Translated by Lester Somera
Just a Kansai guy trying to get by
In Hannō city, Saitama prefecture, wander into a fairy tale world at the Akebono Children's Forest Park, popular for its Western buildings and abundant natural beauty.
Saitama Prefecture, located north of Tokyo, is home to various tourist spots, such as the traditional Japanese townscape of Kawagoe City and the Train Museum, where you can experience driving a train for yourself. Recently, in Hannō City in Saitama, one particular location has become a hot topic, and has been blowing up on social media. That place is the Akebono Children’s Forest Park.
What kind of park could it be?
The Akebono Children’s Forest Park in Hannō is a wonderful place, with cute buildings that make visitors feel as though they have wandered into a Western fairy tale, as well as abundant natural scenery. Recently, the park has become the subject of attention from women on social networking sites, and due to word of mouth, many people visit the park on their days off.
Little brooks stream through the interior of the park, which is encircled by greenery, and contains three adorable buildings. As you step into the park, the first thing that jumps out at you is the Mushroom House, a residence shaped like a giant mushroom.
This building is not just ornamental. Visitors can also enter the Mushroom House, which warmly greets them as though they were family. The kitchen and a European-style living room are located on the first floor. The living room fireplace is actually lit from December to February (weekends and holidays only), and the kindling-fueled flames keep all of the rooms warm.
The second floor has a strange atmosphere, with small rooms and other curious spaces. There is an accessories display, as well as a spot where children can play.
Head down the slope and walk along the streamlet to find a cute cabin. There were people having fun taking photos of friends sticking their faces out of the little windows. The park is home to many cute buildings like this one.
Climb the slope and the Forest House will come into view, where you will feel the warmth of trees. The imposing building is made out of a log stretching out lengthwise. The first floor has a data exhibit corner, while the second floor is a library corner, and you can enjoy a peaceful time here.
The park is dotted with various interesting objects, such as these cute figures on the roof of the manager’s office, which is located to the right of the entrance.
There is also an adorable fairy hidden behind the Mushroom House, which clearly seems to be observing something, and inside the house itself, a snail was crawling up the spiral staircase. One way to enjoy the park is to challenge yourself by hunting down these little tricks.
From Ikebukuro Station, it takes 45 minutes to reach Motokaji Station - the closest station to Akebono Children’s Forest Park - via the Seibu Ikebukuro Line, and another 20 minutes to walk to the park from Motokaji Station. It might seem a little far, but the route to the park is quite scenic, so you can head towards your destination while enjoying the green environment and the river.
There are some rules at Akebono Children's Forest Park. Take off your shoes inside the buildings. Shoe racks are available for you to use. Also, while you can eat outdoors, food and drink are not allowed in the rooms, and smoking is prohibited. Please cooperate to keep the buildings clean. Do not forget to treat the plants, trees and wildlife with care. Various animals appear since it is a natural park, and all visitors must abide by the rules so as to avoid harming nature. Let’s respect the rules so that we can all enjoy a pleasant time at the park!