Wandering around the Kawaguchiko shoreline, sometime in the afternoon, we hopped over the touristy Retro bus for the Kawaguchiko Music Forest. It’s a small theme park and museum devoted to automatic musical instruments.
After taking the tickets priced at ¥1300 each, we were guided through a small passage which opened up to a whole big park area beautifully done with well-manicured lawns, arching bridges, lakes, fountains, restaurants, shops, and cottage-shaped buildings. With the views of the grand Mt.Fuji in the background, the beautiful flower exhibition going on that sunny day and the lush green landscapes studded with lakes and dancing musical fountains, it was an absolutely refreshing atmosphere. One could easily spend a whole lot of time admiring this enchanting European set-up.
Winding through the gardens we crossed a tiny bridge to enter the main building. Its main hall displayed antique music boxes, mechanical organs and other automatic musical instruments mostly from European countries. The largest of them, a French fairground organ from 1905, occupied an entire hall and was scheduled to play every 30 minutes. And luckily just as we sat down, the show began ! Along with the main display right at the front centre, all the numerous other miniature figurines, strategically placed all around the hall, in every nook and cranny and high up the walls, each started playing their own musical instruments like trumpets, drums etc in perfect harmony.
After enjoying this magnanimous orchestra, we followed the dispersing crowd, up a flight of elegantly done stairs. This floor had a exhibit room on the left wing and the concert hall on the right. One of the main attractions of the exhibit room was this beautiful doll’s house music box wherein the dolls actually danced to the tune. The concert hall is an auditorium with regular live performances daily. The centre stage is decorated with antique musical organs from all over the world. At the time of our visit there was no live concert, but only narrative descriptions of the showcased organs. So, in a while we ventured out to enjoy the lovely outdoors. There was another building which housed many different varieties of tiny music boxes to choose from - perfect for a special gift. You can actually try your hand making your own music box there too !
Walking out of this wonderland we enjoyed the dancing fountain and the sights of happy people enjoying their choice of meals and desserts at the museum’s restaurant Le Rivage. Winding through this beautiful ‘forest’ we made our way to the Rose garden. There were so many varieties of these beautiful blooms in every color. This place had a small shop selling glass paintings and kaleidoscopes and many other crafts all based on the ‘roses’ theme. And following this rose garden we actually were led out of this music forest. What a way to exit this awesome place with the mild sweet fragrance still lingering on along with the beautiful memories.