by Samantha Cairney

Keio Tama Centre boasts a number of places to see but I was drawn to one in particular. Whoever said “Never work with children and/or animals” obviously wasn’t employed at Wan Nyan World located near the Keio Tama Center. “Wan Nyan” translated into English means “Woof Meow” and that’s exactly what it is! A world inhabited by 320 furry residents woofing and meowing in unison, waiting to be pampered to near death by you and yours. A grandiose petting park lodged in a multicolored complex guaranteed to catch the eyes of anyone within a ten kilometer distance!

The entrance houses a store complete with any item required for that special pooch or feline in your life, ranging from creme de la cuisine snackies, doggy dental floss, up to this year’s hottest Halloween outfits to parade your beastie up and down Ginza in. Cruising quickly past all the cute cuddly toys which were actually for the animals to play with but try telling that to a couple of three year olds… bursting out into the sunlight we were greeted by the sight of dogs… dogs and even more, yes you’ve got it… dogs. Elated by the sight of this doggy heaven, my two little ones shed their own harnesses with a deftness defying their tender years and warped 10 (on the Star Trek scale that is) off into one of the first petting enclosures. I was very impressed with how clean and hygienic the areas were. Hand washing facilities were abundant to ensure no infectious diseases were passed onto the animals. A wide variety of species, all shapes and sizes, some adorned in better garb than I, all very eager to receive a bit of tender loving care.

The Cat Mansion where you can sit for as long as you like with a purring feline looking adoringly into your eyes, kept my two entertained for quite a while. If you like your canines in small sizes check out the Mini Corner or the Baby Room. For the more active and/or adventurous, for an extra fee you can take a dog for a walk on a specially prepared circuit designed to keep you and your furry companion on the tip of your toes. If you’d rather watch others being kept on the tip of their toes, dog shows are held twice a day, at 1pm and 4pm weekdays, and three times a day on weekends. There is also a Doggie Olympics at weekends.

Different events are held throughout the year and details are available from the web page. Of course, eating holes for both canines and humans are provided but with separate crockery and cutlery.

When you have had enough and never want to see another episode of Lassie ever again but the kids are still squealing for more, head over to salvation, which in this case takes the form of a small ball house. Just look out for all the parents slouched in a zombie like state on chairs with what sounds like a chimpanzee zoo gone amok located behind their inert forms. It’s free and guaranteed to let off some of that energy that kids seem to have abundant supplies of! If you have ¥300 rattling around in your pocket, burning a hole, let them bounce it off on the Fura Fura bouncy dog attraction. (Under age three is free.)

Wan Nyan World is a seven minute walk from the station through Tama Central Park. A beautiful place with wide, sloping grassy areas surrounding a pond. Perfect for a picnic before or after visiting Wan Nyan World. Or…if the mood so takes you (and you have to grab it when that rare opportunity arises) and God has shown mercy and your wee one is conked out in the stroller… perfect for a mummy and daddy romantic interlude after another hectic but fun day.

Baby changing facilities are available. The Center is pram friendly. Junior High school students and over ¥800 weekdays. ¥1,200 weekends and public holidays. Weekdays 10:30am– 5pm. Weekends 10am–5pm. Last entrance 4:30pm.Some activities cost extra.

Keio-tama-center Station on Keio Line. Odakyutama-center on Odakyu Line., [email protected]. Tel. 042-311-0020.