Kappa lovers — add Kochi Prefecture to your bucket list!

You can find kappa all over Japan, in cities and the countryside alike. You can even find them in the mountains of Kochi Prefecture in the form of a handmade figure museum dedicated entirely to kappa–what’s not to be curious about? Our reporter Takagi Haruka heard whisperings of such a place named Kaiyodo Kappa Museum and was intrigued enough to make the trek and see it for herself.

Kaiyodo is popular for making figures besides kappa, like animals and humans, but Haruka found it interesting that there was a place dedicated entirely to the Japanese yokai that loves to feast on cucumbers…and can suck a human’s soul out through their anus.

▼ Get ready for some countryside scenery on your way there.

The museum is located in the Shimanto area and can be accessed by bus, which takes around ten minutes from Utsuigawa Station. Haruka, however, had stayed at a hotel in Shimanto City and rode her bike there, which took about an hour. The roads were so narrow that she wasn’t sure how this could classify as a two-lane road for cars. She found kappas even before the kappa museum, like on this bridge.

And in the parking lot of the museum…

…even more kappas!

And more kappas!

And…well, you get the picture.

There are even kappas under the benches.

These ones are by Yamamoto Yuuichi, an artist who creates his works with chainsaws.

This was just the beginning of the kappa invasion, though, because when Haruka entered the building…

…the first thing she saw was a small kappa on the hand sanitizer pump and label.

The first exhibit Haruka saw inside was a display of the winners of a Kappa art contest.

Some were cute, some were quirky, and some were incredibly detailed. There were no size or material specifications for this contest, so they were widely varied.

One kappa, which was made entirely out of tiny puzzle pieces, was titled “1st Grade Kappa“, and he wore a randoseru backpack made of puzzle pieces.

As for big pieces, there was this metal one that had to be hauled in using a two-ton truck. According to the caption, the artist pulled all-nighters after work for six months in order to finish it.

Haruka saw so many kappa that she thought her skin would start turning green like one of them. Not one kappa looked the same as the others.

One of Haruka’s favorite pieces was this one titled Kappa no Kyun.

Haruka thought the piece looked like a tragic little person in kappa form. From the sparkling eyes to the realistic cucumber in its hand, Haruka was captivated.

She also liked the exhibit of kappas made out of plastic PET bottles. There were over 30 different kappas!

Rounding out her top three was this kappa made of fabric. The face reminded her of Yoda.

She didn’t think it was cute, but she also found it impossible to hate. She imagined its longing eyes were locked onto a cucumber in the distance.

▼ Haruka found more and more creations as she moved through the museum, both high and low.

▼ She even found some in the bathrooms!

▼ And some appeared with their animal friends–or maybe not friends.

Even though kappas seemed to appear behind her eyelids when she closed her eyes, Haruka wanted a souvenir to remember this journey by.

▼ She chose this wood carved kappa for 1,100 yen (US$7.76).

And of course, she took some commemorative photos at photo spots outside and inside.

Though Haruka had gone through the entire museum at this point, she still had the question in her mind: why was this museum in the middle of the mountains in Kochi? Well, the creator of Kaiyodo, Osamu Miyawaki, is from the town next door, Kurishio.

▼ The Kappa Museum is actually an off-shoot of the main Kaiyodo Hobby Museum just up the road.

There are shuttle buses between the two museums if you want to check it out!

So if you’re as into kappa as Haruka is or you want to check out something decidedly off the beaten path, consider visiting the Kaiyodo Kappa Museum in Shimanto. Hours of operation and transportation tips are listed below!

Museum information
Kaiyodo Kappa Museum | 海洋堂かっぱ館
Address: Kochi-ken, Takaoka-gun, Shimanto-cho Utaigawa 685
高知県高岡郡 四万十町打井川685
Open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. (last entrance: 5:30 p.m.)
*Hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (last entry: 4:30 p.m.) from November to February
Closed: Tuesdays
Entrance fee: 500 yen for adults, 300 yen for children under 14
Shuttle bus from JR Utsuigawa Station available (check website linked below for details)
Website (English)

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