This was the middle part of my trilogy of quirky musuems in the Yoshioka area of Gunma Prefecture, and the most normal of the three if a mix of toys, dolls, cars and pop-art can be considered such a thing!
It was a 15 minute walk up the road from the Life & Sex Museum to what looked like a very fake looking building exterior. I paid the 1300 yen entrance cost and entered wondering what exactly this electic mix of items may entail.
There is a Teddy Bear Museum in Izu (Shizuoka Prefecture) but I have never been inside that, and probably won’t now as this was sufficient enough for a man of my age with no real interest in them! Of course I can appreciate the cuteness and cudliness of them though!
From there it was a deep dive into Showa-era Japan (1926–1989) with a recreated street from that time period featuring shops selling candy, toys, masks, comics, cards, posters, video games and other miscilaneous goods.
Some games could also be played in this section for a little extra money. As with other similar places I have visited in Japan such museums really are quite overwhelming in terms of their content.
The walls were donned with pictures of all kinds of 80s Japanese artists I’ve never heard of except for just the one female duo! For some reason a few years ago I was humming ‘Turn It Into Love‘ by Kylie Minogue and my wife said she knew that tune. She didn’t realise however that it was a cover and thought I was humming the successful Wink version of the song from 1988 which was retitled ‘Ai ga Tomarania (Turn It Into Love)‘.
The collection of vintage cars is vast and hugely impressive, and it all belongs to one man!
There are many classic Japanese cars on display with a great deal of them being small Mini-style.
For me it was the sports cars which were of main interest albeit in a fairly limited way as I only really like Formula One when it comes to Motorsport. As well as the impressive variety of cars, there was also a price list of cars from that era which certainly gives you a good idea about the cost of inflation over the years!
An outside area featured such pop-art culture with the likes of Spider-Man and the Beatles placed side by side in this museum for people of all ages.
The Route 66 Garden was more randomness really with a few cars almost buried amongst the overgrowth of the bushes around them. Some skeletons and American-style signage surrounded them and there was even a haunted house too.
I was then surprised to find that that still wasn’t the end and there was more inside as the trail you have to follow continued on a never-ending maze of clutter. I was quite surprised to see British institution Paddington Bear alongside a few other cuddly toys from my country of birth.
A small chocolate factory, a cafe and another outside area featuring some military-related machinery and automobiles were pretty much the last things I remember seeing.
My time here was slightly restricted by time and the need to squeeze in three museums in just over two hours (including walking time between them) but I had to make time for a quick teddy bear selfie before continuing up the road to another sexual museum (quite possibly the weirdest one of the lot!) amidst some beautiful mountain scenery.
- Ikaho Toy, Doll & Car Museum is located at 2145 Kaminoda, Yoshioka, Kitagunma-Gun, Gunma-ken. It is open every day between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm.
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