Visit the Paper Museum in Tokyo

Literary Tourist in Tokyo: 

Paper has a long and fascinating history, particularly in Japan. The Paper Museum in Tokyo traces this history  and highlights the enormous contribution that paper has made over the years to human “progress” and communication.

The Paper Museum was established in 1950 in Horifune, Oji, Kita-ku, Tokyo, where the first western style paper manufacturing company was founded in 1873. The museum moved to its current location  in Asukayama Park in 1998.

The new four-story building houses a collection of more than 40,000 historic items and approximately 10,000 books. Permanent exhibitions cover 2,000 years worth of paper history and include displays on traditional Japanese ‘Washi’ paper (Rembrandt used it!),  modern western style paper, and recycled paper. There’s also an exhibit that explores current paper-related environmental issues.

We were fortunate enough to be toured through the Museum by head curator Hiro Nishimura.

The Modern Paper Industry exhibition gallery showcases maps, charts,  raw materials and commercial and retail products that illustrate how paper is made and how it makes its way into our lives.

There are also large machines, tools and equipment on display that demonstrate exactly how paper is manufactured

The Learning Room for Paper features play stations for elementary school children focusing on paper structure, production and  recycling. There’s also a special computer quiz kids can take with Q & As all about paper.

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