Who will win out between a giant Ultraman and Thomas the Tank Engine at Kispa La Park Kishiwada (Photo: Bonson Lam)

Kiddyland at Kishiwada

It's child's play at La Park Kispa

Who will win out between a giant Ultraman and Thomas the Tank Engine at Kispa La Park Kishiwada (Photo: Bonson Lam)
Bonson Lam   - 3 min read

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a bus driver when I grew up. I would use the round Danish cookie tin lid as the steering wheel and pretend that the bunk bed was a bus. I would know every bus route in the city, much to my dad’s annoyance who would’ve preferred me to study the multiplication tables rather than the bus timetable.

Now that I have found the indoor amusement park at Playland 373, I don’t need to use a cookie tin lid as a steering wheel again. They have ride on trains and other vehicles, like rabbit buses. I can bring my friends here and we can all enjoy play acting and go back to the charm of childhood in a clean, safe, all weather environment. I can imagine children having hours of fun here, there are also table hockey sets, funky play photo machines, and the hard to resist Sesame Street “UFO Catcher 7” toy remote control crane game, where you can try endlessly to catch that elusive mini Elmo or Cookie Monster puppet or doll.

If on the other hand, you want to ride Anpanman or get a few of your friends on the interactive shark machine, you can do that too! Then again you can try the drumming games with funky music, though it would be slightly annoying if you were to hear the same tune for the fiftieth time. Kind of like the scene in “Lost in Translation” when the cool teenager tries to look good in front of his girlfriend.

Long time ago, in most department stores, there is a children’s play center, often on the rooftop level. They would have mini merry go rounds and lots of other safe fairyland like rides, all dressed up in kindergarten friendly yellows and pastel greens. These days they are a lot harder to find, and if you are trying to keep kids entertained on a rainy road trip, finding one can be a lifesaver where the kids can run off steam while you grab a donut or cup of coffee nearby. The La Park Kispa is just off the main road between Osaka and Kansai Airport/ Wakayama. With three floors of retail, dining and entertainment options, it is a great place to have a break, or catch up on some shopping. On the top floor there is a bowling alley, and in the same complex there is a Karaoke bar where you can sing to your heart’s content during the day for free, provided you buy a drink. Once you are done, it is a short trip to the Airport or Osaka City, approximately 25 to 30 minutes in either direction. The Car Park is also free and the Nankai Airport and Wakayama line train station at Haruki just a three minute walk away.

Bonson Lam

Bonson Lam @bonson.lam

I knew my future was destined to be with Japan the moment I flew from Sydney to experience the atmospheric laneways of Kyoto last century.  I am humbled to have met many distinguished people during this time, especially the national living treasures of Japan, such as the doll maker to the Imperia...