Friday, September 9, 2011

Sylvanian Travels - JAPAN (Part Three)

Hello Everyone! On this edition of Sylvanian Travels, we'll be traveling to Sylvanian Families Theme Park in Japan. Opened in 2004 to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Sylvanian Families, the theme park is located in at the slopes of Mount Fuji near the town of Gotemba in Shizuoka prefecture, which is about an hour from Tokyo.


The scenic views from the bus!

While most people travel to Gotemba via the trains, a lesser known way to travel is by the bus. At 2900円 for both ways from Tokyo, the buses - run by the Odakyu Group is probably the cheapest way to travel to Gotemba. Tickets can be bought on the first floor of the Odakyu Department Store in Tokyo and the first bus leaves at 0700hrs from Shinjuku Station with subsequent buses leaving at half-an-hour intervals.

However, just a word of caution, do brace yourself for the typical evening rush-hour jam to Tokyo on the journey back!

Whatever the way to Gotemba, your ride will stop at the JR Gotemba Train Station. Here you can buy tickets to Grinpa, tickets cost 3600円 which also cover the 2280円 bus fare to and fro from Gotemba Station to the Theme Park.

A very important point to take note is, that outside the Summer period (July 17 to August 31) and during the Obon Festival, there is only ONE bus to and fro between Gotemba Station and Grinpa, leaving at 9.35am and arriving at 10.24am.* So it is very important that you make travel arrangements that will get you into Gotemba before 9am.

*There is a second bus arriving at 4.09pm, however the last bus leaving Grinpa leaves at 4.37pm.

Bus No. 4 goes to Grinpa Theme Park, home to the Sylvanian Families Theme Park!

Another potential pitfall is that only the 9.35 Bus 4 from Gotemba goes to Grinpa. Any subsequent Bus 4 before or after does not go to Grinpa and instead goes on a round trip around Gotemba town. Yours truly had to learn the hard way :(

Once you're on the bus, do keep a look-out for the lush mountain greenery that adorn the route, you won't be disappointed!

Breathtaking, don't you think?


The Old Mill

Once in Grinpa, there are just loads to see and do. Depending on the seasons, various activities are always on offer, from Children rides in the Summer to Ice Skating in the late-Autumn and Winter. However, if these aren't really your thing, do visit the life-size models of Sylvanian houses, each filled with life-size furniture from actual Sylvanian sets :) And of course, what would be a Sylvanian theme park be without Sylvanians? Dotted around the theme park are many Sylvanians going around their "daily activities", do take a picture or two with them!

Admission to most of these attractions are free of charge, just remember to flash your ticket before entering!

The Town Square.

Dennis Huckleberry taking a little snooze!

The Chocolate Rabbits having a picnic by the hills!

The House on the Hill

Can you identify some of the Sylvanian furniture here?

The Woodland Lodge

The Sylvanian Kitchen

Today's Special!

And if you're hungry, do take time out to have a bite at theme park's two eating outlets. The Sylvanian Kitchen as mentioned in a previous post features fusion Japanese-Western cuisine, with a variety kiddy set meals on offer for Junior. The Bakery, located near the park's entrance features the all sorts of pastries and buns you would find in a typical Japanese bakery such Melon bread or Melon-pan(メロンパン) and Bread-crumbed sausage rolls.

A third eating outlet, the Cottonail Rabbit's Cafe is open during the Summer and features crepes and other cakes. Do set aside at least 1500円 per person for food :)

The Sylvanian Bakery!

Well, that's it for this edition of Sylvanian Travels. In our segment, we'll explore more of the theme park including the Sylvanian Museum and Sylvanian Market!

External Links:
Official Site of the Sylvanian Families Theme Park
Grinpa Theme Park Site - For making travel arrangements!