Traditional Japanese Toys   玩具

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Thousands of toys

Japanese children are lucky. They still have popular traditional toys that also serve as beautiful pieces of craftsmanship. Ideal as souvenirs.

There are many games and traditional Japanese toys. They may be made of wood or fabric, but they remain popular with children. Cheap and easy to replace, they are timeless and sometimes become real valuable handicrafts.

Taketombo

This is THE example of a timeless toy. A bamboo toy consisting of a propeller mounted on a stick. By rotating the stick between your palms, you can send the propeller flying several meters. This is the equivalent of paper airplanes, and children sometimes make these themselves.

Kendama

This is probably the best known. This is the Japanese variant of cup and bal, but a little more complex. The game is to pass the ball between the two cups on either side without making it fall. Easier said than done. Kendama was the subject of a recent trend that has spread outside Japan through online videos showing the dexterity of some players.

Koma

This is the Japanese spinning top. Very popular during the Edo period, children would compete by crashing the spinning tops against each other. Most are decorated in bright colors, red or green, or are lacquered.

Den den daiko

A toy that is offered to very young babies, it is often the first thing they grab. It is a small drum mounted on a handle. Two small balls attached to strings are located on each side. By rotating the handle the toy produces the characteristic sound of Japanese taiko drums. Babies love it.

Temari

A Japanese ball, which was historically made with  silk fabric - often recycled kimonos. The temari balls were played by girls by throwing them to each other. These balls quickly became the object of more complex and colorful patterns, sometimes becoming real small works of art that you would not want to bounce for anything in the world.

Don't all these toys make you wish you were a kid again!

Comments Read comments from our travellers

Where to buy

Where can I find traditional toys in Nagoya? Thanks