A Day of Family Fun at Asutamu Land
Asutamu Land is Tokushima’s prime amusement park. With over 24 hectares and numerous “zones” for play in the premises, the family-friendly fun is virtually endless. The core of the park, the Children’s Science Museum, not only purports itself as a place for learning but also fosters the spirit of science through play and hands-on experience – hence the park’s name, a portmanteau of asu (tomorrow) and tamu (dream). Yet the park has something for everyone: The credo of Asutamu, situated near the Yoshino River and the coast of the Seto Inland Sea, enveloped in forest, is at the crossroads of “water,” “greenery” and “light.”
Each of the six zones corresponds to one of these elements, making the park perfect for nature lovers. Welcome Garden, part of the greenery element, is a reception space with plots of seasonal flowers and an English-style garden at the center. While admission is free of charge, some zones and activities require a fee, like the Yoshino River Course, a boat ride inspired by the natural Tokushima terrain. You’ll run into many playful raccoon dogs as you “journey through” mountain streams and whirlpools (inspired by the magical marine phenomena off the coast of Naruto). Adventure Land is also full of excitement, with nature-inspired playground equipment sure to delight kids: mountainous mazes, water fountains for play in warm weather and more.
Windmill Hill is perfect for a relaxing moment. The flowering hill has stunning views of the Yoshino River proper, and in the meadow stands a windmill inspired by France’s La Basse-Seine Ecomuseum.
Science education is Asutamu’s biggest draw, especially the Children’s Science Museum, which has over 120 installations. With “Harmony Between Science and Technology and the Natural Environment” as a central motto, the exhibition revolves around three topics: space and earth; life and the environment; and science, technology and humanity. As well as some fascinating presentations, there are several mobile and experimental devices and opportunities for experiment to make the teaching come to life. Two free live shows take place daily, at 11am and 2pm, and their theme changes every month. Each show is 20 minutes and is free of charge.
The 50-minute planetarium shows attract many adults as well, making Asutamu a popular date destination. Boasting the world’s brightest projector, the planetarium offers views of around 38,000 stars across its 20-meter-long dome. You feel as if you’ve entered right into space, as you are told the stories of the various constellations during the four seasons. You can also catch shows on the dinosaurs and even aliens. (For those who missed the fireworks this summer, the planetarium show “Hanabirium,” ending December 30, 2020, highlighted the history of fireworks in Japan – and a display of 5,000 fireworks from the perspective of a firework artist).
In keeping with Asutamu’s kinship with nature, certain zones flourish in different seasons: In the spring, for example, Windmill Hill comes to bloom; and in the winter there are the classic Holiday illuminations, the largest such display in the prefecture with a 10-meter-high tree, wall projections and more. This year the design theme is Northern Europe, but other ideas percolate in the light show. The base color of the illuminations is white, to express solidarity – the nationwide affirmation of “With Corona” – in the current age. The blue highlights represent a token of appreciation for medical workers.
On weekends, a bus from Tokushima Station to Asutamu Land runs roughly hourly, but on weekdays it is recommended that you take a taxi from Itano Station (a 10-minute ride) as buses are relatively few. There is also a large parking lot for those traveling by car.
No matter when you visit Asutamu Land, the parks theme and events will promote culture, education and family togetherness.
When: 9:30–5pm, closed Wed
Where: 45-22 Kibigadani, Nato, Itano-cho, Itano-gun, Tokushima Prefecture
More info: http://www.asutamuland.jp