Indoor Parks Give Children Taste of the Great outdoors

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Children dance along with animated animals projected on the wall behind them at the theme park Culaful in Minato Ward, Tokyo, on Nov. 7.

At Culaful, a children’s theme park and cafe in Minato Ward, Tokyo, children can play as though they were at a campsite surrounded by nature, despite being located in a big city where skyscrapers create a forest of their own.

The exhibits simulate natural environments. For example, children began to dance and shout for joy as an image of a forest was projected on the walls behind them, and they were also able to enjoy swimming in a ball pit and climbing a tree made of nets.

Culaful opened this past summer in the Takeshiba district of the central Tokyo Bay area, which is currently in the midst of urban redevelopment.

For children who spend much more time at home because of the novel coronavirus outbreak, the theme park makes for a precious play area.

A projection show lasting about 20 minutes depicts different time zones, the changing of the seasons and even changes in the weather, as well as animated animals. This setting helps create an imaginary world where children can converse with bears and deer that live in the forest.

“Because my daughter and I live in Tokyo, she rarely gets the chance to come in contact with nature. That’s why I think it’s great that there’s a place where she can experience it through play,” said a mother from Setagaya Ward who visited with her 5-year-old daughter.

At Tokyo Asobimare, a theme park in the Tama New Town area of Hachioji, Tokyo, visitors can play in the snow all year round thanks to its highly popular Snow Town zone. This establishment opened its doors for the first time in April 2018 and allows visitors to feel the texture of snow. Because the snow at the park is specially treated so that it doesn’t melt easily, visitors can enjoy playing in the snow despite the room’s tempertaure being between 18 C and 20 C.

Children often enjoy the roughly 1,000-square-meter snowy field as they make snowmen or ride sleds.

“This is the first time my children have ever touched snow,” said a mother from Kawasaki who brought along her children. “They touched it in amazement and said, ‘It’s so cold.’”

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Visitors of the Tokyo Asobimare theme park play in the snow in Hachioji, Tokyo, on Nov. 14.