Tokyo Ward Hopes to Attract Visitors with Tomica Toy Cars; New Neighborhood Park Expected to Open in Fiscal 2029

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Niijuku Kotsu Park in Katsuhika Ward, Tokyo

For fans of Tomy Co., a park featuring the toymaker’s Plarail model trains and Tomica miniature cars is in the works in Katsushika Ward, Tokyo.

The ward hopes that the envisaged park will not only provide a fun place for children to learn traffic rules but also attract Plarail and Tomica miniature car enthusiasts from across the country.

Tomy, which is based in the ward, will work with Katsushika ward office to open the park in fiscal 2029 at Niijuku Kotsu Park, a roughly 11,530-square-meter park located south of JR Kanamachi Station.

Currently, a miniature steam locomotive and a mini-Shinkansen run through the park, attracting many families every weekend. There are also traffic signs, a signal and a railroad crossing that simulate public roads, so children at the park can learn about the rules of the road while riding bicycles and go-karts.

The park, built in 1969, has been struggling with aging equipment and facilities. While discussing the park’s redevelopment, the ward came up with the idea to use the local company’s brand to revitalize the park, and asked for its cooperation, according to the ward.

New ways to play

Courtesy of Tomy Company Ltd.
Tomica miniature cars

The ward office and the company are in talks over applying the Tomica design to the buses and other objects displayed at the park and the Plarail design to the structures through which mini-locomotives runs.

“I think it would be good if children could have a different experience from playing with Plarail model trains and Tomica miniature cars indoors,” said Tomoya Ueda a company employee who frequents the park with his child. “I hope the park will be a place where children can learn something real while being able to move their bodies.”

The ward has allocated ¥13 million for the basic design in its initial general fund budget for fiscal 2024. Construction is expected to begin in fiscal 2027.

Courtesy of Tomy Company Ltd.
Plarail model trains

New tourism spot

The ward office is hoping the popularity of Plarail and Tomica will attract many park goers.

There are areas in the ward that are already well-known nationwide, such as Kameari, which is known for the police comedy manga “Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Koen-mae Hashutsujo” (This is the police box in front of Katsushika Ward Kameari Park) and Shibamata, which was the setting for the movie series “Otoko wa Tsuraiyo” (It’s tough being a man).

The municipality hopes to promote the Niijuku district as a new tourist spot by relying on the toys’ popularity.

However, as the park is about a 20-minute walk from JR Kanamachi Station, it is not conveniently located.

In addition to redeveloping the park, the ward office is currently promoting a project to convert a freight line, which runs north and south through the ward, into a passenger line, and considering building a new station in Niijuku.

“The integration of the park and the world of toys will make the park more enjoyable for parents and children,” said Katsushika Mayor Katsunori Aoki.