Hands up if you have a son who loves Thomas. I have two boys and both of them LOVE Thomas. Thomas may not have originated in Japan, but trust me, Japanese love Thomas. Don’t believe? Check out my post on Thomas Land & Thomas themed hotel rooms at Fuji Q Highland near Mount Fuji.
The boys have been wanting to go Thomas Land again, but I wanted to try something different. So when we were in Tokyo last December, I planned a side trip to Thomas Town at Shinmisato.
There are three Thomas Towns in Japan: One in Shinmisato (near Tokyo), one in Izumi (near Osaka) and one in Kurashiki (near Okayama). Okay, technically there is only one Thomas Town at Shinmisato. The latter two are called Thomas Station. But let’s not get iffy here.
Getting to Thomas Town Shinmisato
Thomas Town Shinmisato was located in a huge shopping mall called Lalaport Shinmisato, right next to Shinmisato station.
It took me a long time to figure this out, but if you are searching for your train route on hyperdia, you will NOT find a station called Shinmisato. Because on hyperdia, the station name is spelt as SHIM-MISATO. With an M and a dash.
You can use Hyperdia to search for a train route from the station nearest to you, but as an example, from Shinjuku where we were staying, it required one transfer and the fare was 640yen and the ride took approximately 1 hour.
I actually DO NOT recommend making the trip to Shim-Misato specially to visit Thomas Town because, as I will talk about later, I didn’t think it was worth the trip to go all the way to Shin-Misato just to visit Thomas Town. BUT, I assume if your kid likes Thomas, he (yes I am gender stereotyping here) probably likes trains in general? Yes? Hence, what I am going to propose is you do Thomas Town Shinmisato as a day trip together with Railway Museum in Saitama. They are both located to the North of central Tokyo:
Railway Museum is located next to Tetsudo-Hakubutsukan Station. When using hyperdia, key in TETSUDOHAKUBUTSUKAN(ONARI). To get from Tetsudo-Hakubutsukan to Shin-Misato requires two transfers, total fare of 660yen and takes approximately 1 hour.
I recommend you visit Railway Museum in the morning, followed by Thomas Town and finish off the day with shopping at Lalaport Shin-Misato.
Thomas Town Shinmisato Review
Thomas Town Shinmisato was very different from Thomas Land. While Thomas Land was like a theme park, Thomas Town Shinmisato was more like an indoor playground.
Admission / Fees for Rides
Admission to Thomas Town is FREE. However, you need to pay for the rides. Thomas Town works using a token system.
The price of the tokens was 2 tokens for 400yen or 8 tokens for 1200yen.
Different rides required a different number of tokens. But even the cheapest required 2 tokens which worked out to 300yen if you purchase the 8 tokens set. I found it very expensive, considering the rides weren’t like the amusement park rides that we found at Thomas Land. They were more like kiddy rides you find at shopping malls.
We started with Brendan Docks, which was essentially a mini Thomas themed indoor playground. It cost 4 tokens per child for 20-minutes play time. It is important to note that while Thomas Town was open till 9pm, Brendan Docks closed earlier and on weekdays, the last entry was at 6pm.
I only checked the opening hours for Thomas Town and thought going there in the evening should be fine since they open till 9pm. If you saw our itinerary, we only came here in the evening after visiting Tokyo Fire Museum, Shinjuku Gyoen and Jingu Gaien. We barely made it in time for the last time slot! I couldn’t believe how lucky we were. I would have been extremely upset if we had travelled all the way here to find that Brendan Docks had closed already.
The kids spent much of the 20 minutes at the train table. Which made me wonder why we came all the way here and they were playing with something that could easily be found in indoor playgrounds in Singapore.
After a while, I managed to convince MF to go check out the other side which had a table for sand play.
The moulds they provided were Thomas-shaped no less.
Before we knew it, 20 minutes was up. So that was 600yen for 20 minutes of play. I shall not complain that Singapore indoor playgrounds are expensive after this.
Kuru Kuru Carnival
Next, the kids went on the Kurukuru Carnival which cost 3 tokens per child. It didn’t do much – just went round and round for a bit. I thought it was freaking expensive. But thankfully the staff was super enthusiastic and kept high fiving the kids as they came around, so I didn’t feel that bad about paying 450yen per child for a short spin knowing that part of that money goes to the staff’s salary.
Harold’s Sky Patrol
Then the kids decided to take a ride on Harold the helicopter which cost 2 tokens (300yen), making it the most expensive kiddy ride the kids have ever taken. No, I don’t pay for those S$2 shopping centre kiddy rides we have here in Singapore because I always felt they were daylight robbery. But I paid 300yen to let my kids play this. It’s the I’m-on-vacation mentality. You know how money suddenly loses its value when you go on vacation? Even knowing something is overpriced, you still pay anyway simply because you are on vacation? Yup, this was definitely one of those moments.
There was this photo location where the kids could dress up in the blue train conductor uniform and go up to take photo with Thomas. It cost 3 tokens per child. Considering the kids had taken photo with life-sized Thomas and Percy over at Thomas Land for free, we passed. Instead MY just posed in front of the trains without going in – Free. #Cheapo
The most decent ride at Thomas Town Shinmisato was this Thomas Train with like proper tracks. It was a 10-minute ride that included riding the Thomas train to watch a 5-minutes animation. It cost 4 tokens per child – which I thought was more value-for-money compared to the previous two rides that the kids went on.
BUT.. big big BUT.. They said that our kids were too young to go on the ride on their own. So an adult must accompany them. And the adult needed to pay 4 tokens too!! RAWR!!! So we skipped it, convincing the kids that the animation was going to be in Japanese and they weren’t going to understand a thing anyway.
Besides rides, there were also some carnival-style games which cost 3 tokens per play.
And there were also gashapon machines filled with Thomas collectibles.
If you know me, my favourite spot at any themed attraction would be the cafe or equivalence. I love checking out what themed food was available.
At the seating area, there was a gallery with many pictures of Thomas and his friends.
And of course, you can find a Thomas souvenir shop at the end. The souvenir shop here paled in comparison to the one at Thomas Land, but it had a table nevertheless where the kids could play. For FREE.
I was a tad disappointed with Thomas Town Shinmisato, mostly because I had high expectations after visiting Thomas Land where the rides were bigger and cheaper. I didn’t think it was worth coming here all the way from central Tokyo just to let the kids play with overpriced Thomas-themed kiddy rides. However, I do think Brendan Docks (the indoor playground area) was pretty cool.
Hence, as I mentioned at the start of the post, I wouldn’t recommend taking the train all the way here just to visit Thomas Town. If I were to re-plan the trip, I would have gone to Railway Museum in the morning then came to Lalaport Shin-misato to let the kids play at Brendan Docks for 20 min and continued on with shopping and eating at the rest of the mall. Can I also mention that Butahage has a branch at Lalaport Shin-Misato? Yup, plan that in.
Address: Lalaport Shin-Misato Level 2.
Map Code (what is this?): 3 389 758
Opening Hours: 10am to 9pm
- Thomas Train last boarding at 8.45pm
- Brendan Docks last admission at 6pm on weekdays / 7.10pm pm weekends
Official Website: Homepage
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