Celebrating Doraemon - Fujiko F Fujio Museum in Kawasaki
If you are a fan of the master’s work, you would know that you have made the walk (see my previous article) and have arrived at the Fujiko F. Fujio Museum just by staring at the many pairs of eyes on the brick wall outside. They are all created following the drawing style of Fujiko F. Fujio, the creator of Doraemon and many other famous manga works. Almost everything in this museum reference something from the work, from the staff’s Doraemon watch to the sign reminding visitors that mice are NOT welcomed. The Fujiko F. Fujio museum is a sanctuary for fans like me.
One of the most interesting things about the museum is that it has a limit to visitors-per-day, capped by tickets which you must buy from convenience stores before going to the museum (there are no tickets sold at the entrance). The reason is that each visitor is handed a tour guide headset at the entrance. As you reach different stations of the exhibition, putting the number into the headset will give you an audio explanation of the piece in front of you. Having the visitor cap ensures that every visitor will have a headset to use and you explore the museum peacefully.
Exhibition Hall I
The first hall has about 50,000 pieces of the master’s original art work from his various series and short stories. Pieces of the hand-drawn drafts and final versions are displayed on the walls and cases, showing the process and effort of the work that eventually became the world's bestseller manga. These displays are on rotation to preserve the art work and to keep it fresh for your multiple visits.
Exhibition Hall II
When I visited the museum in the summer of 2014, the time-limited exhibition was the original arts of the most famous and heart-warming Doraemon manga chapters, such as “Sayonara Doraemon” and “Nobita’s Grandmother”. Photography wasn’t allowed in that room, but seeing these original works of the manga chapters that have moved me since I was little brought me close to tears, as I captured everything with my eyes into my heart. To be honest, I would have cried if I wasn’t surrounded by groups of families.
Minna-no-hiroba (Plaza for Everyone)
There are numerous displays and decorations on the 2nd floor. Many Doraemon tools are displayed along the walls. The TV above plays the opening themes of many of the anime. The one that impresses a lot of hardcore fans was the replica of Nobita’s house, showing the inside layout and all the things Nobita has lying around his messy room, from the daruma doll he received from his grandmother to the crumbled up 0-score test papers thrown on the room’s floor.
In one of the corners is a manga-reading area filled with comic books of Doraemon, Pa-man, Q-taro and many others. Groups of kids and adults alike gather there to take a break while flipping through pages of childhood entertainment. A couple of quiz machines were close by to test your Fujiko knowledge. If you like gacha-toys, you can get some exclusive toys from the machines on the 2nd floor too.
On the other side is the F Theater. In the theater, they project a museum exclusive anime on the 200 inches screen for the 100 audience seats. Each visitor can only watch it once, and they keep track by hole-punching your ticket when you enter. When I visited, it was a cross-over special between Doraemon and Kiteretsu Daihyakka, and it was a whole lot of nostalgic fun.
The characters live not only in the museum, but outside the building too! The outside area on the 3rd floor is a little walking path around a grass field where many life-size figures of the characters stand. It is relaxing, and an excellent place to take photos side-by-side with your favourite creations. This place also has some location props such as the Dokodemo-door and the field’s 3 metal pipes, which I am sure the Doraemon fans out there know exactly where I am talking about.
On the 3rd floor is also the museum’s café where character portraits fuse with the delicious meal or dessert. After walking around for hours, this is the perfect place to sit down and refill your stomach. Next to the café is also a little shop for baked goods and other Fujiko creation-themed edible souvenirs you can purchase and bring home.
Museum Gift Shop
Last but not least, be sure you have put away some time on your schedule to check out the Gift Shop on the way to the exit before leaving the museum. This place is shopping heaven for us fans, as you can find many exclusive and sometime time-limited goods only available for purchase here. Post cards, stationeries dolls, tablewares, posters…… your wallet might cry a little, but you will very likely to leave the shop with your hands full of Fujiko manga goods and your heart satisfied!
Walking around the museum brought me back to my childhood, and leaving this place made me really sad. But traces of Doraemon and other beloved characters are still around the city to walk you back to the train stations. This museum is a complete experience, filling my heart with dreams and happiness. If you like the blue robotic cat, even if you’re not as huge of a fan as I am, it is an amazing place to check out!