You know that Anpanman and his crew are entrenched in the hearts of Japanese people when it costs both adults and children ¥1800 to enter the Anpanman Children’s Museum in Fukuoka. The museum sure knows how to capitalise on its characters’ popularity, even charging ¥20 for a plastic bag. And who can really blame them when there is no lack of ready customers even on a Friday?
Whether the visit is worth ¥1800 is a question different families will answer differently. For me, I’m just relieved that there is a play area for infants to strut their catwalk. The sun filters through the transparent ceiling and windows, casting its warm glow on my warrior princess relieved to be stretching her wobbly legs at long last. 4 other play areas exist to entertain older kids: slides, a sand pit and a ball area and a bouncy mound.
Guess you can infer by now that despite its moniker, it’s not a gallery in which exhibits and artefacts enlighten you about the personalities of Anpanman and his crew. Think of it as an indoor theme park that comprises a town square. I quite like how people congregate near the stage during a character show and then disperse in all directions when it’s over. You sure won’t think that Japan is facing a baby crisis, given the sheer number of children watching the show!
Anpanman Children’s Museum is a consumerism trap, in which your children will be used as ammunition against you. There are just so many shops selling cute Anpanman merchandise, and I don’t see how any parent can leave the museum without coughing up tons of money. Case in point: a balloon costs ¥1700 yen. Despite my reluctance, I bought a balloon for my son, who declared he wanted everything in the museum. Parenting is cheap, says no parent ever.
Despite the heavy emphasis on consumerism, I did find some enjoyment here. At Uncle Jam’s Bakery, I had fun watching the staff using machines to imprint characters’ features on the bread. It’s always nice to see the conscientious, detail-oriented Japanese in action.