Japan Toy Museum

Japan Toy Museum, Himeji: Address, Phone Number, Japan Toy Museum Reviews: 4.5/5

Japan Toy Museum
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1-2 hours
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34 reviews
Very good

Melbourne, Australia16 contributions
Little gem!
Mar 2019 • Friends
We were staying in Himeji in Japan & had an unexpected free day, so decided to visit the Japan Toy Museum. It’s a few stations out of Himeji but the train journey is easy & takes you to a quaint village. While a little hard to find initially, the Museum is tucked at the back of the village about 15 min walk from the station, but the journey was worth every moment of our time. We discovered a marvellous collection of toys from around the world on display; antiques, retro, wooden, tin, plastic. So many toys to see & so many memories evoked! Truly a storehouse of childhood fun found here. Add it to your list!
Written April 3, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Sue T
Perth, Western Australia, Australia69 contributions
So many toys! So much to play with!
Nov 2017 • Couples
We visited as part of our Homestay, and enjoyed the spinning tops and clever wooden toys were fascinating. We also enjoyed the Christmas Around The World exhibition. The old-style home really made me grateful for all our modern conveniences.
Written November 10, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Kobe93 contributions
Feel of nostalgia and premonition
Oct 2016 • Couples
It is impressive that this museum is created by one person, Mr. Shigeyoshi Inoue. The previous reviewer was very fortunate to have had personal interaction with him, which he detailed in his review. My review is one by an ordinary visitor, and it is very positive, nonetheless.

Manufactured toys, whether industrially produced or hand-made, are luxury items in a society where people struggle for subsistence. This perspective will hopefully give the visitors keener interest in the museum’s rich display of toys, Japanese and foreign. Adult visitors will likely find a few toys that evoke his or her childhood days with nostalgia. Such retrospect may also lead to the realization that modern technology is changing the scope of toys for the coming generation.

Take a doll figure, for example. Children used to play with one, or rather imaginarily interact with it. Through such plays they unconsciously learn the cultural fabric of their society. In the future, such dolls are very likely of only visionary existence, and children’s interaction with them is no longer genuine or spontaneous, but programmed. Would such toys make children as humane as old ones did? Would the society, that consist of adults who have grown up with “new age“ toys, be as civilized as before? Such are my premonitions that I have had in the museum.

I went to this museum, specifically to view its special exhibition of masks from around the world. Mask is the essential tool for personification, not just of a special human character but also of animal, real or mythical. As such, masks and their use in a society tell a great deal of the society’s culture and fabric. Although the collection was impressive, in terms of geographic diversity, there are few comments offered about the meaning or significance of each mask in its original society. Such comments will no doubt call for ethnological study and information, and it is probably too much to ask of the museum’s founder or staff. Still, it is a pity that the majority of visitors would just look at the masks only with curiosity.
Written October 15, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Singapore, Singapore3 contributions
Best Museum Experience Ever
Dec 2013 • Family
The museum is located in the outskirts of Himeji (which is why we came after Himeji Castle) and is not the most accessible of places. The nearest train station is JR Koro. We got a bit lost walking out from the station, but there is actually a sign right outside the station and several more that mark the route for discerning travellers.

Due to a last minute change of plans, my family ended up visiting the museum on a Wednesday, when it's usually closed. We honestly weren't expecting much after having had a disappointing visit to Himeji Castle in the morning (never visit when it's raining) and would probably have had an even worse day if the museum director Mr. Inoue hadn't spotted six bedraggled tourists trooping down the road outside his house (I think he lives next to the museum). He then had his daughter open the museum specially for us and two local Japanese visitors who also showed up on a whim!

The museum itself was fascinating and contains a very large selection of folk toys from nearly every prefecture in Japan and at least 50 foreign countries. My parents took a trip down memory lane when they saw the various vintage toys being displayed. My younger brother couldn't keep his hands off the toys in the demonstration areas, most of which were genuinely fascinating. Mr. Inoue and his daughter constantly hovered around, drawing our attention to key exhibits and offering nuggets of information, though the two local visitors had more value-add because Mr. Inoue's English is limited.

There are five separate exhibit areas. One is devoted to boys' toys, another to girls' toys and a third to Japanese folk toys and toys from all over the world. The last two are special exhibition areas. The first special exhibition is seasonal and was a Christmas-themed one when we visited. The final one is ad-hoc and is follows whatever theme that currently catches Mr. Inoue's fancy. It was one about horses (to celebrate the upcoming Year of the Horse in the Chinese/Japanese zodiac) when we visited.

After receiving a grand tour, Mr. Inoue's wife served all of us coffee and mochi (not included in the admission fee!). The Japan Toy Museum is very much a family-run affair with husband, wife and daughter all involved in its maintenance. We chatted with the family with our extremely limited Japanese with Mr. Inoue's daughter acting as translator (her English is quite good). Then we went on a buying spree at the museum shop, which stocks some of the toys and crafts Mr. Inoue brings back from his sojourns overseas. We even received cute Merry Christmas stickers for each of our purchases!

Finally, as it was still raining, Mr. Inoue personally drove us back to the train station in his car. That summed up the kind of visit we had, with overflowing hospitality padding up an already fascinating museum experience.

I don't recommend visiting on Wednesdays though, despite our superlative experience! Mr. Inoue is frequently away on trips to various parts of the world sourcing for more rare toys and he just happened to be looking out the window when we passed by. The museum is best visited in small groups as large groups have to make advance reservations.
Written December 21, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
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