Many are familiar with the Danish author, Hans Christian Andersen as his fairy tales have been translated into more than 125 languages. We all grew up reading at least one, if not more of his famous stories: “The Little Mermaid”, “The Snow Queen”, “The Ugly Duckling”, “The Nightingale”, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. Andersen’s tales have inspired plays, ballets and films all over the world and in Funabashi, Japan there is a children’s theme park named after him. (http://www.park-funabashi.or.jp/and/)
The Funabashi Andersen Park is located at 525 Kanehoricho, Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture, Japan and has something to offer to kids of all ages. Taking a cue from his stories, the park encourages its young visitors to exercise their sense of adventure and creativity through numerous hands on activities. For instance, taking advantage of the park’s natural setting, the forest ropes take the concept of a backyard Jungle-gym to the nth degree. Here children and adults can climb, hang and navigate water hazards and just go wild in the forest. If that isn’t thrilling enough, there is a playground area with a 164-foot slide!
The park is quite extensive so families set up small tents and enjoy a picnic at the park while devoting an entire day to their visit. There is a petting zoo, a children’s museum, Danish buildings, outdoor theaters, ponds and even an authentic Danish windmill. The younger children can go for a pony ride at the petting zoo and older kids and their families can rent a rowboat and traverse the pond while enjoying the park’s scenery. Adults can enjoy the natural beauty of the park while exploring the many manicured gardens and paths.
The park is an hour drive from central Tokyo and there are ample parking spaces once you reach your destination. The park is also accessible by trains departing from Shibuya followed by a local bus ride which lasts 20 minutes or so.
The cost of admission to the park is ¥900 for adults and ¥200 for children over the age of four. The parking fee will set you back ¥500.