Toys Nostalgia

Cherry Blossoms Trip Part VII

The Arima Toy Museum is located next to the Arima Hot Springs (有馬溫泉) in the northern suburbs of Kobe, Japan. Behind Mount Rokko (六甲山), the Arima Hot Springs is a hidden gem, it even offers a free (!) pool of hot sprint for you to sit around the pool side and put your feet in the hot water bath. The Toy Museum has an extensive collection of old toys, which certainly evoked memories of my parents’ childhood, but probably they are way behind my era. Nonetheless, these toys are fantastic in a way that they are delicately made from wood and their colors are bright and vivid and full of imagination. All the toys here are marvelous works of art.


I took out my Tamron 60mm Macro lens (A-mount) to capture these small objects. I’m still getting used to this lens, especially the narrow depth of field with macro photography. I especially like the picture on the lower left, in which there was an animated toy figure (a dinosaur and a hero, I suppose), and the hero would spin around with his head barely missing the closing jaws of the monster. Quite hilarious actually, if only I could make a movie recording the animation! The figure in kimono was also delicately made.


On a counter there was a staff member demonstrating some of the toys on show in the museum. He certainly was gifted in his work, although we barely understood what he said, but his body language and lively demonstration attracted rounds of applause!

Personally, I think the masterpiece in the Museum was the miniature town, in Western European style. It does look like it’s taken out from a Disney movie, isn’t it? With the castle on top of a hill and a railway and river running across the vintage town… it certainly made the kids in the tour very happy.


The toys collection cannot be complete without these wonderful creatures… bears! Bears represent the soul of our blog, we are happy to see a smiling bear holding his heart out for you to see. We also were awed by the realistic replica of Titanic, the unsinkable gigantic ship.


Just out of the Toy Museum, we were greeted by some of the hot springs of the Arima district, which contains one of the oldest hot springs in the whole of Japan. The following picture depicts the dripping water from the hot spring, travelers can collect this water in a small bowl and try its taste. We dared not to, as prudently advised by our guide, that the spring water smells strongly of sulphur. A couple of foreigners were brave enough to try, though!

This north part of Kobe is also lined with pink sakura trees. The red bridge, its real name forgotten, was a local landmark. A river runs from high up in the Mount Rokko down to the plains, and a small waterfall can be seen. Tourists, immersed in the spirit of Hanami festival, eagerly took pictures of the running stream of water, the bridge and the full blossom.



To end our day, we had a very decent meal at a barbeque shop. It was a small outlet, however, we ordered some Kobe beef ourselves and it tastes heavenly. The grilled beef was so tasty that it’s hard to describe the feeling in words. Too bad I could not find any photos of such delicious food!