The Iida City Kawamoto Kihachiro Puppet Museum in Iida, southern Nagano Prefecture is the town's must-see attraction and a world class museum. During the Edo period, this old castle town was known for its two performing puppetry troupes - the Kuroda and Imada groups - as well as its delicious apples.
In 1979 the Iida Puppet Carnival (now the Iida Puppet Festa) was established to preserve Iida's puppet heritage and quickly became Japan's biggest puppet event. Puppet animator Kawamoto Kihachiro visited the festival in 1990 and his animated films received an enthusiastic welcome. In response, Kawamoto donated 200 of his puppets which make up the core of the exhibits on display in the modern facility.
Many of the puppets are taken from Kawamoto's two NHK television dramas: Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Tale of the Heike.
One of Kawamoto's short films is shown in the media center at regular intervals during the day.
Iida City Kawamoto Kihachiro Puppet Museum (in Japanese)
Tel: 0265 23 3594
Admission: Adults 400 yen
Access: Iida can be reached by train from Nagoya via Toyohashi on the JR Iida Line (2 hours, 30 minutes). There are also highway buses from Tokyo (4 hours) and Nagoya (2 hours). By car, exit the Chuo Expressway at the Iida interchange.
Here are a list of Kawamoto Kihachiro films available from Amazon: The Book of the Dead, The Exquisite Short Films of Kawamoto Kihachiro, and New Animation: Works of Kihachiro Kawamoto.
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