A Pocketful of Adventures in the Doraemon Museum

Doraemon: the Amazing Cat Robot

Who is Doraemon?

A blue robot cat from the future, Doraemon is probably one of the internationally renowned Japanese animated characters.  This particular character is blue and round. He can walk on his two feet and can talk like a human. Although designed to be a domesticated animal, Doraemon is intelligent but also childish at the same time. He has a red collar adorned with a giant bell. Anyone looking at the image of Doraemon would not immediately understand that he is a cat, due to the curious fact that he does not have ears (an incident which would be explained in one of the episodes of the series).  

Other than the fact that Doraemon is a robot cat, one of his features (magical powers) that makes him interestingly special is his four-dimensional tummy pocket where he stores all kinds of gadgets and gizmos. This special pocket has an immeasurable size because it can fit any gadget regardless of size, shape, and weight. According to his descriptions, these gadgets he has handy in his pockets are everyday items from the future. Hilariously enough, most of the time the gadgets he produces create more harm than good.

Main Plot of the Doraemon Series

As the backstory of the show goes, Doraemon is owned by a young boy named Sewashi from the 22nd century. The young boy sent this robot through a time machine to the 20th century to guide a young boy named Nobita Nobi, Sewashi’s great-great-grandfather. Based on what Sewashi knew, the experiences of Nobita as a growing boy (which often include bullying) has hindered him from becoming the great man he should have become causing suffering and poverty to his descendants centuries later. Doraemon should now guide Nobita through his younger years and protect him from unwanted bullies. The series would go on to tell the adventures of Nobita and Doraemon.

The Fun Characters of Doraemon

  • Doraemon – A friendly and intelligent robot cat which was sent from the future to help a young boy named Nobita to go through obstacles while growing up. Although he is intelligent, there are times that panic gets the better of him and creates very funny incidents during the show.

  • Nobita Nobi – The main protagonist of the show, he is a wimpy young boy often bullied and abused by local bullies in the neighborhood. He is the best friend of Doraemon. Speaking of wimpy, this boy is known to be uncoordinated, clumsy, frail, and lazy. He is not great with school nor with protecting himself against bullies. Despite his frail personality, he is known to be kind, honest, courageous, and hardworking.  

  • Shizuka Minamoto -  Nobita’s good friend and love interest. Because Nobita and Shizuka are good friends, the latter is always sure to encourage her friend in times of need. She accepts Nobita for what he is and helps him become better.

  • Takeshi Goda -     The main antagonist of the show, also known as ‘Gian’ this particular character is known as the biggest bully in Nobita’s life. He is known to ‘borrow’ toys and things from other children without the intention of returning them. The hilarious thing about Gian is that he is a frustrated singer, who often holds concerts and recitals boastfully and confidently. He often uses threats to make other kids watch his horrible performances.

Doraemon Museum (Full Movies)

There are some channels on Youtube that features a few full episodes and snippets from the series. This is for the younger generation of today who don’t have access to local Japanese stations and don’t have the chance to watch Doraemon episodes on TV. The Doraemon museum is based on many of the show’s episodes and movies.

One of recent popular Doraemon installment was a 3D film about how Doraemon and his friend Nobita needed to part because the former finally completed his mission (See Stand By Me Doraemon 2014). The latest animated film is the Doraemon the Movie 2017: Nobita’s Great Adventure in the Antarctic Kachi Kochi a story about how Doraemon accidentally transported Nobita and his friends to Ice Age.

Doraemon Museum Special Features

The Doraemon Museum, also known as the Fujiko F. Fujio Museum is one of the child-friendly art museums in Japan. It is based on the hit TV series ‘Doraemon’ which was popularized in the early 1970s. This show became quite popular with the youth that it continues to run up to this day. In fact, some movies and episodes still air in Japan until today.

Original Artwork from Fujiko Fujio

Fujiko F. Fujio is the manga artist who created and developed the Doraemon installment. He continued to write the manga until his death in 1996, at the age of 62. The museum is actually a tribute to his work and career. The entire first floor of the museum is dedicated to an extensive collection of his artwork. The museum features an exhibition of original watercolor paintings from the original manga in the 1970s. There are stencils and sketches which are all original works of Fujio.

By Jason Smith [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Other than his artwork, there is an exhibition of personal articles and items that used to belong to the writer. This gives an extensive view of how much work animation was before the influx of digital technology. It showed young children of today how difficult it was to create a single episode back in the day and help them appreciate animated art a little bit more.

Film Showing in the Theatre

On the second floor of the museum is a small theatre which shows many of the popular episodes and movie installments of the series. Every twenty minutes, a new original short film is being shown in this theatre. The museum boasts that many of these are unpublished and cannot be seen anywhere else but the Doraemon museum. These films are definitely not on Youtube. There are many articles online about these films and a two-hour stay can let a person enjoy two short movies inside the theatre.

Manga reading room

The manga reading room features volumes upon volumes of Doraemon manga available to museum visitors. This place is known as the Manga corner where people (especially adults who grew up with the manga) can spend their full two-hour stay reading these comics.

Rooftop playgrounds

There are spaces inside the museum where visitors can see, touch, and take pictures with main characters of the series. One particular place where all of them are lifelike in size would be the rooftop playground best enjoyed by young children. What makes this place special is that there is a surrounding greenery in this playground which makes it cool during the summer and less cold during the winter. There are slides, swings, and other play equipment as well as benches and tables around the area. This place is usually dark at night and closes much earlier than other parts of the museum for the safety of young children.

Souvenir Shop and Cafe

To round up all the cuteness of the museum, visitors should not miss the Museum café and Gift Corner on the third floor. Most of the items on the menu feature cute Doraemon faces. They even have Doraemon’s favorite snack called the Dorayaki, which is a sponge cake filled with sweet azuki bean paste. The gift corner, on the other hand, has lots of interesting items which are not sold in any place in Japan, even the main souvenir shop on the ground floor.


Doraemon Museum Japan Travel Tips

Where to get a Doraemon Museum ticket

For those wishing to travel to the Doraemon museum in Japan, it is an important thing to remember that tickets are not sold at the museum gates. Advance reservations are needed before admission to the museum. The tickets must always be purchased in advanced either in different ticket outlets or online. The good thing is that these museum tickets are sold in Lawson convenience stores all of Japan through what is known as the Loppi ticket machines and are always sold one month in advance. The ticket can also be purchased through the online ticketing system of the Lawson convenience store.

An important tip for foreigners wishing to purchase a ticket is that both the Loppi ticket machine and Lawson website are in the Japanese language. However, there are guided instructions available online showing which button or links to click. Furthermore, there are timeslots (or also known as entry times) available when buying tickets which include 10:00 AM, 12:00 NN, 2:00 PM, and 4:00 PM. This means that a person can only enter the premises at a certain date within a specific duration of time during the day. The purpose of this may be to control the traffic inside the museum and allow maximum enjoyment for visitors.

What is the Doraemon Museum ticket price

A standard ticket for a regular adult costs 1,000 yen. For students in between middle school and high school admission tickets would cost 700 yen. For students aged between grade school and middle school, tickets would be much cheaper at 500 yen. It might be helpful to remember that purchases through websites other than the Lawson electronic ticketing system may cost around 1,000 yen more than regular priced tickets.

珈琲牛乳 [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Opening hours of the Doraemon Museum

Doraemon museums all over the country usually open at 10:00 in the morning and close at 6:00 in the evening. The museum is usually closed during the New Year holidays and Tuesdays. However, it does not close during the largest celebration in Japan, the Golden Week. Although the museum is open between 10:00 AM and 6:00 PM, there are specific entry times for every ticket owner. They can only explore the premises within a duration of two hours. This is just enough time to enjoy all the features of the museum.

Access to the Doraemon Museum

Doraemon Museum from Tokyo

The distance between the main business district of Tokyo to Kawasaki is about 17.66 km. This means that anyone traveling to Tokyo can easily access the Doraemon museum in Kawasaki. It can easily access via bus, train, or car. The easiest way would be to take the JR Tokaido line from Tokyo station to get down at the Kawasaki station. This route usually takes about 20 minutes.

Doraemon Museum from Yokohama

Another city quite near to Kawasaki where the Doraemon museum is located would be Yokohama. It is said that the city of Kawasaki is ‘sandwiched’ between Tokyo and Yokohama. Where the latter is in the south and Tokyo is in the north. In fact, Yokohama is nearer Kawasaki than Tokyo as the distance between the two smaller cities is 11 kilometers. Any individual traveling to Kawasaki from Yokohama should take the JR Tokaido line through the Yokohama station which is 7 minutes away from the Kawasaki station.

Doraemon Museum from Osaka

At a rough distance of 395 kilometers, anyone traveling from Osaka just to see the Doraemon museum must either take the Shinkansen or a plane when traveling. Those traveling by train must go down at Tokyo Haneda or Narita airport then take a 20-minute train to Kawasaki station. Plane rides usually take roughly two to three hours. However, those who wish to take the regular bus route will take 10 hours to travel from Osaka to Kawasaki. Riding the train is much faster at only 2 hours and 59 minutes.

Doraemon Museum from Sapporo

Compared to Osaka, Sapporo in Hokkaido is much farther away to the Doraemon Museum than many popular destinations all over Japan. The feel of the museum is similar to the Wakuwaku Sky Park in the Chitose Airport in Hokkaido which is an activity area for children waiting on long connecting flights. On a yearly basis, a lot of people go to Sapporo for vacations. However, short side trips to Tokyo are common and they could include the Doraemon museum to their itineraries. Anyone who wishes to drive to Kawasaki from Sapporo can travel a total distance of about 1,200 kilometers. Anyone wishing to drive that length will take about 16 and a half hours.