Are you old enough to have a little memory about some toys you used to played when you were a child? At the age of no computer and no computer game, the simple things made of wood or paper made friend with you, played with you, catered for you. Day by day, life gets more modern, you have turned your back to these loyal friends to come to virtual characters installed inside computer games. Time erases everything. The factories do not manufacture these kinds of toy and all you can see is the scene in which your child sits in front of computer screen and press the keyboard, then you forget all about your beautiful childhood with little friends.
In Japan, they have their own way to save traditional and cultural values from the past for children to know how their grandparents and parents lived, stayed, ate and entertained. And if you are also curious about what Japanese children played in hundreds years ago from Edo period, come to Naramachi Mechanical Toy Museum in Nara, an interactive facility of very nostalgic Japanese toys. Staying in the middle of the remaining the early Meiji atmosphere, Naramachi Mechanical Toy Museum saves the pleasant time playing with mechanical toys for all generation of local residents and visitors. Dating back in 1890, initially, it used to be a retirement house of famous eel restaurant in Meiji period, before being donated to the construction of the museum. The former professor of Nara University Michitaka Kamata who had studied mechanisms of mechanical toys of Edo period over a quarter of a century is considered as the one who contributed most to the foundation as well as the development of Naramachi Mechanical Toy Museum as he gave a huge amount of toys to the museum.
The whole area of Naramachi Mechanical Toy Museum covers about 265.19 square meters by two establishments designed in style of traditional Japanese wooden house, including a two storied house aslo the main building serving as the space for display and play and an one storied house as the studio for experience. Toys will be arranged in tatami floored room with detailed explanation of the museum's staffs, they will guide you how to play and even to make these toys at some special day of event or workshop. The workshop of making mechanical toys through traditional techniques held every month will show you an impressive collection of more than 200 different kinds of mechanical toys which are replaced every two months.
The toys at Naramachi Mechanical Toy Museum are simply made of bamboo, wood, Japanese paper, soil or thread, such simple things but you will rarely see them in daily life. Some typical toys here contain the Rabbit making rice cakes who is believed to live inside the moon and making rice cakes on the occasion of mid autumn. The rabbit will start to make rice cakes right after you pull the wooden bar attached to the string. Some other remarkable toys are Ushiwakamaru and Benkei or Goraikou.
Take a 10 minute walk from Nara Station or 15 minute walk from JR Nara Station on Kintetsu line.