Located just a stone’s throw away from Takayama City, Hida Takayama Teddy Bear Eco Village is the world’s first environment-themed teddy bear museum that delivers meaningful environmental messages through its treasured collection of heartwarming toys.
Housed in a renovated 200-year-old gassho-zukuri traditional farmhouse, a thousand bears from 'all walks of life' aim to please even the most hardhearted of all. Upon arrival, one would be enveloped in the charms of these meaningful bears, each of which has their own story to tell.
I was pleasantly surprised when the receptionist told me that I could take photographs inside the museum. In fact, this highly interactive quaint museum encourages one to pick up and hug the teddy bears!
I traveled back in time, as I read about the birth of the first teddy bear and how it evolved over the years. It is believed that the creation of teddy bear is related to America's 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt. A heartwarming story lies behind this creation and helped boost my respect for Mr. Roosevelt.
Being good-natured and soothing, the exhibited bears go beyond being children's toys. They are also goodwill ambassadors and have been used during different periods of time; i.e.. support bears to accompany patients in their health recovery, smokey bears to give helpful advice on how to prevent forest fires as well as other bears that deliver important messages etc.
Although I am not one who likes cute plush toys, the charms of this quaint museum and its adorable bears are simply irresistible! Helpful description cards in Japanese and English languages make it easy for local and foreign visitors to have a deeper understanding of the teddy bears.
Can you imagine a Michael Jackson lookalike bear? Above all, one of my favourite exhibited bears is known as "Fool riding on earth". The tattered-looking teddy looks so broken yet happy sitting on his earth globe throne.
In the Bear Chapel, two large (190cm) wedding bears towered over me. The atmosphere was tinged with sweetness, as this English bears stood before the 'Happiness Stone' to exchange their vows. It is reputed that visitors shall be successful in finding love after taking pictures here!
At the Media Room and Bear Library, I felt like I have stepped into bear wonderland and it is a comfy space that eases one into a relaxed mood of bliss. Resources for learning about teddy bears and advice to care for the earth are available here in the form of movies and books.
Before long, it is time to leave, but! ... For those who could not get enough of these soothing and adorable bears, you can head on next door to the Little Bear Café & Shop. Have a cup of coffee and cakes with one or a few bears for extra company to further enhance the sweet memories of your visit at Hida Takayama Teddy Bear Eco Village.