Ask any mom in Tokyo on children’s playrooms and kids’ entertainment facilities and they can tell you all about it. Which ones are located where, whether they revolve around a certain theme and catered to what age. It’s an “I’ve been there, done that” kind of thing. You can imagine, with 365 days in a year, most moms not working and an active baby/toddler that will drive you crazy if not kept entertained through play-dates and playrooms, mothers are in constant search of new places to add to their to-go-to list.
Meet Shibuya ward’s newest playroom: ‘Family Studio’ or ‘Kazoku no Atelier’. I had wanted to visit it ever since the ‘buzz’ was out: a modern, clean though smaller facility that organizes a range of creative classes for children, lifting itself a notch up above all the ‘average’ ward-run playrooms through its artsy character.
Tucked away in an unpretentious neighborhood near Minami-Shinjuku station, the place allows any Tokyo family to use its facilities. Priority however is given to Shibuya ward residents when registering for creative classes and events (these are categorized by age with different days reserved for specific age groups).
The ground floor houses the ‘salon’, a room where mothers (or dads) can mingle and socialize, while the kids under their watchful eye can play in the opposite tatami corner that is equipped with a books corner and various (wooden) toys and music instruments. You can bring your own lunch (kids’ chairs also available), while tea and water is available at any time.
The B1 room functions as a gym room, with different equipment set up for preschoolers in the mornings (9.30 – 14.00) while the afternoons are catered to elementary students and sports equipment for badminton, basketball, and billiards are rolled out (14.30 – 17.00).
The second floor houses two spaces for classes and events. The larger events room is minimally furnished with again a books corner and small play corner set up – perfect for kids that want to move/crawl/run around without being hurt and without you running after them: if only there would be a Starbucks corner set up here, I could just sit back and have my morning paper!
Overall, I find ‘kazoku no atelier’ a relaxed and laid back place to entertain my child. Best to visit in the mornings however, as not many people are around yet. At lunch time, it gets crowded in the smaller salon room, let alone the tatami corner, while elementary students fill up the place in the afternoon. Most importantly, it’s refreshing to have a new playroom around and I’ve planned on going there another two times this week - at least until a new playroom opens up again!