- 3 min read

Ehime Children’s Playground is a riot!

Ehime Children’s Playground sits on a forested hill-top south of Matsuyama next to the Ehime Prefectural Sports Complex and Tobe Zoo. The name of the complex in Japanese is Kodomo no Shiro which translates as ‘the children’s castle’. But this kiddies’ castle is quite unlike the ones you’re accustomed to.

The Ehime Children’s Playground has a main building, the ‘castle’, and an expanse of grounds. You can see the ‘castle’ outlined against the sky from miles away as you approach, but it looks more like a power station than a castle of any sort. It appears to have four large chimneys – it’s very mysterious.

Apart from the 300 yen parking, entry to the Playground is free. A plaza of sorts leads up to the main building and when you pass through the doors, you’re faced with a giant blue, yellow and green … reactor. It is a power station after all! But no, this is one of those giant climbing frames that make me wish I was still a child. It extends for three floors, with myriad passages, entryways and exits. When you finally emerge at the top of the building, the views are stunning, over Matsuyama on one side and the park on the other. The chimneys of this power station hold more eccentric play areas that are guaranteed to capture the hearts of children, from age 3 to about 40-something.

The top deck of this building leads onto a hill. At the top there are more funnables, including an elevated track with pedal-driven trains. You can also rent 4-wheeled bikes and protective gear for tooling around a course. To get back down, you can walk, or take a ladybird-shaped funicular railway. Or a bobsled. I chose to take the sled, and I must say, the officious old man in charge nearly managed to take the fun out of it. He got cross with me for taking a photo while he was droning on, and his insistence about clutching the brake scared one little girl into giving up. It wasn’t that fast anyway. Kids, let’s not pay too much attention to him.

Down at the bottom, there’s a lake with paddle boats in the shape of swans and pandas (“I want to go in a panda – bwaaaah!”), and a spongy bra-shaped trampoline type thing. Children were bouncing, sliding and rolling all over it in fits of ecstasy. I could barely restrain myself from getting on it too.

Although entry to the park is free, the little ones will not tend to be happy with parents who aren’t prepared to fork out 100 yen for this and 300 yen for that. Unless you run a very tight family ship, be prepared to be nickel and dimed to a fair extent. That said, there’s plenty of fun to be had for nothing but the expenditure of youthful energy.

A visit here makes a good follow-up to the zoo, with a picnic in between.

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Nate Hill 12 years ago
This sounds like a really fun place! Definitely need to make a family trip up there sometime. Thanks for sharing.

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