioned! Oh air-conditioning... what in the world did people do before you came along??

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