Are you travelling to Himeji Japan with your kids? Do you live in western Japan and are looking for baby friendly activities to go on a weekend? Here are some of the best places to go to!
4 BEST activities in Himeji to enjoy with kids
1. Himeji Central Park
Himeji Central Park is one of the two Safari parks in Kansai area (the other one is in Wakayama). You can drive your own car or use the Safari Bus through the park and meet lions and elephants and other large animals up close. There are also kids touching zoo, gondola for great view, and a walking zone where you can walk on foot to see the animals.
If you have a whole day to spend, I recommend you go to the amusement park area too. During the summer, the pool opens and also fireworks at night. The pool area has water slides, kids pool, flowing pool, beach pool, and many more. During the winter, the ice skating rink opens. You can enjoy free beginners lessons every Saturday (please check website for details!)
To get to the Himeji Central Park, you can use the bus that leaves from JR Himeji station or the Himeji castle. It is about a 25 minute ride.
- Name: Himeji Central Park
- Address: 1434 Toyotomicho Kodani, Himeji 679-2121
- Opening hours: Depends on day. Please check website carefully.
- Tickets (at the door): Adults 3,500 yen / Child 2,000 yen / Infant 1,000 yen (for All-in-One ticket that includes Safari, Amusement park, pool (summer only) and skating rink (winter only)
- Website: https://www.central-park.co.jp/en
2. Himeji City Aquarium
The Himeji City Aquarium is unique in that it is near the mountains, instead of by the ocean. The building renewed in 2011 so everything is very clean. It is not a very big aquarium like the ones in Osaka or Kobe, but it is popular among local people because it is quiet and a perfect place to go for a walk with kids.
This aquarium does not have large marine mammals like dolphins or seals. Instead, they have a very good collection of local freshwater and marine animals. You can see unique amphibians like the giant salamander.
There are many hands on displays that small kids can enjoy too. During the warm seasons, I recommend the “rooftop biotope” where kids can go into the pond with live freshwater fish.
The aquarium is accessible by train or bus. Note there are no restaurants or food shops inside the aquarium, but you can bring food to eat from outside.
- Name: Himeji City Aquarium
- Address: 440 Nishi-nobusue, Himeji 670-0971 (inside Tegarayama Chuo Park)
- Opening hours: 9:00 – 17:00 (Final entrance at 16:30)
- Tickets (at the door): Adults 510 yen / Children 200 yen
- Website: http://www.city.himeji.lg.jp/aqua/index.html
3. Himeji City Science Museum
Just like the Himeji City Aquarium, the Science Museum is not the biggest one in Japan but it is small and loved by the local people. The museum has very nice planetarium and also dinosaur fossils, lots of hands on displays, and a discovery corner for little children. Many moms in Himeji say it is a perfect place to take the kids on a rainy day!
There is a small cafe that is open on weekends and holidays (and also on days when schools are closed) only. You can bring your own lunch to eat, or eat at the “Hoshinoko Yakata” （星の子館）, a kids play center next to the Science Museum. Reentry to the Science Museum is allowed within the same day. Note that the cafe at the Science Museum and Hoshinoko Yakata are both only open from 11:30 to 14:30 (14:00 last order).
To get there, there is a bus from Himeji Station and is about a 20 minute ride. If you have a car, there is a free parking lot for 70 cars. If you decide to take a taxi, you can get there in about 3,000 yen from Himeji Station.
- Name: Himeji City Science Museum
- Address: 1470-15 Aoyama, Himeji 671-2222
- Opening hours: 9:30 – 17:00 (Final entrance at 16:30)
- Tickets (at the door): Exhibition hall- Adults 500 yen / Children 200 yen
- Website: http://www.city.himeji.lg.jp/atom/ (English pamphlet: http://www.city.himeji.lg.jp/atom/topimage/pamphlet_en.pdf)
4. Hoshinoko Yakata
Hoshinoko Yakata (Hoshinoko 星の子 means children of the stars, and Yakata 館 means hall or small castle) is a public facility that has family accommodation, kids library, lots of play rooms, restaurants, and rooftop telescope, and educational astronomy room. It is made for families and kids, but anyone is welcome.
The best part about this facility is that the entrance fee is free! The accommodation and some special programs will cost fees, but you can enjoy most of the other fun areas for no cost.
What’s special about the accommodation is that you can enjoy the huge rooftop telescope at night. Also, you can use the play room, table tennis and library until 21:00. Family reservation starts from 6 months before the night of the stay. Groups with only adults (and no kids) an also use the accommodation, but can only reserve a room from 1 month before the actual day. Surprisingly, this building was created by the world-famous architect, Tadao Ando!
The Hoshinoko Yakata is right by the Himeji City Science Museum, so I recommend you go to both of them if you are visiting this area!
- Name: Hoshinoko Yakata
- Address: 1470-24 Aoyama, Himeji 671-2222
- Opening hours: 9:30 – 17:00
- Tickets (at the door): Free (accommodation and some programs will cost)
- Website: https://ssl.himeji-hoshinoko.jp/