Aton Toy Museum: 30,000 Vintage Toys in Nara More Showa-Era toys than you can shake a stick at

    After 7 years of business in the Osaka Karahori Shopping Arcade, Aton-Omocha-kan (or Aton Toy Museum) moved to the Northern part of historical Asuka village in Nara prefecture in September 2002. Although the store itself is rather small, it boasts about 30,000 toys and goods from the Showa period. If you're like me and love to be surrounded by colorful, old timey toys, this is a one-of-a-kind place you can't miss.

    Street corner near the Aton Toy Museum
    A building near the Aton Toy Museum

    The museum is nestled in a quiet neighborhood. Charming and quaint, but not the kind of place you'd expect to find 30,000 vintage toys. The only hint for the unsuspecting traveler is the inconspicuous sign and shadowy Ultraman poster.

    The path leading to the Aton Toy Museum entrance

    But turn the corner and POW! You'll be given a small hint that something eccentric awaits you in this house.

    Several trinkets and an Ultraman tarp at the museum
    Statue of Ultraman and porcelain signs at the entrance

    Immediately upon passing through the gate, you are visually bombarded with an infantry of familiar goods from the good old days. Among them is Ultraman, keeping watch in front of the door.

    A plethora of various toys and school supplies

    Once Ultraman allows you to enter, you will be greeted by a dizzying number of toys. Your eyes will move so quickly that you'll see everything, but take in nothing. At first it's just a barrage of color. Once your mouth closes and your feet return to the floor, you'll start to appreciate how many toys there actually are.

    Glass case of various figurines
    A wall adorned with Ultraman masks

    I understand wanting to stop and investigate all the toys. Instead, you need to fight that initial urge and head straight down the aisle to the counter and pay your admission fee first. It's 300 yen for adults and 100 yen for kids. Once you're all paid up, you can start your vintage omochi おもちゃ adventure.

    Cylinder of vintage toy cars at the Aton Toy Museum

    Every corner has something. This revolving cylinder of cars alone could hold your attention a long while.

    The interior of the Aton Toy Museum

    There's no hot water to soak in at this museum. But don't you feel the warmth of all the toys around you? Haven't you always wanted to soak in toys?

    A large model of an orange colored Godzilla

    This Godzilla ate too many carrots.

    Vintage toys in glass cases and tin signs
    Two large toys of Godzilla

    Of course, what is a toy store without a couple Godzillas? It appears that this man is stuck between creatures that eat both rocks and hard places.

    A toy robot surrounded by vintage cans

    If monsters take up residency in a place, you know that robots are nearby as well. This particular robot looks rather friendly, don't you think? The lion on his chest is sporting quite the happy grin. Like it just walked out of a café in Portland, coffee in one hand, vintage Cat Stevens LP in the other.

    A couple of signs with a doll of Licca-chan

    Here is the Japanese Barbie, Licca-chan! Her style and accessories reflect Japanese tastes at the time she was released.

    A shelf of small statues and figurines

    Omg! So many. I felt like I was standing up on a stage when I passed by here. What should I perform, my cheerful audience?

    How many of these characters do you know?

    A variety of vintage toy boxes on a shelf

    A variety of school goods for kids in the Showa era, I assume.

    A table of vintage school supplies and Rubik's cubes
    A pile of Japanese notebooks

    At the end of your tour of the museum, you can write your own review in their notebook. No Yelp here. They have kept every notebook since its opening and it's fun to read what other people have said about this place.

    Aton Toy Museum

    Pros

    • Not too many places out there with so many toys and accessories from the old days.
    • Quite affordable

    Cons

    • If you're young, you might be too young to know about any of these Showa Era toys.
    • Not particularly accessible.

    Overall Rating

    7

    Accessibility Rating

    2

    Fun Rating

    9

    Uniqueness Rating

    8

    Additional Information

    336 Koyama
    Asuka-Mura, Nara Prefecture 634-0101
    Japan

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