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Kids’ map highlights play spots in Japan

A nonprofit group based in Kokubunji, Tokyo, has produced a map of their area pinpointing places where parents can take their youngsters to play.

The map presents Kokubunji and its chief sites as a child might see it. It features good places for family strolls, places where one might find small animals or wild berries and nuts, and other locations where there are relatively safe bodies of water.

Mariko Sumi, the chief administrator of Kokubunji Adventure Playground Organization, said she hoped caregivers using the map would meet new friends at the locations it marks.

Most of the organization’s 150 members are young mothers.

The Kokubunji municipal government gave the group a playground in the city called “Kokubunji Play Station,” where children can climb trees, play with mud and make takibi, small open-air fires often used to bake sweet potatoes.

Thirty women of the group spent two years researching on foot the 190 locations that appear on the map.

The map also features drawings and notes on locations including, “Beware of the cat that lives here,” “You can see trains at close range from the municipally owned housing areas” and “You can run about as much as you want on this hill because the ground is soft.”

Descriptions of plants and insects found in the locations, tips for mothers and lists of volunteer day-care groups and children’s libraries are also included on the map.

One tip to mothers of small children advises, “Occasionally, set aside one whole day for your kids and adjust yourself to their time flow, even if you have to sacrifice your cooking time.”

The map costs 300 yen