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Get kids in shape for New Year’s

by Magdalena Osumi

Staff Writer

It’s never too early to get potential Olympic stars into shape, so why not take your children to Kodomo-no-shiro (National Children’s Castle) in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward, which will be hosting various events for a kids’ mini Olympic Games.

From Jan. 4 to Jan. 7, different traditional Japanese games such as takaratori (a team game that appears to be a cross between tag and baseball) and hanetsuki (a New Year’s game similar to badminton but played with wooden paddles and without a net) will be available for kids to play. Children will also be able to take part in basketball or soccer as well as learn to play new alternative games such as indiaca, which is similar volleyball but played with a shuttlecock, and kabaddi, a South-Asian type of wrestling.

For some of the games, children can take part with their parents, and there are other events that can be enjoyed as a family, such as traditional Japanese card games or playing with koma-mawashi (spinning tops).

On Jan. 5, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., children can also participate in a mochitsuki (mochi-pounding) event to create sticky rice cakes, that essential dish of New Year’s celebrations.

Other activities include making paper models of horses (the 2014 Chinese zodiac symbol), singing contests and other music performances.

These events take place from Jan. 4 to Jan. 7. at Kodomo-no-shiro, which is a 10-min walk from Shibuya Station. Times of games vary. Entry fee is ¥500 for adults and ¥400 for children aged 3 to 18. For more information call 03-3797-5666, or visit www.kodomono-shiro.jp/info/whatsnew/233.html.