Like Neko JaLaLa~, I feel that the Fujiko F. Fujio Museum deserves its own post, being a must-go destination in Japan for any 90s kid. The museum has been around for only about 4 years now, but has attracted Doraemon ドラえもん fans worldwide even though it’s located away from the populated areas of the Kanagawa prefecture. Namely, it’s in the suburban areas of Kawasaki, the birthplace of many Fujiko F. Fujio’s well-loved characters during his brief years here. You’ll see how much the neighborhood landscapes surrounding you resemble those you see in his anime and manga series, especially Doraemon. Don’t worry about getting lost finding your way to the museum though – it’s such a tourist favorite that they’ve made it so accessible for visitors. Details on getting there on the bottom of this post.
Exhibition section: For the aspiring artists, writers, and all comic book fans
The main purpose of having the museum around was to, essentially, preserve the genius’ legacy. Everything from Fujiko F. Fujio’s earliest sketches to his unpublished manuscripts were showcased throughout the exhibition halls of the museum. This is the first section of the museum you’ll be guided to as soon as you arrive at the museum. You’ll be given headphones and a gadget with recordings of the stories behind each exhibit, so you’ll be narrated with backstories and understand the pieces better as you navigate your way through this section. You’ll learn from these exhibits that he’s practically the Japanese version of Walt Disney. At one point, as a teenage boy, he wrote a comic book with his friend that’s garnered national attention, as it was recognized by famed manga-ka 漫画家 (comic book artists/writers) that were decades his senior at that time. I also particularly love his work station, which had loads of dinosaur figurines, toy trains, and reference books about practically everything. Apparently, he loved animals as much as every artist I know of! (There’s a special animal room section with drawings of animals on walls and a large, super kawaii blue elephant figure in the middle of the room). Note that they strictly prohibit video- and photo-taking in all these exhibition areas, though on the bright side, this is the only section of the museum where it is so.
People’s Plaza section: Playtime!
As soon as you walk out of the exhibition section, you’ll see a massive area dedicated to gachapons ガチャポン encapsulating the many Fujiko F. Fujio’s character collectibles as well as a manga corner that preserves the complete comic collections of the maestro. Elsewhere in the indoor area of the people’s plaza section, you’ll see glass displays of character toy figurines. There’s also a little indoor playground area targeted for pre-schoolers, as well as a complementary screening of a movie that features Doraemon and Chinpui. Even though it’s narrated fully in Japanese, you can 100% understand what’s going on by the end of the 25-minute film – it’s fun, cute, touching, sad, and lovely :’) Also, what is a Japanese pop-culture attraction site without a purikura プリクラ booth? There’s a couple on the corner of this section that reminded us there’s more to wefies than GoPros.
The outdoor area of the section is the high point of the museum. You’ll see the iconic concrete pipes of the playground area in the comics, figures of Doraemon and Nobita-kun themselves, and the famed pink Dokodemo ‘Anywhere’ Door, plus many more novel things and statuettes if you spot them. Once you’re done photo-taking around the garden and enjoying the fresh air, you can visit the corner’s little souvenir shop to see the many delicacies that you can bring back to your loved ones, including the obligatory Doraemon-imprinted dorayakis. This souvenir shop is also where I bought the unique bread-flavored teas that I lost in the shinkansen :'( Just right by it is the cafe where we had our lunch. What’s for sure is that it’s got tons of Insta-worthy meals and beverages you’ll can’t wait to give a taste of. You’ll see the full menu as you scroll down through the pictures below~ Also, save more time to look through the stuff sold at the second souvenir shop one level down from the cafe. They sell every novelty you can think of, from collector’s toys to stationery products to bamboo propellers you can wear to become Doraemon this Halloween.
Because we visited the museum on the morning when we’re trying to get to Narita Airport by mid-afternoon, there are a couple of things we missed in the museum. I was actually really looking forward to see Kirei na~ Jaian (handsome Giant) during our visit, but since we’re a group of 5 we didn’t want to venture too far away from each other. The handsome Giant is located at the little outdoor area near the movie screening room. You need to work the pump in order for Giant to appear out of the spring – and he’ll only appears for a few seconds.
But even so … it was a fun noon spent at the museum. As a character designer, the visit inspired me to draw more and explore my character in ways I’ve never dared myself to imagine. I admire the way Fujiko F. Fujio never seems to limit himself with the situations and environments he placed his characters in, yet also how he challenges his characters only with the kind of environments he himself is familiar with. If he wants a new environment to work with, he’ll just create more characters – which I feel is probably the reason why he’s so prolific.
Fujiko F. Fujio Museum 藤子・Ｆ・不二雄ミュージアム
+81 570 055 245
W-M 10:00am – 06:00pm (closed on Tuesdays)
- JPY 1,000 for adults
- JPY 700 for high schoolers ages 12-18
- JPY 500 for children ages 4-11
- FREE for children under 4
Best way to get tickets:
Admission tickets are available 2 months in advance starting from the 30th on every month. Why so soon, you say? Well … first of all, you won’t find ticketing office at the museum itself, and secondly, it sells fast. So it’s imperative that you buy tickets ahead of time. Just head to any local LAWSON konbini コンビニ and use the Loppi automatic ticket machines to purchase your tickets. If you’re Japanese-literate, you can also pick up your tickets at any LAWSON outlet when you’ve made your purchase online.
Easiest way to get there:
Doesn’t matter if you’re traveling from Shinjuku Station like us or from any other stations in Tokyo, but it’s much easier if you travel using the Odakyu Lines (they’re the blue-colored lines) instead of the the JR lines. Odakyu railways are only available in Tokyo and its vicinity (my brother said it’s one thing that makes Tokyo’s public transportation even more complicated~ x3), and by taking the Odakyu Odawara Line 小田急小田原線, you’ll stop right at Noborito Station 登戸駅. The station’s exit is where the themed shuttle buses will come every 10-15 minutes to pick up and/or lift off visitors of the museum.