Region
Kyushu
Island
Kyushu
Largest City
Nagasaki
Population
1,516,536

Unzen Toy Museum

Nostalgia in Nagasaki.

A bit away from the smoky hells of Unzen Onsen in Nagasaki Prefecture are quieter residential streets with only a few bathhouses. Among these short Japanese-style buildings, however, stands a nostalgic toy museum. The Unzen Toy Museum is itself a unique three-story half-timbered house packed with the cutest antique Japanese toys. When you walk closer to the building, it’s hard not to press your nose up against the glass doors showcasing the colorful trinkets lining the walls inside.

Photo by: Cara Lam Sweets and toys!

The first floor of the toy museum is a shop offering more than 2,000 cheap toys and sweets that you can choose from! Walk around with caution though, as you may knock your head against some inflatable toys dangling from the ceiling. On this floor, you’ll find mini bun-shaped biscuits, popping candy, mega dried squid and ramune (Japanese soda water) of different flavors.  Probably the most interesting and interactive candy here is the “ito-hiki” candy (糸引き飴 in Japanese) — literally meaning candy “pulled by string.” You will choose and pull a string out of a jar, knowing that a hard candy is attached to the end of each string. Though, the mystery of not knowing the candy’s color and flavor makes it all the more engaging!

The nostalgic toys have been passed down for generations. Also for sale on the first floor are toys that many Japanese adults might have been obsessed with when they were young, including hand clappers, kendama toys, menko (Japanese card game), plastic character masks and photos of Japanese pop icons — to name a few.

Photo by: Cara Lam Outside the museum and shop.

The second floor of the building is a museum displaying more than 5,000 antique toys collected by the shop owner from the 1940s to 1980s. You will find retro items ranging from old posters, playing cards, magazines, popular Japanese TV figures, Rika-chan dolls and tin car toys, etc.

Time goes by quickly while you’re in the museum, just as how you may have time-slipped to your childhood as you gaze at the simple, nostalgic toys. If anything, the elderly couple owning the shop only adds more charm to the old-fashioned store.

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Things To Know

Fees and hours

Unzen Toy Museum is generally open every day from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., though it may close irregularly for a holiday. If you wish to enter the museum on the 2nd floor, you will need to pay an additional fee of ¥200, however visiting the shop on the 1st floor doesn’t require any fee. 

How To Get There

Address

Japan, 〒854-0621 Nagasaki-ken, Unzen-shi, Obamachō Unzen, 駄菓子屋さん博物館

By train

From JR Nagasaki station, you can take the JR Nagasaki line headed for Isahaya station.

By bus

From Isahaya station, take the Shimatetsu Bus to Shimatetsu Unzen Eigyosho Station for one hour and 21 minutes. The museum is a two-minute walk from the bus stop.

By car

From the JR Nagasaki Station or Nagasaki Airport, it takes about one hour and 30 minutes. From Shimabara city, it takes about 45 minutes.

Where To Stay

Yumoto Hotel
  • Obama-cho Unzen 316 Unzen-Shi, Nagasaki 854-0621
  • 8.4/10
  • 0.1 km
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Yukai Resort Unzen Hotel Toyokan
  • Obana-cho Unzen 128 Unzen-Shi, Nagasaki 854-0621
  • 7.9/10
  • 0.1 km
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Unzen Iwaki Ryokan
  • Obamacho Unzen 318 Unzen-Shi, Nagasaki 854-0621
  • 7.5/10
  • 0.1 km
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Unzen Sky Hotel
  • Obama-cho Unzen 323-1 Unzen-Shi, Nagasaki 854-0621
  • 7.7/10
  • 0.1 km
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