Learning for Fun

by Jun Igarashi
Forest Adventure Mt. FujiSchool breaks can educate, inspire and challenge children

Why not forego the predictable trip to the traditional zoo or tacky theme park this spring break and share with your children something educational, physical, creative or cultured to help them make new friends and learn communication, skills, independence and self-expression?

Odaiba’s a great place to start for science and math. Making understanding easier, quicker and more fun is the goal of ExploreScience, which showcases Sony Corporation’s latest technology. There are four zones with different themes: Sound, Light & Imaging, Theater & Workshop, and Information & Entertainment. The theater features 3D movies and documentaries such as the popular programs Arashiyama Zoo and Churaumi Aquarium now showing powerful images of beautiful animals.

Panasonic Corporation’s RiSuPia’s intention is to make math and science appeal to children by stimulating their interest with fun activities and tricky challenges. Their new exhibition Function Shooter starts this spring to help education through an amusing shooting game. In Magical Performance Theater, you jump among numbers and figures to learn the wonder of math through 3D images. Digital Zoetrope’s Wave Harmonizer illustrates the actual shape of sounds with lighting and movement, while other interactive challenges teach the rules of science in a fun way.

Wave HarmonizerCanvas holds stimulating workshops conducted by experts from a number of fields such as art, music, sport, science and networking that aims to nurture children’s creativity and self-expression. Parents and children can learn together and help each other to create a great illustrated book by using the latest computer software. Workshops, most of which take place in Tokyo, are sold out soon after being advertised on their website, so you are advised to book early.

KidZania Tokyo, in Toyosu, is the most famous children’s spot of its kind. There are more than 80 pavilions sponsored by major companies in a child-size functioning city where they can try out different careers as if they were an adult.

The look of fascination and enjoyment on many children’s faces when they try out these jobs for the first time is a treasure.

Children’s independence is encouraged, so adults cannot accompany them into the pavilions but are welcome to relax in the lounge with TV, newspapers, magazines and internet access, while refreshments are available in the food court.

CanvasFancy something more natural and adventurous? Leave the crazy city behind and head west to the foot of Mt. Fuji and Forest Adventure Fuji—a reforestation project for both adults and children. Visitors are challenged by a thrilling rope coaster, like a tarzan swing; soaring downhill in the lush forest tied to a safety harness aims to build character and selfconfidence. It recently reopened after its annual winter break. “We are only 90 minutes from Tokyo. We have a number of foreign visitors, and US schools use this place for school programs,” said Masaki Taguwa, manager of operators Pacific Network. Age, weight and height limits apply to different courses, so it’s best to check before you go.

Sony ExploreScience
03 -5531-2186
Odaiba-kaihin koen station,
Yurikamome line and Tokyo teleport
station, Rinkai line
Aged 16 and over ¥500, aged 3-15
¥300, aged 2 or younger free

Panasonic Center Tokyo premises,
3-5-1 Ariake, Koto-ku
Kokusai-tenijo station, Rinkai line,
and Ariake station, Yurikamome line
Adults ¥500, under 18s free

Venues and prices vary

KidZania Tokyo
Toyosu station, Yurakucho and
Yurikamome lines
Adults ¥1,900 - ¥4400

Forest Adventure Mt. FUJI
Adults ¥3,500, under 18s ¥2,500