Boot camp Tarzan
In our childhood Tarzan was the king of the jungles, swinging in at the right time to rescue a poor someone in trouble and then swinging back from one tree to the other back deep into the jungles. But to be like Tarzan one had to be in the African jungle, lost as a child, to be precise. The options were thus limited. But in today’s world kids have more options. So if some wannabe Tarzan is there in your house, why not he can hone his skills in Heiwa no mori koen….?
At a 30 minute journey away from Shinjuku, this sizable park is different from its peers in its sheer focus on rope and log based fitness tricks. Perhaps seen more usually in Ninja classics, these contraptions in the form of a rope ladder going up and down and/or around a set of stilts call for considerable physical agility and fitness. And there lies the charm of this place for the young ones.
The actual park is segregated into two sections, one with a water park for kids, a few slides and carousel type standard park sets. There is also a wide grass field for playing soccer etc. The other is the ninja area, separated by a road from its more benign sister.
A low entry ticket entitles you to a map cum logbook to mark which all rides that are completed. Arranged in a marked sequence of rides there are 40, yes f-o-r-t-y individual pieces of challenge. It starts with a relatively simple walk, balancing on a few logs held at an elevated height. It is then followed by one where you jump up and hang onto a series of rings trying to cross over. Next, you ride up the side of a well and jump onto the center rope wriggling down to the floor.
Now the rides more and more approach into Ninja territory. After the previous few warm ups, the ninja is next challenged to try out his balance skills. The rides here switch to a set of logs floating on watery channel. Participants have to jump from one log to another to cross the channel while making sure not to fall into the water.
But it’s not left just at that. To complete the fun, at some points one has to jump into a rope and swing ones way across the channel. At another point row across standing on a flat wooden plank pushing an oar.
The route takes one up a climbing wall, into a tree house type platform, and through a curved pipe onto a swinging rope bridge. A few rides take the rope walking to its extreme, carving out challenges that make the little ninjas ever more determined to do it.
At each point there is a pencil with which the successful rider marks on his map his conquest. The entire 40 rides can comfortably cover a good two hours, or three. At the end there is a bathing and changing room to allow the participants change into a cleaner pair of dresses as one is highly likely to have a muddy wet pair on. If this is not fun then what else, eh?