Shingo Modegi was a kite lover. He was also the first chef in Japan to be trained in the Cordon Bleu style. He was so in love with kites that, in 1977, he created the Tokyo Kite Museum to display his collection above his restaurant in Nihonbashi. Shingo has passed on, but you can still see his kite museum and visit his restaurant today.
His museum is a tiny place packed with enough kites of all shapes and sizes, which I think will thrill lovers of the hobby. There is something like 400 kites on display and another 3500 in storage that come from various countries including Australia, China, France, Indonesia, New Zealand and the U.S. You might think with 400 kites on display that the museum would be quite large, but that is not the case. Many of the kites are simply stacked on each other and some of them are tiny. In some cases, they are only centimeters long.
You can see ship kites, historical kites, animal and insect kites. Like many things, this pastime is only limited by the imagination – so many kites of different shapes and sizes. Some of the kites had real jobs to perform like the air gunnery kites that were used by the U.S. military during World War2. It even has a display of the famed kite maker Teizo Hashimoto`s workshop. And in one corner you’ll find a shop with kites and kite books on sale.
The unfortunate thing about the displays is that they could be given a little more loving care as many of them seem to be showing their age. Furthermore, due to the sheer number of kites in such a small space, it is sometimes difficult to see some kites completely.
If you are a kite fan, the Tokyo Kite Museum would be great for a visit. For other visitors, I feel, it will be just a quick look and then move on to the next place. You can see the museum’s website here.
How to get to the Tokyo Kite Museum
There are three subway lines that can get you to Nihonbashi station, the Toei Asakusa, Tokyo Metro Ginza and the Toei Metro Tozai. According to the museum's website, it is about a one-minute walk from Nihonbashi station`s C5 exit. There is a problem though, as the C5 exit is closed but will hopefully reopen sometime later this year (i.e. 2017). So you could leave via exit C4 as it is fairly close and make your way to the Taimeiken building and the museum is on the 5th floor. Here is a Google map here to show you its location:
The Kite Museum is open from 11 am to 5 pm, Monday to Saturday. It closed on Sundays and public holidays.
For adults, entrance is 200 yen, for children it is 100 yen.
If you enjoyed this article you might also enjoy:
Edo-Tokyo Museum - learn about the history of this great city
Inokashira park – the park for everyone in Tokyo
Japan Open-Air Folk House Museum – see how the Japanese used to live
Rainbow Bridge – a great walk over this fabulous bridge that has some great views
Zojoji – probably Tokyo’s most popular temples