Weekender’s 13-year-old reporter, Katherine Whatley, visits Kidzania

Lalaport is a spacious three-storey mall with great shops including Gap, Aigle and Benetton. Located on the far corner of the third floor, Kidzania is a dream city for children. In this city the jobs are done entirely by children; you can be a member of the jury, a radio DJ, even a graphic designer and all in the space of one session which lasts five hours. Other jobs include fire fighter, nail artist, coke bottler or a pizza chef. And you know what’s even better? You get paid for working in ‘kidzos’; the official currency of Kidzania. With ‘kidzos’ you can also buy things at the department store, ride the bus, and pay to get your hair done.

Kidzania is accessible through the ‘Kidzania International Airport’ where anyone under the age of 16 gets a wristband and a traveler’s check of 50 kidzos. From then on, you become a citizen of Kidzania where you are able to do any of the 80 jobs in the stores and pavilions that line the streets of this kid-sized city. Many pavilions have waits up to one hour so keep in mind how much time each activity is going to take. Everything is two-thirds the size of the real world in Kidzania so it really is a kid-sized city.

After you have done a few jobs and earned a bit of money, I suggest going to the Mizuho Bank complete with tellers and bankcards. It is here that you can get your own bankcard that you can use to withdraw kidzos from the many ATMs scattered around this pintsized city. Even after you leave Kidzania, if you keep your bankcard, whenever you go back to Kidzania you can start right where you left off. The bankcard remains valid until you turn 16 so many kids end up with large bank accounts.

“You get paid for working, in ‘kidzos’; the official
currency of Kidzania. With ‘kidzos’ you can
also buy things at the department store, ride the
bus, and pay to get your hair done.”

I would say the prime age for this park is probably between four and twelve. Some of the pavilions have equipment that was a bit too small for a teenager like me. This does not mean that I did not have a lot of fun anyway so don’t let that discourage you from going. Kids under two cannot participate in any of the activities and kids under three cannot do the activities in most of the pavilions so it is probably not the best place for pre-schoolers.

Kids Get Jobs in Kidzania

Though Kidzania isn’t the most exciting place for parents or older siblings, my mum had a lot of fun taking pictures of us doing activities. Also, if the adults want to take a rest from the high-energy feeling of the city, they can take advantage of the parents’ lounge where they can watch TV and use the internet. Children are not allowed in the parents’ lounge so it has a much more relaxed atmosphere.

When I went, my sister was celebrating her 10th birthday with seven other energetic fourth graders. It was great for my mum because at a normal party she would have had to supervise every kid and every activity. But since Kidzania is a totally safe environment, she could just kick back and relax for the most part. Everyone really enjoyed Kidzania and I would recommend this great place to anyone under the age of 16.

For access: By car; About one kilometer away from Shuto Expressway Eda-gawa Ramp. By train; 5 minute walk from Toyosu Station on the Yurakucho Line and the Yurikamome Line.
Ages: 2–15 years. Cost: 2–3 years ¥1,575, 14–15 years ¥3,150, 16+ ¥2,100.
Kidzania, 2-4-9 Toyosu Urban Dock Lalaport Toyosu, Edogawa-ku, Tokyo.
For more information call 03-3536-2100.
Website: www.kidzania.jp/about/e_index.html