If you are travelling in Japan this summer you might be hearing reports that the weather is crazy hot and humid and wondering just where you can go to avoid the heat and enjoy your trip. Never fear, there are plenty of options for enjoying and experiencing the country to its fullest, even at this time of the year. One such option is to head to a water park and spend the day splashing, sliding and blissfully 'suzushii' (Japanese for cool).
For most of the year, it would be easy to visit Japan without realising many water parks even exist as the majority open only during the summer season, from July to September. Luckily for summer visitors, they do exist and are widespread. Here is an introduction to some notable water parks in most tourist areas.
Tokyo - Tokyo Summerland
As one would expect, Tokyo is home to numerous water parks each with their own highlights. Tokyo Summerland has indoor and outdoor areas, perfect for those hot, rainy days. Float along the lazy river, cool off under a waterfall or enjoy the water slides, the choice is yours. Tokyo having an early hot spell in June? Summer won't let go in September? No problem, you can still cool off at Tokyo Summerland as it is open most of the year!
Entry: options starting from Y3500 for adults, Y1800 for kids.
Nagoya - Nagashima Spa Land
With 10 different pools, 18 water slides and an attached theme park, Nagashima Spaland Resort, just out of Nagoya, in Mie prefecture is almost too much fun for one day! In the theme park, ride the Steel Dragon which holds the record for the longest roller coaster in the world and previously held records for both speed and height. The Acrobat and the newly opened Arashi are also worth lining up for. You can read more about our day at the theme park here
Entry prices: Various entry options are available and start from Y2800 per adult, Y1200 per child.
As in Tokyo, there are water parks to be found in Osaka too, but I feel it would be remiss of me not to let you know about this limited time, kill-two-birds-with-one-stone event. From July 15 until August 31, you can see Osaka Castle AND cool off in pools that will be set up in front of the castle. This attraction is open from 10:00 - 18:00 and then holds a night session, complete with projection mapping on the pool surface from 19:00-22:00. As if this is not compelling enough already, the world beer festival will be held simultaneously!
Entry Prices: from Y1900 per adult, Y1400 per child. Tickets can be booked online in advance (in Japanese), pick your time to visit wisely, I imagine it will be hugely popular.
Tattoos ok? No
Fukuoka - Uminonakamichi Seaside Park
Uminonakamichi Seaside Park will keep the whole family happy with sea views, cycling paths criss crossing the 4km length of the park, seasonal flowers, animals and the Sunshine pool it would be easy to spend a day here. There are 6 different pools with water slides, jungle gyms and even dinosaur water fountains.
Entry prices: Y410 per adult, Y80 or free for kids depending on age.
Fukui - Shibamasa World
While this does not quite fit the description of a major tourist area, Shibamasa World is worthy of a mention for the fact that it is home to the worlds highest and longest waterslides and a new attraction as of 2016, the Monster Slider. This year, the pool area is advertising a Thomas the Tank Engine theme which is sure to be popular with the kids. Located within a day trip distance of Kanazawa, there are also a handful of park rides centred around a pirate theme, kids paradise (which is inside and perfect for children too small to go on the rides), mazes, golf and even camping sites.
Entry prices: options vary slightly throughout the year but a Super Passport starts at Y3700 for adults and Y2600 for kids.