“Kappa” are Japan’s most famous monster, and places all over the nation have legends about them that have been told for many generations. They are said to live in lakes and ponds, to be about the size of a child, and to have green skin, plates on their head, small beak-like mouths, and turtle shells on their backs. They’ll pull pranks on you if you go swimming in rivers, their favorite food is cucumber, and they’re good at sumo… Weird but somehow cute, that’s the kind of “kappa” you’ll encounter at the Kaiyodo Kappa Museum. Inside, approximately 1,300 creations that have been submitted for the “Shimanto River Kappa Figure Contest” are on display. They are all of high quality, as expected of a project sponsored a company known for making figurines like Kaiyodo. These unique kappa represent their creators’ personal visions of the creatures, and their displays crowd the room. There is also a shop selling original merchandise and a hands-on experience corner inside.
The museum is located in the mountains of Shimanto and surrounded by nature; a perfect place for kappa. The museum was built by Kochi craftsmen using Shimanto’s natural resources: Japanese cedar and red clay. It has a new, but somehow nostalgic atmosphere. You can also play on the banks of the nearby Utsui River, the kind of place that looks like it might be home to a real kappa.
685 Utsuigawa, Shimanto Town, Takaoka County, Kochi Prefecture
Kaiyodo Kappa Museum TEL: +81-880-29-3678
Business hours :
10:00 to 18:00 (from March 1 to Oct. 31) (Visitors must enter by 17:30) 10:00 to 17:00 (from Dec. 1 to Feb. 28) (Visitors must enter by 16:30)
●About a 60-minute walk from JR Utsuigawa Station on Shikoku Railway ●About a 2-minute walk from near the museum on Hokuban Kanko Okuutsuigawa-Kitanogawa bus line (there is no bus stop in the area, but you can ask the bus driver to stop near the museum) ●About a 30-minute drive from Shimantocho-Chuo Interchange on Kochi Expressway
●500 yen per person for adults ●300 yen per person for elementary/secondary school students ●10% discount for groups & disabled persons