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Why not play with the kids this weekend?

by Magdalena Osumi

Staff Writer

The Tokyo Toy Festival, on Oct. 19 and 20 at the Tokyo Toy Museum and Yotsuya Hiroba, aims to encouraging kids to explore their own creativity through various forms of play — but that doesn’t mean adults can’t join in the fun.

Children can try more than 100 toys and games, which are split between around 60 booths. Some sections will also offer workshops to help inspire kids’ imagination and develop their skills through activities such as creating original toys.

Among the toys featured at the event will be traditional ones from various areas of Japan, including Hokkaido and Okinawa, as well as eco-friendly and natural wooden toys, which are considered to be an important ingredient of child-rearing. A wide array of the products will also be available to buy. Aptly set in Yotsuya Hiroba, which used to be Yotsuya Fourth Elementary School during the prewar era and is now an event space that houses the Tokyo Toy Museum, the festival has the added attractions of shows by clowns, jugglers and other street performers. Food booths serving sweets and drinks will also be available.

The festival organizers — the nonprofit Japan Good Toy Association and Tokyo Toy Museum — say the event is designed to appeal to all ages. Playing, after all, isn’t just about having fun. It helps both children and their parents develop their physical, social and emotional well-being.

Tokyo Toy Festival takes place on Oct. 19 and 20, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Tokyo Toy Museum and Yotsuya Hiroba in Shinjuku. Admission is ¥600 (¥1,000 with entry to the Tokyo Toy Museum); free for children aged 2 or younger. The programs vary by day. For more information, visit www.goodtoy.org/ttm/matsuri/index.html (in Japanese), call 03-5367-9601 or email the organizer at info@goodtoy.org.