Trip Report: Arakawa Park, Tokyo

 One of the small amusement parks in Tokyo with a roller coaster is Arakawa Park. Getting there involves taking a streetcar (the only true streetcar left in Tokyo). Then, walk through this sign (the pink letters say Arakawa Park Entrance). You'll stroll a couple blocks down a wide sidewalk to get to the actual park entrance.
 There's a public pool and small water park on the way. I visited in January, so the outside was drained.
 Eventually, you come to an old streetcar. I'm not sure, but I get the feeling this might be open sometimes for exploring.
 Across from the streetcar is the entrance to Arakawa Park!
 This building was quite nice-looking. I don't know what is inside; I'd guess it has park offices.
 The one and only coaster, a small kids coaster, is visible straight ahead.
 There's a small Ferris wheel next to the coaster, and a handful of other attractions in the park.
 This building is both a train station for the mini-train and the station for the elevated pedal ride that takes you around the park.
 A large portion of the park is a zoo full of farm animals. You can feed the goats.
 This cow seemed lonely and hungry. It was licking the fence. There are several cages or pens, each housing a few animals. There's also a large bird cage that you can enter, and I think you can feed birds.
 You might be able to spot the train behind the fence.
 Monkeys! They were pretty fun to watch as they ran around the cage, playing with each other or sometimes fighting a bit.
 I took a walk around the park and saw just a couple more rides. Here's the tea cups.
 There's a real, full-size river behind the park, but they've placed a small pond and stream inside the gates too.
 The back corner has a fishing pond! I think you can take home whatever you catch.
 I like taking pictures of Ferris wheels. I don't know why. There's the sky cycle too.
 Here's the river and an area where I suppose you can sit and relax. Perhaps you can put your feet in the water, too. It was freezing cold so I wasn't about to try. The red and yellow cubes are soft, and there are more of those scattered around this area of the park.
 Ferris wheel again, from the front.
 Here's the roller coaster. Yes, It's a caterpillar. Yes, I rode it. Yes, I banged my knee while riding the caterpillar coaster and it hurt for a couple days afterwards.
 There's a waterfall that I think is separate from the stream which has a walking path along both sides. It looks like this stream is meant to be played in.
 Flowers! Oh, there's a carousel here too.
 Is it smiling?
 I liked all the colors of the flowers, especially since it was January and most of the trees were bare.
The park is open 9:00 to 17:00 (sometimes 18:00), closed on Tuesdays. Admission is 200 yen, and rides are pretty cheap (200 yen for adults per ride, 100 yen per ride for kids). Access is via the Toden Arakawa Line streetcar; get off at Arakawayuenchimae.

Tokyo's LaQua (Tokyo Dome City) Amusement Park: It has a coaster.

 Located in the same complex as the Tokyo Dome, LaQua is an entertainment area and shopping center right in the middle of the city.
 Once you get off the street and inside the "park" itself, it's a fun, nicely landscaped area with several rides.
 The park used to have several coasters, but the only one remaining today is Thunder Dolphin. It was really good! I went on a Monday in early January and crowds were quite light. Unfortunately, the coaster closed within an hour or so of my arrival due to high winds, but I was able to get about five rides in before that time.
 The park has a large Ferris wheel in addition to several other rides, many of which are indoors.
 Located in the basement of one of the buildings, there's a Spider-Man style ride through Tokyo.
 Your vehicle is supposed to take you to Akihabara or some other random part of Japan (Hakone tour, anyone?) but it gets hijacked or something like that, and you fly recklessly through the town. It's pretty fun.
 The land that currently includes LaQua and Tokyo Dome has had an amusement park and baseball stadium for decades; Korakuen Stadium was formerly on the site of Tokyo Dome, and the old amusement park was where Parachuteland is now. That portion of the park is "upstairs" and holds a few small rides.
 There's a little spinny ride, as seen above, plus a classic parachute ride. This, too, was closed due to winds (to the park's credit it was pretty windy, though I'm sure the coaster could have probably ran fine), but I've seen it operating and this one's passengers are standing; the only other one I've seen was the Great Gasp at Six Flags Over Georgia, and that had seats.
 Parachuteland has a small shrine, a little statue located off a small path.
 I took a ride on the Ferris wheel, the one ride at almost every park that never seems to close. SkyTree is quite visible standing high above its surrounding buildings.
 There's Tokyo Dome. It was difficult to get a photo due to the sun shining directly into the cabin; the windows are very scratchy which makes taking a clear photo absolutely impossible. I've had to clean up all of these photos.
 Here is another view of Thunder Dolphin, with its first drop. All of the coasters at the park were closed for over two years and as I mentioned before, the others have been removed. I thought this, too, would remain closed and possibly be moved to another park or scrapped.
 It weaves around behind the mall before going through a hole in the building.
 From there it's a long drop back down and some additional drops, turns, and a purposefully wobbly portion of track that I thought was quite fun. The park also has a shooting dark ride and other rides that are designed for children or the whole family. Coaster fans will head to the park for Thunder Dolphin, and families in the area can certainly enjoy the park. It's a good place to make a full afternoon and night - lunch at one of the restaurants or cafes, rides in the afternoon, and a Yomiuri Giants baseball game in the evening. But for those looking for a full day of fun at an amusement park, Toshimaen and Hanayashiki might be better options.
The attractions are open 10:00 to 21:00, and admission to the park is free. However, rides have charges, and a day pass is 3800 yen. Several lines access LaQua and the Tokyo Dome: JR Sobu-Chuo and Mita subway lines: Suidobashi Station; Marunouchi and Namboku subway lines: Korakuen Station; Oedo Line: Kasuga Station.

Tokyo's Other Other Train Museum: The Tobu Museum (Tobu Hakubutsukan)

As of early last year, there were over 20 medium and large-sized train museums in Japan; three of those are in Tokyo. No train museum in Japan compares to The Railway Museum. But the Tokyo Metro Museum and Tobu Museum both hold their own and offer something unique.
 No train museum is complete without trains, and two are parked right outside the building. This is the cab section of a train built in 1960...
 Behind it is a tram car from the Nikko Tramway. The Tramway ran from Nikko to Umagaeshi (Umamichi), about 6 miles away, until the late 1960s. The Tobu Kinagawa line probably runs the same or a similar route.
 Once you go inside, you see one of two steam engines the museum has to offer, the #5 built in 1898.
 Next to it is an electric rail car. You can go inside.
 The interior is beautiful wood, and you can see the operator's area up close. Unlike modern cars, which are almost soundproof between the two areas, it's very exposed to the passengers.
 The long car has nice seats, too!
 Those handles look a little modern. I love the lighting though!
 An example of the luxury compartments for the limited express trains is on display.
 They're quite spacious and comfortable, seating four with a table as well. Not a bad subliminal advertisement!
 There are several simulators scattered around the museum. Here, you can operate a real train in a somewhat realistic setup using video. The catch here is that you're operating real model trains on the layout in front.
 Across from the simulator and model trains is some equipment like signals and small maintenance cars.
 Here's a view of the model. There are lots of tracks, but not much theming.
 Here's another simulator, with a large video display.
 An old Tobu bus is parked inside, a pretty rare sight in Japan for some reason. Trains get lots of love but buses seem to be mostly ignored. I guess the same is true in America, although I've seen a few buses in museums.
 Here's the front. The somewhat-middle door and strange layout doesn't make this too practical of a bus for heavy boarding and alighting like a city line would see.
 There's a single cable car, too, which can be boarded.
 An old locomotive.
 Lots of signage.
 Do you remember the trains from outside the museum? You can board them by going up the stairs.
 The Kegon train car is cut in half, of course, but you can still get an idea of the inside.
 Here's another simulator, between the two train car entrances.
 The tramway car is full-sized with nice wooden walls. You don't see pivoting cars on most trains in Japan, because they have dedicated track space.
 There's a second model train setup at the back of the museum, with a more realistic layout.
 Here it is from above; you can see it from a balcony on the upper floor.
 It's fun to watch the trains go around the track and make their way in and out of tunnels.
 There's a train station too, with ticket machines and a window.
 Here are the ticket machines from the inside.
 The window from the inside.
 That's a pretty complex machine. I wonder how it works.
 Inside the station office there are some display cases with old tickets...
 And plenty of souvenir tickets.
 An old gate is there to pass through, although it's always open.
 If you head upstairs, you can get right next to the Tobu line tracks to watch trains go by from below. There is a piece of glass there to protect you.
 The upstairs section doesn't have too much, but there are some display cases and this side of a train car. Going through the door in the middle leads to a special exhibition room; there's another special exhibition room in the back of the station with rotating exhibits.
 Here's the bus, cable car, and the old engine from above.
 And the luxury compartment is in that box towards the middle.
 There's a small courtyard between the luxury compartment and the bus, with two more train cars.
 This one is designed for long distance travel, with doors only at the front and back of the car. Most train cars have three or four doors; some have five (which is about half of the length of the car). There are trains similar to this still operating on the Tobu SkyTree line, usually as express trains with distant destinations.
 The operator's cab of another electric locomotive.
Cutouts allow visitors to see some of the inner workings. I don't think they use electric locomotives anymore, because most the train cars themselves have their own motors.

The Tobu Museum was larger than expected and pretty fun! I spent about two hours getting through the whole place; the Tokyo Metro Museum only took about an hour.

Open from 10:00-16:30, except Mondays, the museum admission is 200 yen. It's located directly beneath Higashi Mukojima Station on the Tobu SkyTree line. Note that not all trains stop at the station. Most times you'll need a local train. If the giant Railway Museum in Saitama is going to be too much for your family, this is a great alternative, and those who love trains should plan on stopping here as well.

It's possible to do all three train museums in one day, but note that railway museum in Saitama is very large and three train museums could be train overkill.