Karuizawa Picture Book Forest Museum – Karuizawa, Japan - Atlas Obscura

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Karuizawa Picture Book Forest Museum

Karuizawa, Japan

Children's literature inside, forest all around. 


Nestled snugly in Japan’s fairytale Forest of Muse is the Karuizawa Ehon-no Mori Bijutsukan, the Karuizawa Picture Book Forest Museum.

Inspired by the verdant landscape of the Forest of Muse, a Scottish missionary named A.C. Shaw built a home in the forest in 1886, as it reminded him of his European roots. Growing from this humble beginning the Karuizawa Picture Book Forest Museum now holds 6,000 items across three buildings. The collection consists largely of western works of pictorial literature and children’s books including a number of first editions and rare printings. In addition to the books themselves there are a number of pieces of ephemera such as original illustrations.  

The museum grounds also include a book shop and a garden shop which, along with the exhibition buildings themselves, are arrayed around a large central garden where visitors can can relax with their newfound books. Situated directly across the street from its sister institution, Karuizawa Erz Toy Museum, the Picture Book Museum in Karuizawa is the perfect destination for travelers or families looking to enjoy a peaceful day mixing a little history with their nostalgia. 

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