Printing Museum

The Printing Museum is a corporate museum run by Toppan Printing, but the exhibits follow the history of printing in general as opposed to presenting the history of Toppan itself. The museum is located in the Toppan Koishikawa Building in Bunkyo-ku, about ten or fifteen minutes walk from the Edogawabashi (Yurakucho line), Iidabashi (JR Sobu, Tozai line, Nanboku line, or Oedo line), or Korakuen (Marunouchi line or Nanboku line) stations. It can be a bit complicated to get to the museum from any of these stations, so it is best to have a map (or a phone with a map app!)

Toppan Koishikawa Building
(taken from the Toppan website)

The museum has a decent English website as well as pamphlets in four languages (Japanese, English, Korean, Chinese). While special exhibits are normally only in Japanese, the permanent exhibition space is either bilingual (Japanese and English) or quadri-lingual. Video footage on the touch panel screens is either translated or provided with subtitles.

the permanent exhibition space
(taken from the museum website)

The permanent exhibition is a mix of original items, reproductions, touch panels with text and video footage, interactive components, and hands-on-activities. The exhibits chart the history of printing around the world, but it also looks at Japanese techniques, particularly an explanation of how woodblock prints were made and examples of early 20th century advertisements.

The museum also offers printing workshops in their "Printing House", which offer a chance to experience printing hands-on and make something to take home. Participation is limited and workshops are not offered every day, so be sure to check ahead if you want to time your visit.

Although the Printing Museum can be difficult to find, those who do will be rewarded with a fun and interesting museum experience. Definitely suitable for older kids and non-museum types too.

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