Finding something to do with kids on a rainy day or weekend can be a challenge in Japan but the World Children’s Art Museum in Okazaki, about 45 minutes from Nagoya, provides a creative environment for exploring art for all ages.
The World Children’s Art Museum in Okazaki is located on a wooded hill side over looking the Miai district of the city and is made of an open space for exerting energy, hill side paths for the older child and the main exhibit and exploratory halls. Of course everywhere you look or go there is art.
Many locals will spend a day off in the open space which has a fun Gaudi-naturalist period play equipment including a multi-colored climber that reminded me of a giraffe sticking its head in the ground, a roller slide and climbable animals.
On the opposite side of the open space is a building with a base made of mirrors and a second floor made into a kind of magical plastic forest which seemed to be inspired by Alice in Wonderland. It has slides, towers, and large mushrooms but sadly no hookah smoking caterpillars.
For my kids the really fun is inside the main building. You are welcomed by a neat statue that if seen from one side is upside down and another side right-side up. It rotates every minute or so to make it look like a boy flipping.
The galleries, to the right, have rotating exhibits dedicated to art that either has been made by children or is targeted to children. When we visited it was an exhibit of art made by Mongolian children while the following month was the the art of Osamu Tezuka. As a result, the entrance fee to the galleries changes with the exhibit but it’s never too expensive and children attending Okazaki schools are free.
For me, the best area of the museum is the creative zone to the left of the entrance. Here children and families can create their own masterpieces out of clay, paper mache, urethane, plastic beads and paint. Every so often, the museum brings in local artists and art teachers to instruct courses for children and their parents. These are designed to help children explore their creativity and expand their vision of the world. Courses and regular activities are only available on weekends and national holidays.
Over all the World Children’s Art Museum in Okazaki is a fun place where children and families can enjoy a day out exploring and creating art.
Name in Japanese: おかざき世界子ども美術館