When you travel with two kids age 2 and below, attractions you can visit are limited. But it doesn’t stop us from exploring new places!
Tokyo is full of hidden gems. I was gonna bring Junya to Asobono again and let him play to his heart’s content the whole day, but sooooo happened it was closed for renovation during our trip this time T_T. I did some research and came across a new place called the Tokyo Toy Museum, located at Yotsuya, Shinjuku-Ku (the nearest stations are Yotsuya-sanchome station and Akebonobashi Station, although we walked all the way from Isetan Shinjuku!)
I was very surprised to find out that it was formerly an elementary school built before WW2. The Tokyo Toy Museum is operated by the Non-Profit Organization Japan Good Toy Association (what an awesome association!!!), and the goals of this facility is to promote friendship among different generations and family communication.
There are thousands of toy displays from all over the world.
You will find both vintage toys from the older generations, and innovative modern artisan wooden toys.
Nostalgic!! All the good old analog toys…
Some of the toy creations from kids… which reminded me that I did all these when i was young too… brings back good memories.
There are many different rooms (assuming they used to be different classrooms for the students) with different themes in the museum. My favorite is the Wooden Baby Room.
One would imagine a baby toy room to be pastel color with lots of cute fluffy stuffed toys and colorful paintings of cute little animals. But this wooden Baby Room is one of the most amazing baby toy rooms of minimalistic beauty.
Everything in that room is made of wood, cloth and other natural elements.
It is meant for babies aged 0-2, Junya is 24+ months old still ok to go in I guess haha! The huge sofa looking thing in the middle is actually a wooden slide!
I love love love the whole ambience. It is bright, cozy with a very soothing scent of cypress. I can imagine how all the pro-natural, organic-obsessed parents falling in love with this place.
There’s a nursing space in this room so moms with small babies get to have a relaxing time here.
One may also think that wooden toys have to be boring. Maybe great for teething babies but how would modern, digital savvy two-year-olds find some wooden figurines that can’t talk nor sing “Wheels on the bus” interesting nowadays? I mean there are probably only so many ways to play with them and the kids get bored after like 10 seconds.
I was quite surprised to find out that most toys there are really delightfully creative and fun. Junya loved this loading truck toy! Every time you insert the truck into the loading tower, a block falls down automatically! Even I was very entertained and amazed with some of these toys. Kudos to Good Toy Association, really really good job!
Papa Bear spending some quality time with son.
And this is the first time I experience a playground with super friendly attendants (wearing red aprons) who will play with the kids!!! It’s like a little nursery. A few of them brought new toys for Junya, asked him questions and showed him build and play toys together.
Super cute wooden puzzle
A bunny puzzle display.
Wood Toy Forest is another room for slightly older kids.
The floor is made of cypress lumber coming from the mountain of Kyushu. It also has a lot of educational toys on the different types of wood (I can see how Japanese are really big fans of their woods).
A wooden doll house.
There are also huge Wood Ball Pools (this is another tiny wooden egg corner) filled with wood balls, where little children can take a wood bath!!
And lastly when you are hungry, feel free to go to the wooden kitchen and make yourself some wooden sushi.
This place is so wonderful. There are more rooms that I didn’t take pictures of. There’s a Toy Factory where kids get to create their own unique , age-appropriate toys. Older kids can enjoy Toy Square Yellow, a world of scientific discovery and invention. Adults, and even the senior may also enjoy Toy Square Red, with lots of Japanese traditional toys from the Showa period.
I was so happy to have discovered this place, I think I’d definitely go back again. To think that the Gen Alpha kids nowadays are so plugged-in, completely immersed in their digital toys (guilty here. Sometimes I do throw my iPhone in front of Junya just to buy a few minutes for myself to attend to work stuff), it is really nice to go back to basic for a while. No shutting your kids up with annoying blasting of nursery rhymes on YouTube. No overly noisy sing-a-songy talk-back stuffed animals. Time for some real communication.
Hours: 10:00-16:00 (Closed on Thursday)
Tickets: Adults ¥800, Children ¥500, Child+adult pair ticket ¥1200
Very reasonably priced!
Give it a visit if you are in Tokyo with your kids 🙂