Tokyo German Village is a feast for the eyes
In the hills of Chiba, near Sodegaura city east of Tokyo and across the bay, a theme park lights up for the winter.
Tokyo German Village opened in 2001 and has established itself as one of the three greatest theme parks in the Kanto region. It’s listed as a Japan heritage nightscape, according to Japan-Chiba-Guide.com.
This year — the 14th year of illumination at the park — the theme is 1980s video games. The holidays may be past, but the light show at the village lasts until early April.
Up close, the fields of light look like someone laid out their Christmas lights to check for burned-out bulbs, but walk to the viewing area and everything changes. An immense fantasy scene takes you on an 8-bit adventure with castles, swords and flying pigs.
This family-friendly park has more than just lights. The smell of bacon, sausage and turkey legs will inundate your senses while you pass the food area on your way to a 200-foot-long tunnel of lights leading to the Ferris wheel.
For 800 yen, or a little less than $8, you can grab some of the fare which resembles that found at many German-themed parks in the United States.
From high atop the slowly spinning ride, you will see the many attractions the park has to offer, such as an 18-hole miniature golf course, petting zoo and swan-shaped paddle boats.
One of the greatest drawbacks for this slice of outdoor pleasure is its distance from anywhere, about a 1½-hour drive from Yokota Air Base or about a 2½-hour train ride. A trip to Tokyo German Village is a daylong excursion.
The entrance fee is minimal at 500 yen, or a little under $5, for ages 4 and up, but make sure to bring cash because most rides and attractions cost extra.
Parking is 3,000 yen, a little under $30.
The park is open year-round, weather permitting, with no set closed days.
With more than 500,000 square feet of gardens, activities, food and lights, the Tokyo German Village could make for a great day trip families, friends or anyone looking to get out and see the country.
email@example.com Twitter: @GodboldTheron
DIRECTIONS: Address: 419 Nagayoshi Sodegaura-shi, Chiba; From Yokota, enter the Chuo Expressway headed toward Tokyo. About a 1½-hour drive from Yokota Air Base or about a 2½-hour train ride.
TIMES: Open daily 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; closed during inclement weather
COSTS: 500 yen for ages 4 and up; free for those younger than 4
FOOD: There is a variety of food available at the park with multiple vendors selling a Japanese take on German fare. Prices start at 800 yen for a turkey leg but can reach nearly 2,000 yen for a sausage, side and drink.
INFORMATION: Phone: 0438-60-5511