Here’s a list of only some of the many activities that children and families can enjoy.
Kenji World indoor swimming dome, a huge water park in Morioka, Japan, features a wave-making pool, waterslides and a flowing river that circles the park’s interior. It’s about a three-hour drive south of Misawa; the base’s Four Seasons travel office sponsors bus tours to the attraction throughout the year. Weekday admission is 2,000 yen ($17.39) for adults and 1,200 yen ($10.43) for children ages 3 to 12. Fees are slightly higher on weekends but include locker space for valuables and access to shower rooms. Kenji World is open year round from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Last entry is 8 p.m. daily.
Asamushi Aquarium, 45 miles northwest of Misawa, offers a dolphin show four times daily. The exhibits feature a tropical jungle environment, an underwater marine tunnel and a hands-on exhibit with marine creatures such as starfish. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; parking is free. Adult admission is 1,000 yen ($8.70); elementary grade children cost 500 yen (or $4.35).
Ryusendo caves, about 70 miles south of Misawa, is among Japan’s biggest limestone and stalactite caves. Beautiful limestone formations deep underground have been formed over hundreds of millions of years. Summer temperatures hover around 55 degrees, so bring a light sweater. Open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Adult admission is 1,000 yen ($8.70). Junior high and elementary school children pay 500 yen ($4.35).
The Kappa festival, about a mythical frog created to keep children away from rivers and lakes, is presented July 25-27 at the Komaki Grand Hotel, 10 minutes from Misawa Air Base’s front gate. Features include a daily battle of the dragons on the hotel’s man-made lake, a Kappa screaming contest, food booths and a fireworks and laser show at night. The dragon battle starts at 6 p.m. July 25 and 26 and starts at 11 a.m. July 27. Admission is free.
Hamura Zoo in downtown Hamura is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. March through October; closed Mondays. Entry is free for children 3 and younger; 50 yen for those 4 years old through junior high school age and 300 yen for adults. Fifteen minutes from Yokota Air Base.
Showa Park in Akishima is a traditional, old-fashioned city park with small shrines, jogging trails, a small zoo, playground equipment and picnic areas. It is open every day from 8:40 a.m. to 4:50 p.m. Admission is free.
Dinosaur Adventure Park at UNESCO Village, across the street from the Seibu Lions Stadium in Tokorazawa City, includes an educational boat ride through the history of dinosaurs. It is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends. Entry fee is 1,200 yen for junior high school students and older, and 600 yen for children 4 years old through sixth grade. Admission to the Simulation Theater — a 3-D show of race car and spaceship adventures — is 1,000 yen per person. Parking is 1,000 yen for cars and vans.
Seibu-en Amusement Park, located near the Seibu Lions Stadium in Tokorazawa City, includes a giant ferris wheel, pirate ship, teacup rides and a wave pool. Open every day, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Entry fee is 3,800 yen for adults, and 3,000 yen for children, for a one-day pass to the park and full access to rides. Food stalls and drinks are available. After 5 p.m., there is no admission charge to the park. About 30 minutes from Yokota Air Base.
Ueno Zoo in Taito-ku is Japan’s oldest zoo. Open 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday. Entry fee is 500 yen for adults and 200 yen for children ages 12 to 14; entry is free for children younger than 12 and senior citizens. In Ueno Park, Tokyo. Take the train to Ueno station and follow the signs.
Tokyo Water Cruise: Take a ferry ride along Sumida River and Tokyo Bay. Ferries leave from Hinode sanbashi, Asakusa, Odaiba and Shinagawa Aquarium. Hinode Sanbashi is eight minutes away from the JR Hamamatsu station, or a two- minute walk from Yurikamome monorail’s Hinode station; from the station, follow the signs. A one-day pass is 1,800 yen for adults, 900 yen for children. For more details and ferry schedules, check the Tokyo Cruise ship Web site: www.suijobus.co.jp/english/index.html.
Tokyo Dome City is an amusement park next to the Tokyo Dome. The newly renovated park has attractions including roller coasters, water rides and a ferris wheel. Open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and to 9:30 p.m. on weekends and holidays. There is no entrance fee; each ride has a fee. Costs range from 600 to 1,000 yen. It’s located right across from JR Ueno station. Web site: www.tokyo-dome.co.jp/e/park/index.htm.
Shinagawa Aquarium has a unique tunnel water tank that holds 2,500 fish with a 180-degree view. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Tuesdays. Admission is 1,100 yen for adults and high school students, 600 yen for junior high and elementary school students, and 300 yen for children 4 to 6 years old. Five minutes walk from Keikyu Omori Kaigan station. Phone: 03-3762-3433.
Odaiba, in Tokyo’s bayside area with its land mark Ferris wheel. There are malls, movie theatres and a maritime science museum in the area. Odaiba seaside park has a beach and offers a beautiful view of Tokyo tower and Rainbow bridge. There is also a small indoor theme park, Joypolis, with more than 20 rides including virtual roller coasters at Decks Tokyo. Rides cost between 200 and 700 yen. To get to Odaiba, take Yurikamome line from JR Shinbashi station to Daiba station.
Hakkei jima Sea Paradise: This aqua theme park has an aquarium, an amusement park and shows featuring a flute-playing walrus and singing white whales. Open from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on weekdays and to 10:30 p.m. on weekends. Aquarium admission is 2,450 yen for adults and high school students and 1,400 yen for elementary and junior high school students. All-you-can-ride tickets for the amusement park are 2,900 yen for adults and 2,600 yen for elementary and junior high school students. Tickets which allow admission to both are available for 4,900 yen for adults and high school students and 3,500 yen for elementary and junior high school students. By car, take highway 357 from Namiki interchange on Yoko-Yoko expressway. By train, it’s a three-minute walk from Hakkeijima station on Kanagawa Seaside line, which leaves from Keikyu Kanazawa Hakkei station.
Yokohama Baystars baseball: Baseball in Japan is cheaper than you think, especially for kids. The Baystars might not be league leaders but you can get bleacher seats for kids for 500 yen. Adult seats cost 1,800 yen. To reach Yokohama Stadium, take the JR or Keikyu train lines to Yokohama, then switch to the Yokohama Subway. Take the subway to the Kannai stop. Check the team’s schedule at www.baystars.co.jp.
Harajuku Kiddyland: Harajuku is known as the youth capital of Tokyo and Kiddyland is no exception. It’s a five-story toy store with Japanese and imported toys and games, both educational and unusual. There’s also a wide selection of English books and magazines. For bigger kids, Harajuku also is home to dozens of Tokyo’s most popular fashion shops. To get there, take the Keikyu train line to Shinagawa, then switch to the JR Yamanote line. Get off at Harajuku station, take the main exit and walk to the right. Kiddyland is two blocks down on the right side of the street.
Yokohama Bayside: Also known as Minato Mirai 21, Yokohama’s futuristic bayside development includes shopping malls, museums, parks and what’s billed as the “World’s Largest Ferris Wheel.” The bayside is also home to Landmark Tower, Japan’s tallest skyscraper. To get there, at Shibuya station, transfer to the JR Keihin Tohoku-Negishi line. Take that train to Sakuragicho Station (one stop beyond the Yokohama stop) and exit to the left. You’ll end up right in the middle of Minato Mirai 21.
Nogeyama Zoo: Don’t want to go all the way to Ueno Zoo? Try Nogeyama Zoo near Yokohama. This relatively small park boasts more than 1,000 animals, including lions, zebras and the ever- popular Mountain of Monkeys. The best part? It’s free. Nogeyama Zoo is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. To get there, take the Keikyu line to Hinode-cho Station; about a 20-minute ride from Yokosuka.
Youth Outdoor Adventure Camp: June 23-27. Registration deadline June 9. Cost: $150. Camp out in the mountains of the Nagano prefecture by night and go white-water rafting, rock climbing and hiking by day. Spaces are limited. For information, contact Yokosuka Teen Programs at DSN 241-4100.
Summer Surf Camp: July 7-10, Registration deadline June 23. Cost: $150. Spend the week body boarding, surfing, skating and hanging out at some of Japan’s most famous surfing beaches. For information, contact Yokosuka Teen Programs at DSN 241-4100.
Ice Skating: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 15. Cost $10. Registration deadline July 8. Cool off spending the day ice skating in Yokohama. For information, contact Yokosuka Teen Programs at DSN 241-4100.
Summer Sailing Camp: 9 a.m. to noon July 15-17. Cost: $20. Registration deadline July 1. Learn how to sail at Yokosuka’s Green Bay Marina. For information, contact Yokosuka Teen Programs at DSN 241-4100.
Nature and Science Center: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 12. Cost $5. Registration deadline Aug. 5. Spend a day exploring Yokohama’s Nature and Science museum. For information, contact Yokosuka Teen Programs at DSN 241-4100.
Yanai Sport Land has a race cart track; fee is $16. To race, you must wear long pants, shirts with long sleeves and sneakers. Sport Land, open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. every day except Thursday, is about 5 miles outside Iwakuni. For directions, call the Iwakuni MCAS Community Services Information and Referral Office at 253-6161 or Sports Land at 0820-26-0555.
Kintai-kyo: The famous Kintai Bridge and its five arches is here. Also nearby is the historic Iwakuni Castle and beautiful Kikko Park. Kintai-kyo is an inexpensive place for kids to spend summer days. For information and directions, call the Iwakuni MCAS Community Services Information and Referral Office at 253-6161.
Chichiyasu Water Park: The park has a swimming pool, water slide, go-cart track, driving range, putt-putt golf and steam locomotive train. Chichiyasu, 13.3 miles north of Iwakuni, is open from the end of June through September. Admission for adults is 1,400 yen (about $11.50); for children, 1,200 yen (about $9.80). For information and directions, call the Iwakuni MCAS Community Services Information and Referral Office at 253-6161.
Hachigamine Park has a putt-putt golf course, a huge roller slide, playgrounds, picnic area and small campground, a bee museum/exhibit, fitness trail, Ferris wheel and train rides. Prices vary by activity. The park is in Waki Town about 6 miles north of Iwakuni. For information and directions call the Iwakuni MCAS Community Services Information and Referral Office at 253-6161.
New Zealand Village: Activities include mini-golf, fantasy boats, pony rides, a mini-zoo, super slides, go-karts and archery. Prices are 410 yen ($3.30) for adults and 200 yen ($1.60) for children. Other fees are charged for various activities. For information and directions call the Iwakuni MCAS Community Services Information and Referral Office at 253-6161.
Huis Ten Bosch: This massive theme park next to Sasebo Naval Base’s Hario Housing Village is a pristine Dutch village sitting in southern Japan. The park offers beautiful scenery, gardens and Dutch architecture. Inside attractions including restaurants, museums and interactive high-tech exhibits. Basic admission prices are 3,200 yen ($26) for adults, 2,000 yen ($16) for students ages 12 to 17 and 1,000 yen ($8.20) for children ages 4 to 11. For more information, call the Sasebo Naval Base Travel and Tours Office at 252-3433, the park at 0956-27- 0138, or visit the park’s Web site at: www.huistenbosch.co.jp/foreign/english/index.html.
Sasebo Bio Park: You can meet animals and plants from around the world at Sasebo’s Bio Park. It consists of 12 different geographic areas including the tropical dome, polar dome, pond of hippos, rocky mountain of llamas, raccoon forest and the islet of monkeys — where monkeys literally jump on your shoulders as you stroll around. Admission varies by age groups but for children between ages 4 and 11, it’s 700 yen. For information and directions, call the Sasebo Naval Base Travel and Tours Office at 252-3433.
At Fukuoka’s Space World, about 85 miles northwest from Sasebo Naval Base, visitors can “experience the mystery, wonder, fun and thrills of the universe through various attractions,” according to the park’s brochure. Attractions include rides such as the Black Hole Scramble, Star Shaker and Clipper. The park’s Planet AQA is billed as one of the world’s largest water attractions; riders go through a jungle and outer space occupied by aliens. The “free pass,” which includes admission to the park and all specified attractions, is 4,600 yen ($38) for adults, 3,900 yen ($32) for school children and 3,500 ($29) for younger children. For more information, call the Sasebo Naval Base Travel and Tours Office at 252-3433, Space World at 093-672-3600, or visit the park’s Web site: www.spaceworld.co.jp.
Saikai Pearl Sea Center: Includes several attractions including an IMAX theater, aquarium, ship exhibition, sailing and kayaking rentals and several shops and restaurants. The resort is home to the red Kaioh pleasure boat, also known as the pirate ship. The center, within Saikai National Park, is surrounded by The 99 Islands — clusters of tiny islands. Prices vary for the various attractions including 900 yen for adults and 450 yen for children to board the Pirate Ship for a 50-minute island tour and 300 yen for a film about the Japanese space program in the IMAX Dome. For more information and directions, call the Sasebo Naval Base Travel and Tours Office at 252-3433.
Youth Soccer Camp: Slated for June 16-20 and June 23-27, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. for youth ages 9 to 12 and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. for youth ages 13 and older. The games are at Field No. 10. Bring water, shorts and a towel. Call 738-8117 for more information. To sign up, visit Child and Youth Services Central Registration Office in building 4211.
Learn to Swim Class: June 16 - 27; June 30-July 11; July 14-25; July 28-Aug. 8. 7:30 to 11:30 a.m., South Post Swimming Pool. Call 738-5036 for more information. To sign up, visit Child and Youth Services Central Registration Office in building 4211.
MS & Teen Summer Block Party 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. June 20 at the Youth Services parking lot. Call 738-4557 for more information. To sign up, visit Child and Youth Services Central Registration Office in building 4211.
Middle School & Teen Bowling Clinic: The main post bowling alley is to host bowling clinics from 3 to 5 p.m. June 23-27 and July 28-Aug. 1. Call 738-4557 for more information. To sign up, visit Child and Youth Services Central Registration Office in building 4211.
Youth Baseball Camp I: At Blackhawk field July 7-11, 9 to 11 a.m. for youth ages 9 to 12 and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. for youth ages 13 and older. Bring water, hats and gloves. Call 738-8117 for more information. To sign up, visit Child and Youth Services Central Registration Office in building 4211.
Middle School & Teen Explorer Club: Hosts trips to local amusement parks July 7-11. Call 738-4557 for more information. To sign up, visit Child and Youth Services Central Registration Office in building 4211.
Youth Baseball Camp II: July 14-18, 9 to 11 a.m. at Blackhawk Village for ages 9 to 12; 1 to 3 p.m. at Hannam Field for youth ages 13 and older. Call 738-8117 for more information. To sign up, visit Child and Youth Services Central Registration Office in building 4211.
Special Arts & Crafts Camp: 1 to 2:30 p.m. Aug. 4-8 at the South Post Arts and Crafts center. Open to all middle school and teen members; $10 per person. To sign up, visit Child and Youth Services Central Registration Office in building 4211.
Friday night skate: Roller skating and roller blading, 7 to 8:30 almost every Friday evening. Open to all personnel and family members. Roller skates and roller blades may be rented or bring your own.
Summer outdoor adventure: Among summer outdoor adventures to be offered: a fishing trip, hike in the mountains, bike ride along River’s Edge trail or an adventure to some of Korea’s great treasures. Watch for Summer 2003 activities.
Youth Fit for Life Fitness Express: Circuit training to encourage youth fitness activities, 3:45 to 4:15 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Youth Center. Divided in two groups: ages 5 to 8 and 9 to 13. Bring water bottle, tennis shoes and sports attire. Free but youth membership and sports physical required. Register at the Youth Center 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Youth Fit for Life Teen ECO Challenges: Includes a fitness evaluation, orientation on proper use of fitness center equipment and fitness center hours for youth ages 13-18, June 1 through Sept. 26. Bring water bottle, tennis shoes and sports attire; youth membership and sports physical required. Register at the Youth Center 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, free.
Youth Fit for Life Teen Circuit Training: Circuit training for ages 13-18, to encourage teen fitness; 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays June 1 to Sept. 26 at the Youth Center. Bring water bottle, tennis shoes and sports attire. Free but current youth membership and sports physical required. Register at the Youth Center 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Kids All-American Fishing Derby, June 14, for ages 3 to 16, free. Sponsored by Wal-Mart and Hooked on Fishing International to introduce youth to fishing. Spend the morning learning fishing basics and join the BBQ afterwards. Some equipment will be available on site. Fishing contests also will be included, with prizes. Bring sunscreen, hat, water, fishing gear if owned.
Visions Middle School Summer Camp: “Ultimate Journey in Korea 2003.” June 16 to Aug. 15. Sponsored by Child and Youth Services and Camp Adventure, it will be at Camp Walker, Visions, Building 252. For completed grades 6 to 9. $40 per week, $108 per session, $306 per summer. Sign up at Child and Youth Services Central Registration Office, Camp Walker Building 257.
Newcomers Club: Specialized activities for youth, completed grades 6 to 12, new to the area and their teen sponsors. Each Friday from June 16 to Aug. 1. Sponsored by Child and Youth Services. Camp Walker, Visions, Building 252. Free except final field trip material fee. Bring an appetite for the snacks. Stop by Visions or Images to pick up a newcomers application form.
Baton Twirling Clinic: Aug. 4- 15, for youth going into fifth through 12th grades, 2 to 5 p.m. Afternoon snack provided; $25 fee covers purchase of your personal baton. You must have white canvas tennis shoes with thin soles, fitted navy shorts and white tank top for final performance. Sign-up and fee due to Camp Hialeah Child and Youth Services by July 10. Taught by certified USTA coach, will be teaching beginning baton and introduction to dance twirling.
Expo Park and Charumi Aquarium: Gigantic indoor water tank with whale sharks and touch tank to let little fingers explore sea life. Tickets available from MCCS Tours: $13.50 for adults, $9 for teens ages 16 to 18 and $4.50 for children ages 6 to 15. Ages 5 and younger are admitted free. Expo Park and Charumi Aquarium stay open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily.
Neo Park: Offers a chance to get off base and hang out in a petting zoo. Day passes from MCCS Tours are $5 for adults, $3 for ages 13 to 17 and $1.75 for ages 4 to 12. Ages 3 and younger are admitted free. Passes for a family of five, available for $13.50, are valid for one year. Open 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily.
Kadena Air Base’s Hagerstrom and Chibana pools: Open at noon for weekend swimming. Hagerstrom closes at 6 p.m.; Chibana, at 5 p.m. The pools are open for summer swimming daily June 14 through Aug. 24. Admission is free for those younger than 5; all others pay $2 per person. Season passes also are available.