Tochigi: Adults, Children Enjoy a Mental Break with Old, New Toys

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Various tin toys, including a pig cook that deftly flips fried eggs, are on display.

MIBU, Tochigi — An area of Mibu, Tochigi Prefecture, is officially called Omochanomachi (toy town) because a number of toy manufacturers have moved there and constructed factory complexes.

The Mibumachi Toy Museum is about a five-minute drive from Omocha-no-machi Station. It aims to facilitate the spirited enrichment of the generation responsible for the 21st century.

Courtesy of the Mibu Toy Museum
The Mibu Toy Museum is modeled after a western medieval castle.

The museum is home to about 60,000 items, either loaned or donated by the Japan Toy Association in Tokyo or toy manufacturers. Of these, approximately 9,000 are on display as permanent exhibits in 10 rooms that stretch across the second floor.

Although it includes the word “museum” in its name, spokesperson Takuho Hoshi, 51, said, “We also emphasize that there are physical activities children can take part in.”

Since children can get bored just looking at the toys, there are special corners in eight of the rooms where they can play with items that act as an extension of the permanent exhibits.

There are also exhibits to entertain adults. Most of the toys made with tin on display were manufactured in the 1960s.

There are mechanical toys that elicit a chuckle, such as a pig that flips a pan to make a fried egg. The items each look unique and adorable.

There is a room featuring toys and other items made in Mibu. Visitors can review the history of the toy town while viewing the once-popular Chogokin series of play things and other items.

Universally designed toys that the visually and hearing impaired can enjoy are also on permanent display and include miniature cars, animal figures and other items that function by touch. This exhibit conveys the manufacturer’s wish to have “everyone play together.”

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Toys that the visually impaired can also enjoy include miniature cars.

The annex area is also attractive. In the model train room, there are two dioramas, one at 1/150th scale and the other at 1/80th scale. There are 36 types of trains, including the Shinkansen and JR Sobu Line, that can be operated for a fee, so even enthusiasts are sure to have fun.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A miniature shinkansen bullet train runs in a diorama.

Parents and children will certainly be satisfied with a facility where they can spend the whole day surrounded by toys.

“It is a wonderful place to ease your mind,” Hoshi said.

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Mibumachi Toy Museum

The museum opened in 1995. It aims to be a facility where both children and adults can play and learn.

Address: 2300 Kuniya, Mibu, Tochigi Prefecture

Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed on Mondays and year-end New Year’s holidays. If a public holiday falls on a Monday, the museum will be closed the following day. Open every day in August.

Admission: ¥600 for high school students and older. ¥300 from 4-year-old children to junior high school students. Free for younger children.