Tucked away in the southwest corner of the rolling hills in Yokosuka City is Le Soleil (or Soleil Nooka Park), a French inspired amusement park great for children or adults alike. The park boasts a variety of activities such as a petting zoo, harvesting of seasonal vegetables and fruits, horseback riding, and foot onsen baths. At only ￥1,000 for an all-day parking pass per vehicle, a trip to Le Soleil is a delightful one-day getaway especially if you live in the Miura Peninsula.
From Yokosuka, the drive is fairly fast and simple. It is about a 25-minute ride on the Yokohama-Yokosuka Road (Yokosuka -> Kinugasa exit -> Miura Jukan Rd for ￥750 in tolls). By train, the nearest station is Misakiguchi, but you'll need to take a taxi or determine best bus route to Le Soleil. From Urushiyama bus top, it is about a 650 meter walk.
The park has one restaurant onsite, but we decided to pick up some snacks from the local convenience store. Whether you decide on bringing a picnic basket filled with homemade sandwiches, cheese and wine, or a Lawson’s grab-n-go meal, Le Soleil offers great picnic areas. Find some shade underneath the large amphitheatre or enjoy the sunshine from the sprawling lawn areas.
Le Soleil’s main entrance is quite charming. It immediately takes you to a world of curiosity with the roar of children’s laughter in the air, kites flying, and couples passing time throwing Frisbees. The flower gardens and greenhouses of fruits and vegetables will welcome you along the path to the top where all the excitement really begins. You’ll be amazed with how much space the park encompasses and at times, seems never-ending.
School-age children will love the jungle gym area with tube slides and the ever so popular zip line. A tricycle track is available for tots, while a motorized go-cart track is open to adults accompanying their small children. Both tracks run along the man-made lake where you can enjoy paddle boating in the large swans. But, yet there’s more! A large sledding slope, a choo-choo train around the park, archery, and the best vanilla ice cream on earth! Bring enough yen to cover the minimal cost of each ride at ￥200 to ¥700.
The next section of the park, The Ranch, is my favorite. You can interact with the animals by petting and feeding them, milking cows, and standing side by side with the horses. The park rangers provide sliced carrots in a cup to feed the horses at ￥100. You can also visit the stables to take a peek at their sleeping quarters and view birth announcements posted on the walls.
A short walk up from The Ranch is a nice retreat from everything. Here you will find seven foot onsens, or splash pools depending on the age you are, accented by comfortable park benches. The wooden footbridge that suspends just before the watchtower provides a picturesque view while relaxing in the sun.
As you plan your visit, keep in mind the nature of the park transforms as seasons change. Mid March offers a nice ocean breeze with blooming flowers and weathered trees, while the month of July brings heat, humidity and lush greenery. At any rate, I’m sure you’ll have a great time with family, friends or special someone.