Interactive Fun at the Tokyo Toy Museum

By Chanyn Kirtman
February 20, 2014

Don’t let these cold, windy months keep you and the kids locked indoors with cabin fever. Let’s be honest, there are only so many Pinterest activities and DIY projects one can endure in a season. Thankfully, Tokyo understands a mom's need to get a change of scenery, and has a wide selection of fun play areas for kids to spend their time and energy.

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The Tokyo Toy Museum is a perfect option when looking to spend a crisp winter’s day or even a few hours out of the house. Along a side street in Yotsuya, you will find an old elementary school that has been refurbished into an interactive toy museum. Currently operated by the NPO Japan Good Toy Association, the Tokyo Toy Museum is a toy paradise enabling children to play and learn with the toys, enjoy exhibitions, and even create their own toys.

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Once you pass the entrance you will find the Good Toy Gallery, which is a  “free play” area with a variety of analogue toys. All the toys displayed have won awards for being effective in children’s development. Devoted staff is readily available, explaining how the toys work and encouraging the children to engage in a mixture of games.

Adjacent to the Toy Gallery is a room for special exhibitions. Based on the theme of the show you will find unusual toys, most have never seen before. The toys are not just those found in Japan, as the museum owns a collection of 15,000 toys from a hundred different countries.

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On the same floor is the Wood Toy Forest, which houses a large doll house, a pool of wooden balls, and a massive wooden tree house, among other interactive wooden toys. This area is best for toddlers and older children.

Walk upstairs to the third floor and take in a toy-making workshop in the Toy Factory. Classes are held everyday, ranging from beginner levels with simple materials to more complex creations for older children and adults.

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On the same floor you will find the Game Salon, which is a great place to send the older kids while the youngsters enjoy the Toy Forest. They will have a blast with Chinese puzzles, board games and even table soccer.

Continuing down the hall on the third floor, children can take part in a tea party and have fun with some traditional Japanese toys from the Showa period in the Toy Square Red. Afterwards, allow your child to discover geometric shapes, science and invention in the science toy corner inside Toy Square Yellow.

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The museum welcomes smaller infants as well, with a room dedicated to crawlers and those discovering touch and sound. On the same floor mothers can find breastfeeding and diaper changing facilities, along with a lounge for lunch breaks and snack time.

The Deets

Address: 4-20 Yotsuya, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Tel: 03-5367-9601

Open: Fri-Wed, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; closed Thu

Admission: Junior high school students to adults ¥700; children aged three through elementary school ¥500; child and adult pair ticket ¥1,000; children under two are free

Getting there: Seven-minute walk from Yotsuya-sanchome Station on the Marunouchi Subway Line; eight-minute walk from Akebonobashi Station on the Shinjuku Subway Line

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