Courtesy of JAPAN Forward

Treasures along the Arakawa Line: Retro Amusement reopens

Earl Kinmonth / JAPAN Forward

The sky cycle loops around the west side of the Arakawa Amusement park. The Sumida River is out of sight at the far side of this photo.

Periodic outings to the Arakawa Amusement Park (Arakawa Yuen), an amusement park for young children owned and operated by Tokyo’s Arakawa Ward, were a favorite activity when our two sons were preschool and early elementary school age.

Trips to this park always delighted our boys because it included rides on the Arakawa tram line. Our older son in particular enjoyed standing behind the driver watching him or her manipulate the controls as the tram trundled down the tracks.

Now both are college students. One is a regular contributor to JAPAN Forward. Cleaning up my office last week, I was reminded of the Arakawa Amusement Park when I found a set of unused ride tickets. More recently, the park itself has been closed for more than three years for refurbishment.

The park reopened on April 21. I visited it on reopening day to see what had changed, and to introduce it to JAPAN Forward readers in Japan who may be looking for things to do with small children as school summer vacations approach.

Origins of the Park

The Park is on a site that was originally used by a brick factory. Then, in 1922 a private entrepreneur turned the land into an amusement park featuring a boating pond using water from the adjacent Sumida River.

After a period as an artillery base during the Pacific War, the site passed to Arakawa Ward. Since then, the ward has constructed and managed a changing mix of facilities along a corridor extending from the Arakawa Yuen Mae tram stop to the Sumida River.

There is a parking garage underneath this corridor. On the west side there is a municipal recreation facility that includes a large outdoor water play area for kids and an indoor swimming pool. Along the corridor there are several play spots for children.

One of several play spots for small children on the corridor from the tram stop to the Park.

The corridor to the park starts here, about a three minute walk with small children.

You can also read more about Japan's retro dagashi snack culture here.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.