Hello from Japan!

September 22, 2018 - January 6, 2019

Get a taste of life in Japan today and discover how old and new traditions live and thrive side by side. Come play!  
Children will have fun learning about life in present-day Japan in this playful, highly immersive exhibit starting Saturday, September 22 at Creative Discovery Museum. Families will be transported to two distinct areas of Tokyo that exist side by side: one serene and exquisite, the other, too cute for words. Together, the exhibit highlights how old and new traditions coexist in Japan today, giving visitors a family-friendly window into Japanese culture.

Kawaii Central

This area is a child-sized streetscape with candy-colored storefronts, inspired by Tokyo's bustling Harajuku district, with its trendy shops, fun food offerings and whimsical fashion. You know Hello Kitty. Now get to know where the global phenomena was born. See how a design sense and philosophy that includes everything from fashion accessories to food to lovable characters has taken Japan, and now the world, by storm. Fun Fact: kawaii, meaning cute, is pronounced like Hawaii.
In Dress Kawaii, visitors play dress-up with kawaii fashion and accessories. The Purikura Photo Booth offers two adorable monitors for memory-making picture taking. Like the photo booths in Japan, visitors are invited to personalize their photos by decorating them with fun digital stickers. They can then send them home to share with family and friends. In Katakana Club visitors try their hand at writing in Japanese using our fun, custom-made app, while learning about the fruits and vegetables of Japan.  Pop Pop Karaoke almost needs no explanation - along with the flashing lights and child-friendly disco atmosphere, visitors will learn to sing in Japanese! Visitors can sing recognizable tunes like Twinkle, Twinkle and more traditional Japanese children's songs. Bento Joy invites visitors to pretend play serving up beautiful Japanese cuisine in a restaurant setting. In Streets of Japan visitors can load up a truck with adorable traffic accessories, including replicas of rabbit-shaped barriers and cartoon manhole covers, before driving off into a busy street. 

At the end of the streetscape, a half-modern, half-traditional bridge, symbolizing the juxtaposition of the two environments, leads from the contemporary urban setting into a natural Shinto Shrine park.  

Shinto Shrine Park

Visitors see authentic footage featuring the walk from the Harajuku District to a Shinto shrine and can challenge themselves to construct a bridge with intricate wooden blocks that resembles the traditional half of the exhibit bridge. Upon entering the Shinto shrine park, visitors are greeted by a magical dragon-flanked water fountain, sprawling wishing tree and majestic wooden shrine building. A walk-through forest beckons little ones to find Jizo, a traditional Buddhist figure who protects children and travelers. Families learn about kami spirits including kitsune (foxes) and can write wishes on traditional plaques called ema and tie them around the wishing tree. Visitors are offered a taste of the real experience of visiting a shrine with the bright orange fortune-telling machine, direct from Japan, along with footage from shrine festivals, summoned up by pulling on a massive traditional shrine bell. A nature scene mural that has unexpected kami spirits lurking from within, adds to this magical, fun exploration of a traditional Japanese environment. A kimono photo-op rounds out the experience!

Freeman Foundation Asian Culture Exhibit Series

  Hello from Japan! was part of the Freeman Foundation Asian Culture Exhibit Series, funded by The Freeman Foundation and administered by Association of Children's Museums.

Sponsored locally by
Denso Athens
Japan Foundation New York