Storyteller Museum / Amusement houseSantome have a couple of English maps with this feature listed as an Amusement House which doesn’t do much to describe this place. In Japanese it is called a Kataribe Kan. Kan, although not literally as a stand alone character, means museum. And ultimately that is what the Kataribe kan is: an old house turned into a museum displaying household and farm goods from previous eras… as well as taxidermied animals (eek!) and a foot spa! Kataribe means “talk” in English, but the etymology of the word is more indicative of why it was selected for Santome’s museum. Kataribe were a clan of professional narrators of legends and folktales in the service of the Imperial court in bygone days! And the 2nd floor of the museum is used for traditional kamishibai storytelling.
Outdoors at the Storyteller Museum SantomeFilling the outdoor pump was one of the four highlights of the visit for them. The other three were the foot spa, the Showa period toys you can play with and the top of their list: the kamishibai. The well and pump are in the garden, as you might expect, where there is also a watermill and performance stage. This is where the foot spa is too, tucked away in a corner. The foot spa typically closes an hour before the rest of the village. They leave out clean towels for you to use freely to wipe your feet after the very relaxing (and very popular) spa. On one end of the garden is a shed with showa, taisho and even meiji period paraphernalia . There is such a mishmash of antiques on display including the 3 wheeled yellow van pictured, reminiscent of Del Boy’s iconic Reliant Regal in Only Fools and Horses, has become somewhat a symbol of the museum.
Indoors at the Storyteller Museum
The ground floor showcases a range of household items from previous eras including cooking utensils, household luxuries, clothes, toys and (regrettably) creepy taxidermied animals! We have been to the Showa museum in Ome previously, which didn’t engage the children because the toys on display were behind locked glass cases. At least in Santome they have a lot of old toys out for kids to play with. The kids were quite impressed by some of the toys. There were even a few that they “wished” were available in “our era”! You have to take quite a steep staircase to get to the 2nd floor which is smaller than the first. It is an open space with some art displayed and some information about anime. They leave out a kamishibai theater and one story with props. They change the story periodically. Children can regale the story themselves or if you time it right you can enjoy the story being told by some of the staff of Santome.
Kunogi no Mori Environmental Schoolhttp://santome-community.com/facility/environment/ Outside the environmental school there is a rest area with some chairs and a table. There is a small vending machine beside it with a limited choice of drinks, but it does sell water. If you are a smoker; there is an ashtray here. Thankfully it is away from where children are playing. I didn’t notice any other ashtrays in other parts of Santome except at the bus stop by the reception building. There are toilets on the other side of this building too. Santome also run a number of open events during the year. Events include fruit and vegetable picking, cooking classes, rice paddie play, baking bread and more. Another post will follow on that in the future, but in the meantime if you read Japanese there is more information available here: http://santome-community.com/events/
Santome Storyteller Museum and Environmental School AccessRegardless of where you plan to play in Santome the first stop is always the main reception building “Koryu plaza”. Koryu plaza is where you pay and get your entrance sticker. It is where both the main car park and the bus stop is. The storyteller museum and Kunogi No Mori Environmental school are on the opposite side of the road to this area. You have to walk through the truck access road past part of the plant (that isn’t on the plant tour). There is a tunnel you can use for safety and the trucks give way to pedestrians at the crossings. You can get a bus from Fujimino Station on the Tobu Tojo line at the west exit rotary, for 「くぬぎの森交流プラザ」. It takes about 30 minutes to the plant. The timetable for the bus: http://santome-community.com/access/ (Japanese only). By car the plant is about 20 minutes on route 463 from the Tokorozawa Interchange of the Kanetsu expressway. For your car navi: 「三芳町上富1589-2」or phone number「049-259-1177」. Parking costs 500 yen for the day on Saturdays and Sundays only.
Santome Part 1
Santome Part 2
- Kawagoe Styrofoam Art 2019
- Saitama Norin Park | FUKAYA
- Chic Cafe with garden and kids glamping play area | HIGASHIMATSUYAMA
- Meiji Chocolate Factory Tour | SAKADO
- Tokorozawa Aviation Memorial Park | TOKOROZAWA
- Visiting Totoro at the house of Kurosuke | TOKOROZAWA
- Perfect for the rainy season; baths and play area in You Park | OGOSE
- New quirky and trendy cafe “Puisto” in Moomin Valley | HANNO
- Environmental School and Storyteller Museum, Santome Part 3 | MIYOSHI
- Ishizaka Environmental and Educational Plant tour, Santome PART 2 | MIYOSHI