In April 2022, the Sanuki Toy Museum opened in Takamatsu, Kagawa Prefecture. This interactive museum invites visitors to experience the traditional crafts of Kagawa while having fun.
Situated in the Takamatsu Central Shopping Arcade, the museum is directly connected to the parking lot for convenient access that enables you to not get wet on rainy days.
Let’s explore the Sanuki Toy Museum, a perfect venue that continues to attract both children and adults.
The Sanuki Toy Museum, Brimming with Traditional Craftsmanship and the Warmth of Wood
After taking their shoes off at the reception desk, visitors are welcomed by a large symbol tree as they enter the museum.
The museum is filled with Kagawa craftsmanship, including Kagawa Lacquerware, Aji Stone, Takamatsu Hariko, and Sanuki Kagari Temari.
NAKAHASHI Emiko, the director of the museum, says that the concept of the Sanuki Toy Museum is to convey the wonders of Kagawa to children.
The elaborate artifacts in the museum were created by artisans who wanted to show children the real thing, down to the smallest detail. Visitors can freely touch and play with the authentic crafts which are the main attraction of this museum.
The symbol tree and toys are mainly made of Japanese cypress from the Shionoe area in Takamatsu and the neighboring town of Manno.
The wood used here is not dried or mothproofed, but left in its natural state.
The knotty timbers look like faces to children, and they gaze at and touch them, enjoying them wholeheartedly.
Popular Children’s Areas You Can’t Miss!
Sanuki scenery and culture are scattered throughout these popular areas in the museum.
The Udon Restaurant Is the Children's Favorite Play Area
The most popular area in the museum, attracting everyone from one year old to the elderly, is the Udon Restaurant, where they can pretend to be in an udon noodle shop.
Kagawa is home to many self-service udon eateries where customers heat their own noodles. Even little toddlers who have never seen a tebo, a noodle strainer, imitate the process of draining boiled noodles. Perhaps it is the DNA of the people here in Sanuki.
Wood Education Field for Babies Embraced by the Warmth of Wood and Sanuki
The Wood Education Field for Babies is an area where children aged 0 to 2 years old can play. The motif of the playground is the landscape of Sanuki, featuring Omusubi (rice ball) Mountain and a reservoir for crawling babies to explore.
The small mountain in the center of the playground is Mount Iino, also known as Sanuki Fuji. It's moderate ridgeline is just right for babies to hold on to. Some babies learn to pull themselves up for the first time here, making it a popular photo spot.
Toy Curators, the Link between Toys and Children
In the museum, toy curators are available to help children play with toys.
“There are many facilities that have quality toys,” says Nakahashi, “but if you do not connect children and the toys, the toys' value will not be conveyed to the children.”
Even with oddly shaped building blocks, giving children some guidance can expand their creativity as they play. Toy curators are also responsible for communicating the history and materials of the crafts.
Each curator has his or her own specialty, whether it is a love of handicrafts or woodworking expertise, and they apply their individual talents to make the Sanuki Toy Museum even more interesting and enable it to evolve.
Adults Need Fun, Too! Recommended Photo Spots
Even grown-ups are encouraged to not just appreciate but also have fun with the touchable art.
The Colorful Temari Dome Is the Best Photo Spot!
The colorful temari balls hanging from the ceiling are made using cotton thread dyed with natural plant dyes. They are called Sanuki kagari temari, one of Kagawa’s traditional handicrafts.
In the center of the dome is a majestic temari bonsai, inspired by Takamatsu bonsai, which originated in the Edo period. Try arranging the tree with the green temari balls on top.
Authentic Wooden Vat Tea House with a Small Entrance
An ok-an (pronounced “okkēan”) is a tea room built in the shape of a traditional soy sauce brewing vat turned upside down. The nijiriguchi (the small entrance to the tea room) is authentically sized.
There are still soy sauce breweries in Kagawa that use traditional wooden vats. As the number of wooden vat craftsmen is decreasing, Yamaroku Soy Sauce in Shodoshima, which manufactures its own wooden vats, has provided a new soy sauce vat to the museum.
Why not enjoy a tea ceremony in this charming little tea room?
Lacquer Slide Made by the Kagawa Urushi Lacquerware Institute
A one-of-a-kind lacquer slide was created and decorated using the three techniques of Kagawa lacquerware: kinma, zonsei, and choshitsu.
Underneath the black lacquer on the sliding surface, there are five different colors of lacquer (green, yellow, vermilion, white and purple) have been applied in layers. As children slide on the surface, the lacquer is gradually worn off to reveal the colors underneath. Adults should not hesitate to try the slide as well.
There are many toys that adults can play with.
Visitors from other towns sometimes tell the museum staff that their hometowns have similar traditional crafts.
Nakahashi says with a smile, “It makes me happy to see people discovering the charm of their hometowns and bragging about them.”
The Museum Store and Café are Open to Visitors without Entering the Museum
Crafts and wooden toys on display at the Sanuki Toy Museum are available for sale at the museum store.
Visitors can enjoy their favorite toys at home.
The crafts are designed to fit into modern lives, and the selections are easy to incorporate into daily life.
This is a great place to pick out souvenirs and gifts.
The café offers a healthy menu with seasonal vegetables from local farmers and grocers in Kagawa.
It also serves desserts made with vegetables, including a monthly parfait topped with starchy vegetable sauce made using the Japanese surinagashi technique. The obanzai set meals and pasta lunch are also popular, including a variety of small bowls filled with vegetables.
Enjoy a cup of coffee while reflecting fondly on your museum visit.
Kagawa Landscape and Crafts Featured at the Sanuki Toy Museum
If you find the scenery and crafts of Kagawa interesting as you learn about them at the Sanuki Toy Museum, be sure to visit the locations.
KAGAWA LACQUER WARE
Sanuki Udon noodles
The Sanuki Toy Museum
- 8-1 Daikumachi, Takamatsu, Kagawa
- Business hours
- Regular holidays
- Supported languages
For admission fees, access and parking, please check the Information page on the official website.
Gathering date：2022.12.27 / The Sanuki Toy Museum