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Play and learn! Kyoto Kanji Museum is Interesting

Play and learn! Kyoto Kanji Museum is Interesting


Kyoto is full of famous shrines and temples, such as Kiyomizu Temple and Fushimi Inari! However, some of you may not "feel like visiting only shrines and temples... " We would like to recommend the Kanji Museum in Higashi Ward, Tokyo. Here are some of the attractions of the Kanji Museum.

Kanji Museum is a hands-on facility where you can play and learn

The Kanji Museum (official name: Kankan Kanji Museum and Library) is located in Higashi-ku, Kyoto.
The facility was built on the site of Yaei Junior High School, which closed in 2011, and opened in 2016 by the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation, well known for its Kanken test.

When you hear the word "kanji museum," you may somehow have an image of "stuffy ""small and difficult ", but the Kanji Museum is a theme park-like spot that even small children can enjoy!
The exhibits are not only for viewing, but also for listening, touching, and learning through experience, so visitors can enjoy learning about kanji while playing.

The Kanji Museum is divided into the first and second floors, with the first floor mainly devoted to the history of kanji and the second to exhibits where visitors can learn about the writing order of kanji characters, their calligraphic styles, and other knowledge.
The exhibition booths are all full of attractions! Although it depends on how crowded it is at the time, it is recommended to spend at least one hour to visit all the booths.

As a museum of Chinese characters, the museum is filled with them. Even the elevator pushbuttons are marked in Chinese characters.
Incidentally, toilets are indicated as "厠 (kawaya) "instead of "便所 ". The reason for the old-fashioned notation may be because it is in Kyoto. There are many unique devices outside of the exhibition floor.

Highlights and things to do on the 1st floor

The first floor of the Kanji Museum is lined with exhibits based on the concept of "seeing, hearing, and touching. Here are some of the highlights of the first floor and how to enjoy them!

First, check out this year's Kanji!

The first thing you will see upon entering is "Kanji of the Year® ". The Kanji of the Year® is a set of kanji that represents the year in which it is written, and is announced at Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto on December 12 each year.
The event was started in 1995 by the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation, and every year kanji characters are chosen through public competition.
The Kanji Museum is decorated with the latest Kanji of the year actually written by the priest of Kiyomizu-dera Temple, which is very powerful when seen up close.
Incidentally, on the left side of this year's Kanji is the Kanji of the year announced in the past, and on the right side is a ranking of the most popular Kanji from the public.

Find your name in the 50,000 Kanji Tower!

To the left of this year's kanji is a mysterious exhibit that at a quick glance is not quite clear.
This is actually an exhibit called "Kanji 50,000 Character Tower," which contains 50,000 kanji characters from the "Dai Kanwa Jiten (Large Kanji-Japanese Dictionary) ", which is said to be the best Kanji dictionary.
The tower with an endless number of kanji characters on it has, in a sense, a greater impact than this year's kanji.

The 50,000-character tower is filled with a wall full of kanji, from the familiar to the incomprehensible and difficult to read.
There is a sign nearby that says "Find your name ", but when I actually tried it, it was very difficult to find. It is not a difficult kanji, but for some reason I could not find it at all.
It's almost closing time just looking for my name here. If you have time, please try it.

Study carefully with the Kanji History Picture Scroll

Behind this year's kanji, a 30-meter picture scroll is on display, where visitors can learn about the history of kanji.
It contains detailed information about the roots of kanji that we do not know, such as when kanji were created and how they were used.

Learn about the evolution of writing materials and tools.

On the other side of the historical picture scroll of Chinese characters, visitors can see exhibits that allow them to learn about the evolution of writing materials and tools.
Various tools used to transmit letters, such as tools called sand boards, bronze vessels, paper, and Japanese word processors, are on display and can be touched.
You can enjoy it more if you alternate along the history written in the picture scrolls.

The final step should be to complete the experience sheet!

When touring the first floor, don't forget to have the experience sheet given to you upon entry!
These experience sheets are used at tables 1 through 5 on the first floor of the Kanji Museum.
You can learn about kanji while having fun by rubbing the Koukouji fortune-telling section to divine your fortune for the day, or by pressing the Manyogana stamp for the character used in your name.

Highlights and things to do on the 2nd floor

After learning about the history of Chinese characters on the first floor, let's proceed to the second floor.
On the second floor, exhibits based on the concept of "learning through fun and play" are displayed, allowing visitors to learn about kanji while literally playing games and moving their bodies.
Children and adults alike are sure to enjoy the experience! Here are some of the highlights and ways to enjoy the second floor.

The Bushu combination touch panel karuta heated up!

The second floor features a variety of hands-on booths where visitors can make kanji characters with their bodies, create their own original kanji, and more.
All of the exhibits are interesting, but the most glowing of them all is the combination of heads touch panel.
This is a touch-panel game in which up to four players can play against each other to create the correct kanji by combining cards with the radicals and letters of the theme. By the way, you can play up to two games.
It looks easy, but when you actually try it, it seems more difficult than you imagine.
It is fun to play alone or against family and friends, so please give it a try.

High degree of difficulty! Try Kanji Kaiten Sushi

The next challenge is Kanji Kaiten Sushi. In this game, you choose your favorite sushi item from the spinning sushi and guess the correct kanji character for that item to earn points. You can choose 5 items per game and answer the questions.
Be careful not to answer the questions incorrectly, or the fish will be disfigured. Watch the hints displayed in the lower left corner of the screen to clear the problem.

The difficulty level of the questions and the points you receive depend on the color of the plate.
The higher points for the golden plates are more challenging, and the questions are all at a level that even adults would struggle with, such as "largemouth fish (cod) ""konoshiro (konoshiro) ".
However, the system is set up so that you must answer all questions correctly on a golden plate to receive the full 100 points, so if you are aiming for a high score, be sure to try the harder questions.

Commemorative photo at interesting photo spots

On the second floor of the Kanji Museum, there are not only experience booths, but also photo spots such as a giant yunomi and face-framed panels.
The giant cups are lined with kanji characters for fish. If you stop by after trying Kanji Kaiten Sushi, you may be able to read the kanji with ease.

This is a face-framed panel from the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation. It is quite a surreal panel, but since it is written in Kyoto dialect, it is perfect for those who want to take a picture to commemorate their visit to Kyoto.
In addition, a face-framed panel with kanji characters for rice is also available. This is another unusual panel, so be sure to take a picture of it to commemorate the event.

Lastly, let's test our strength in the Kanji test!

At the Kanken by Game corner, visitors can try their hand at Kanken games using a tablet or Nintendo DS. This is a good place to stop by at the end of your visit.
After seeing the various exhibits, you will surely be more knowledgeable about kanji. Be sure to find out how much you know when you leave.

Don't miss the souvenir store on your way back!

After visiting the Kanji Museum, stop by the souvenir store.
Located on the first floor, "Gion Matsuri Gyarary "offers a variety of Kanji and kanji goods and Gion Matsuri related souvenirs.
Many of the souvenirs have Japanese motifs, making them popular among foreign tourists.
Some items are only available here, such as limited edition medals and gyarary exclusive print stickers, so why not purchase them as a memento of your trip?

When visiting the souvenir store, you should also take a look at the giant Hoko float that towers over the entrance.
This is a replica of the Hoko used in the Gion Festival, one of the three major festivals in Kyoto, and stands 7 meters tall and weighs 6 tons.
There is a huge monitor in the shape of a folding screen near the floats, which shows a video of the Gion Festival and other events. The duration of the show is approximately 15 minutes.
"If you would like to visit the Gion Festival but don't have a good time to go ...... ", please come here to experience the Gion Festival on your way home from the Kanji Museum.


The Kanji Museum is a new kind of spot where visitors can enjoy learning about kanji.
Unlike shrines and temples, they can be visited at leisure, unaffected by weather, and are recommended not only for travel but also as a date spot or a destination for parents and children.
Not only can you play, but you can also see many valuable exhibits such as this year's Kanji characters and Gion Festival floats, so please visit the Kanji Museum on your next trip to Kyoto.

"Facility Information "
Address: 〒605-0074 Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Higashiyama-ku, Gion-cho South 551
Phone number: 075-757-8686
Opening hours: Weekdays: 11:00-17:00, Tugay Wishing Day: 9:30-17:00
Closed: Mondays, Tuesdays, Year-end and New Year holidays *Special holidays apply.

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