The Shirone area of Niigata has a long and colorful history with kites. The region has an annual kite festival with origins dating back to the mid 1800s, but if you're not nearby at the time of the festival the Shirone Kite Museum is a great alternative. This family-friendly museum has a variety of hands-on ways to learn about kites and even fly them for yourself.
To really immerse yourself, the kite making experience is a great place to start. It comes in two different forms: making a Japanese style kite (500 yen, 40 minutes, recommended for children in 3rd grade and above), or a Western style kite (400 yen, 10 minutes, recommended for anyone 3 years of age or older). You don't even have to wait to test our your creation, since the museum is home to a wind tunnel where you can fly it right away.
If you visit on the 1st or 3rd Sunday of the month there are kite painting demonstrations from a local artist from 10 am until 3 pm, and watching the intricacies of painting these ornate traditional kites definitely provides a new appreciation for their beauty. The museum also has a 3D video room where you can watch footage about the origins of the Shirone Kite Battle and the process of how those kites are made. Aside from the hands-on exhibits and demonstrations, there are also numerous kites on display from both Japan and around the world. It's also worth nothing that this isn't Japan's only kite museum - you'll also find one in Tokyo and one in Ehime if you're closer to those areas.
Admission to the Shirone Kite Museum is priced at 400 yen for adults, and 200 yen for elementary school-aged students and above.