Fairy Tale Day Trip – Hans Christian Andersen Park Funabashi Japan

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HC Andersen Park Funabashi — it may not be the first place you’d think to look for fairy tales come to life, but Hans Christian Andersen Park east of Tokyo is a fantastic day out for families in Japan. 

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Hans Christian Andersen Park Funabashi Japan

As part of my bi-monthly column for the Japan Times newspaper, this month I wrote about the Hans Christian Andersen Park Funabashi, a beautiful patch of green that makes for a great day trip from Tokyo. HC Andersen Park Funabashi honors the Danish master of children’s literature with a beautifully manicured mark with great playgrounds and more. 

To be clear: most of my Japan tips on this blog are for for travelers and Japan residents alike. However, my column in the Japan Times leans more towards those living in Japan, although any parent can make use of it. This article on HC Andersen Park Funabashi? That’s for you to judge. If you’re visiting Japan with limited time, then maybe give it a pass. After all, Han Christian Andersen Park isn’t really a quintessentially Japanese experience, and you’re in Japan for that, am I right. On the other hand, if you’re in Japan with kids long-term and looking for a great day out, then Hans Christian Andersen Park Funabashi may be just the right place for you. Looking for more day trips from Tokyo, I have some tips for you as well. 

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Here’s an excerpt on Hans Christian Andersen Park Funabashi from my Child’s Play column in the Japan Times:

Hans Christian Andersen Park in Japan

‘Thumbelina,” “The Little Mermaid,” “The Ugly Duckling” — I remember these books from my childhood. Then, decades later, I remember reading them to my own kids. They are just a few of the most famous works of Hans Christian Andersen (1805-75), the prolific Danish author whose work has a permanent place in Western culture. Andersen has firm footholds into the East as well. Perhaps the most resplendent of these attractions can be found east of Tokyo.

In H.C. Andersen Park Funabashi, in Chiba Prefecture, Denmark’s most celebrated writer lives on for Japanese of all ages. Here you’ll find playgrounds, workshops and impressive recreations of Danish village life. You’ll also find rolling hills and gardens that are beautiful year-round. Funabashi is a sister city of Odense, the Danish city where Hans Christian Andersen was born, and the park honors him well.

Andersen Park Zones

Hans Christian Andersen Park Funabashi is divided into five main zones, all accessible for ¥900 for adults and ¥100 to ¥600 for kids (under 3’s can enter for free). Most people enter by the North Gate, which is good because you can walk straight into the Wanpaku Kingdom Park Zone, where most little ones will want to be anyway. Kids run wild over a wide variety of playground areas here. Our kids love obstacle courses, and Wanpaku Kingdom has some of the largest in the country. These include tunnels, ropeways, and balance beams, as well as other opportunities to test their mettle. Most primary school-aged children handle these without supervision, but if there are stubborn younger siblings who want to join in, then I’d suggest giving them a helping hand.

That said, it’s possible that younger ones will migrate to other activities. For example, the Wanpaku Ball Island, filled with balance balls, provides a more forgiving landing after a fall. Then there’s the mini water park, where kids of all ages can cool off in shallow paddling pools. Parents may be happy to know that the water areas remain open both before and after the school summer holidays.

Animals at Hans Christian Andersen Park Funabashi

Perhaps even more popular is the pony and petting zoo area. Here, kids can go for a short pony ride or mingle with a few gregarious goats and other barnyard pals. Just don’t carry in snacks or anything that looks edible — these goats will have no qualms about removing food from you or your child. To the west is a small a pond and boathouse with rowboats for rent.

It would be easy to stay in this area for the entire day. And many do, as you’ll see by the rainbow of colored sun tents that regular visitors pitch early in the day. However, those who make time to explore other regions of the park will be rewarded.

Read the entire column at the Japan Times

Have You Been to Japan’s HC Andersen Park? 

windmill - HC andersen park in Japan

What season did you visit? What flowers were in bloom? How did you get there, and would you recommend your route. Andersen Park Funabashi isn’t the easiest to reach from Tokyo by public transportation, so would love your insight on the easiest route. Did you know that there was a Hans Christian Andersen Park in China as well? Quite different from the pictures I’ve seen, I’ll say. 

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Disclosure: This post may contains affiliate links. This means, at no extra cost to you, we might receive a small commission if you make a purchase or book any hotels in Japan using those links. My opinions are my own and I only recommend places/services that I believe will genuinely help my readers. If you have tips that could make this post on HC Andersen Park Funabashi better, then please let us know. 

Image credits: All images provided by HC Andersen Park

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