Kaiyodo Kappa Museum – Shimanto-chō, Japan - Atlas Obscura

Kaiyodo Kappa Museum

Shimanto-chō, Japan

A whimsical museum dedicated to the mischievous kappa, a mythical cucumber-loving water sprite. 


Surrounded by deep forests and built right by a river that would make a perfect home for the museum’s namesake, the Kaiyodo Kappa Museum is a little fairytale cottage in the middle of Kochi Prefecture.

For those unfamiliar with Japanese folklore, kappa are mythical creatures that live in lakes and ponds. They are small, reptile-like demons with green skin, beak-like mouths, and turtle shells on their backs. Kappa are tricksters who love to play pranks on (or, depending on which legend you hear, eat) those who swim in their vicinity. Despite this reputation, in Japan the little monsters are now often portrayed as cute, comical characters.

The Kappa Museum is run by Kaiyodo, a company that makes figurines, and is located just about five minutes from the Kaiyodo Hobby Museum. The Kappa Museum displays some 1,300 kappa figures; from samurai kappa to rather creepy creations, you will find every possible iteration of these beloved water sprites. Right behind the museum is a shrine dedicated to kappa, surrounded by hundreds of handmade wooden figures of the critters running riot. 

Know Before You Go

From Kochi City it takes about an hour and 10 minutes by car to reach the museum. Alternatively, visitors going by train should get off at JR Utsuigawa Station, then walk for 30 minutes or so.

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July 22, 2019

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