The Paper Museum by Cornelia [10 October 2005]

Located to one side of the fabulous Asukayama Park, the Paper Museum has an excellent exhibit, a small but tantalizing gift shop, and best of all, a washi (handmade Japanese paper) postcard-making event every Saturday and Sunday suitable even for very young children (from about 4 years old). Here are the details:

Paper Museum
1-1-3 Oji, Kita-ku, Tokyo 114-0002 JAPAN
Tel: 03-3916-2320, Fax: 03-5907-7511
Official Website: http://www.papermuseum.jp/en/
Access: 5 minutes from south exit of Oji Station (JR Keihin Tohoku and Namboku subway lines) and 2 minutes walk from Asukayama station (Toden Arakawa Streetcar)
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday (open Mondays if a public holiday and then closed the Tuesday following) from 10:00 - 17:00. Also closed during the New Year (about 28 Dec. to 4 Jan.)
Admission: Adult 300 yen, 6-18 years old 150 yen. Group of over 20, 20% discount.
The Museum Library is open when the museum is open but closes at 4:50.
Wheelchair access is 100% and a wheelchair can be borrowed (ask at front desk).
Recommended time allowance: 1.5 hours
There is a film program free to museum visitors of new or unusual short films each weekend afternoon. Photography is not allowed without prior permission.

The following information is copied from the Museum's English brochure:

"The Paper Museum was opened in 1950 in Horifune, Kita-ku, Tokyo located at the foot of Asukayama Park, the place where foreign-style paper was first manufactured in Japan in 1873. In 1997, the museum moved to its present location.

The Paper Museum contains about 38,000 exhibits of historic items relating to paper and preserves and interprets the history and significance of paper in the world. The floor space of this museum is 2,267.74 square meters."

Additional comments from a museum visitor who can not read or write Japanese:

There is some information in English. Not enough, though, to go with all the tantalizing displays! The paper recycling section was our favorite, but it was a hard choice. The playground right across from the museum is terrific. Using the ticket machine at the entrance was a bit tricky. Kids whose 6th birthday fall after 1 April are still considered "under 6" because they are not yet enrolled in Elementary school (so 6 year olds still in Kindergarten are free of charge). The handmade paper making was brilliant!

Paper Making from Recycled Milk Cartons - buy ticket to go into the museum, get a special chit from the front desk, and head down to the basement, Saturday or Sunday from 13:00 - 14:30!

Basically there are six steps.

  • Choosing form and water mark design.
  • Filling form with paper "sludge"made from milk cartons. The outer waxy layer had been removed by soaking in water and the resulting pulp has been washed with chlorox.
  • Lightly imbedding maple leaf for decoration.
  • Draining excess water.
  • Pressing out water.
  • Speeding up drying process with an electric iron... carefully!
You can do this at home! The museum sells the box form with one watermark choice in a kit with instructions (in Japanese). It costs about Y1500.

1. Filling form with sludge. 2. Draining form. 3. Removing washi from form.
4. Removing excess water. 5. Using press to remove water. 6. Removal from press.

These photos were taken in
June 2001. Thank you to the
models and their mums!
7. Ironing with care.

Related links and information:

Tokyo City English Information desk: 03-5320-7744
Tokyo Metropolitan / Tama Area Ward and City Offices
Japan With Kids - Forums: General Discussions: Museums and Exhibits

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