by Jun Igarashi
Enoshima AquariumCreative and educational aquatic activities for parents too

Remember those long, lazy summers of your childhood spent splashing and mucking about in the swimming pool? Most of us do. On hot, sweaty summer days, water can be our best friend, so why not take your children on a wet trip and enjoy a nostalgia trip at the same time? A number of water-themed parks are located quite close to Tokyo and many offer enough to keep you there all day. In fact, a huge outdoors children’s pool has just opened in Saitama: Tobu Super Pool. And if just swimming is a bit too energetic or monotonous for you, then their Jabujabu Adventure spot offers many safe opportunities for water fun, such as the Giant Bucket that throws 500 liters of water at you, rotary slide, and eight waterspouts for children. The thrilling waterslide also admits children accompanied by a parent or guardian.

If it’s raining, don’t despair as Nissan Water Park in Yokohama has 22 indoor pools of warm water suitable for most ages, including slides, lazy river, jacuzzi, sauna and aroma relaxing room.

New Otani hotel City hotels are great spots for swimming. At the ANA InterContinental Tokyo’s 4th floor Garden Pool you can rent swimwear, towels and goggles so you can just pop in on a whim. Children under 12 years old can eat all the ice cream they like at selected restaurants in the hotel if you stay there for at least one night under their Summer Special plan. The Hotel New Otani has a 25-meter pool three meters deep that allows diving, plus a popular children’s pool. “Our swimming pool is the biggest in any of Tokyo’s hotels. At the poolside, Hawaiian burgers, rice bowls and tropical cocktails are served. We also have special ice cream shakes for children,” said spokesperson Takahiro Ishiguro. “Parents often sip cocktails while listening to music as their kids play in the water.”

Aquamarine Fukushima Three hours by car from central Tokyo is Aquamarine Fukushima—an amazing “living museum” featuring a vast artificial biotope of reclaimed beaches, paddy fields, and streams along with the world’s biggest touch pool. Many little creatures live here in their natural environment, such as fingerling, starfish and shellfish. Education of Life Division Manager Takeshi Furukawa told WIFM. “A good balance of land and water is essential for creatures to survive. This safe and artificial environment is great for city children who do not have a chance to see such natural habitats. I believe this place motivates people to be interested in nature and is a first step for drawing their attention to environment concerns.” Enoshima Aquarium, in Fujisawa, is located at one of the best summer leisure spots on the outskirts of Tokyo.

Its popular “Sleepover Night Tour” is held regularly and includes a guided tour of the aquarium at night, along with a quiz and one night’s stay. “Participants sleep in front of the big aquarium, where nocturnal sharks swim dynamically. At night, you can see the unusual nocturnal activity of animals, such as penguins or seals sleeping on their stomachs. Some excited children stay awake all night as they gaze at the aquarium,” said spokesperson Asako Inoue. You can also join dolphins underwater without getting wet by using the Seawalker diving suit complete with large helmet and air supply. As this is a very popular venue, reservations are required for all activities.

Tobu Super Pool Kids
Jabujabu Adventure
Tobu Dobutsu Koen Station, Tobu Isesaki line
Adult ¥2,000, child ¥1,000
Open until Sept. 5

Jabujabu, Nissan Water Park in Yokohama
Shinyokohama Station, JR Yokohama line
Adult ¥500, under-13s ¥250

ANA InterContinental Tokyo
Garden Pool
Tameike-sanno Station, Nanboku and Ginza lines
Visitors: weekdays ¥6,000 (after 3pm ¥3,000), weekends and holidays ¥8,000
Guests: Adult ¥1,000, under 12s ¥500
Open until Sep. 5

New Otani Hotel
The Pool MAI TAI
Visitors: weekdays, adults ¥12,000, children ¥8,000, weekends and holidays, adults ¥20,000, under 13s ¥16,000 (after 3pm ¥3,000)
Night pool: ¥4,000 6pm-10pm Thursdays to Sundays during July 29-Aug 28 and Aug 8-11
Guests: Adults ¥2,000, under 13s ¥1,500
Open until Sep. 5

Aquamarine Fukushima
Adults ¥1,600, under-18s ¥800
50 Tatsumi-Cho, Onahama, Iwaki City, Fukushima

Enoshima Aquarium
Adults ¥2,000, under-12s ¥1,000, under-3s ¥600 (prices are only for the main entrance; advanced booking and extra payment is required for special programs)
Katase-enoshima Station on Odakyu Enoshima line; Enoshima Station on Enoshima Electric Railway, or Shonan-enoshima Station on Shonan Monorail