Doll Museums of Japan

Dolls as art

By Elena Lisina    - 3 min read

1. Kokeshi Doll Mini-Museum

Located in the JR Shiroishi–Zao Railway Station building, the Kokeshi Doll Mini-Museum presents old and new, traditional and original kokeshi dolls, as well as a variety of wooden toys from the Siroishi area. Many toys resemble similar Russian ones made of wood, like 'biryulki'. Admission to the museum is free.

2. Kokeshi Museum, Shiroishi Yajiro Kokeshi Mura

In this museum in Miyagi, the process of making kokeshi dolls and samples of the best masters are clearly presented. The production stages are demonstrated in displays, but you can also watch the entire process on video. The souvenir store has a large selection of kokeshi and souvenirs.

3. The Niiyama Mayumi workshop

It is most interesting to watch kokeshi being made 'live'. In a separate house there is a workshop where master Niiyama Mayumi - one of the masters of kokeshi doll making - demonstrates his work. His collection of wooden dolls, including Russian Matryoshka nesting dolls, is displayed on shelves. Niiyama-san willingly communicates with visitors and when I visited quickly made a wooden spinning top, painted it with strips, polished it with wax and presented it as a gift to me!

4. Shiroishi Antique Doll's House

The Shiroishi Antique Doll's House has an interesting collection of old dolls, books and toys. Instead of an exhibition on the ground floor you'll find old dolls and toys are for sale. It's the second floor (please, take off your shoes at the wooden staircase) where you'll you find the collection on display.

5. Jusaburo Tsujimura Atelier

The atelier is the workshop and museum of the famous puppeteer, Tsujimura Jusaburo. His dolls are made from Japanese silk. Tsujimura-san had a permanent puppet show on television for a long time and is happy to demonstrate his puppets in action. Of course, his puppets are available to buy but they are somewhat pricey...

6. Yokohama Doll Museum

The Yokohama Doll Museum occupies three floors. There are rich collections of dolls from around the world, Japanese dolls as well as modern dolls and antique ones. The information in the showcases is very well designed, beautiful and informative. The museum has a puppet theater, a library, a cafe, a gallery and a souvenir shop.

7. Bell Amie Doll Shop

This shop, located in Matsumoto, is run by the Mimura family. It combines a workshop, shop and an exhibition of fabric dolls made with the oshie technique, as well as paper dolls, which are traditional in the Matsumoto district. This shop comes highly recommended.


Not exactly a doll museum, the Chihiro Art Museum is decorated with wooden dolls representing children's book heroes. The museum has a rich display of illustrations of these books, exhibited in frames and cases. Many of these books are available to look through and are sold in the store at the museum.

9. GHIBLI Museum

The museum of famous studio of animation GHIBLI is located in Mitaka, Tokyo. The museum is actually a 'house of adventures', and it is interesting for children and adults. The principles of animation are demonstrated in a playful way. Short animated films run in the special cinema. Visiting the museum is possible only by appointment.

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Elena Lisina

Elena Lisina @shiroi.tenshi

Здравствуйте!Меня зовут Елена Лисина, и я являюсь новым Партнёром Japan Travel, ответственным за русскую версию. Путешествия пока невозможны, но есть время, чтобы продумать маршрут предстоящей поездки, пользуясь богатыми материалами сообщества, отвечающим самым разным интересам! Я буду публиковать блоги с разработанными маршрутами по разной тематике, так что приглашаю всех заинтересованных .

Original by Elena Lisina