Tower of Transformers (Photo: Galayna Wade)

The Bandai Museum

A hidden gem for toy lovers

Tower of Transformers (Photo: Galayna Wade)
Linka Wade   - 3 min read

As soon as you arrive at the Bandai Museum, you enter a state of childish glee. From the parking lot, you can look through the tall glass walls and see a massive Gundam sculpture. I'm talking several stories tall here. Bronze sculptures of Ultraman characters stand out front, and more Gundams and other models are in the doorway to greet you. The short path to the ticket counter is filled with samples of the museum's treasures - action figures, plushies, and other toys that fill you with nostalgia.

Entrance to the museum is ¥1000 for adults, or ¥600 for children. There is an English brochure available at the counter, as well as the Japanese version. The museum doesn't take long to go through, maybe around 30 minutes to get a good look at everything. There are several areas to the museum - an Edison museum, a Japanese toys wing, world toys, and a hobby area. My favorite by far was the Japanese toys wing, where you can find a long history of Japanese entertainment. It starts with historic wooden tops and kokeshi dolls, and walks you through a room of every kind of vehicle imaginable. If you want a boat, train, car, or plane from any era - they've got it. Next you'll enter a "boy's toys" room with Gundams, Ultraman, Power Rangers, and more. Moving along, you'll find a tower of Transformers and toys from many favorite anime. The next room is for "girl's toys" that prominently features a display of all the Sailor Scouts and their wands. Of course, a whole wall is dedicated to Hello Kitty and the Sanrio empire.

The hobby area is also interesting, containing large models of Gundams and other mechs. Some models stand next to autographed plates from directors or producers. Star Wars and Lego masterpieces also make an appearance here.

The Edison museum walks you through the life of Edison and his inventions. There are some interactive areas and models as well. All the signage is in Japanese, however. Outside this room, there is an interesting display on the history of steam power.

The most eye-catching part of the museum is obviously the giant Gundam body, situated in the middle of the main room. The behemoth is surrounded by smaller Gundam models, and against the wall there are some model cockpits. You can even hop into one of the cockpits and play with all the levers and buttons your heart could desire.

Although the museum doesn't take long to go through, it truly is a feast for the eyes. Seeing all the different toys, familiar or not, brings out the urge to play. Embrace your inner child, and take a walk through a toy wonderland.

Getting there

The museum is open 10:00 am - 4:30 pm. The last entrance is at 4:00 pm.

By car, the museum can be accessed from Gunma by taking the Mibu exit off the Tohoku Expressway. From Utsunomiya, it is a 30 minute drive on Route 2.

Linka Wade

Linka Wade @galayna.wade

Elementary school ALT in Gunma Prefecture. I enjoy collecting goshuin and kokeshi, photography, history, and onsen. Check out my blog at for posts about travel, food, and the occasional spot of cultural research.