Peanuts Comfort in Japan
For my latest adventure, I set off to Japan to attend the opening of Snoopy Museum Tokyo in its new and larger location in Grandberry Park, Machida.
Before heading to Tokyo for the Museum opening, we visited two of Japan’s beautiful cities, Kobe and Kyoto, to check in with a couple of our licensing partners.
Kobe has wonderful weather due to its location on a beautiful bay with mountains behind. After suffering a devastating earthquake in 1995, Kobe has rebuilt itself into a modern city with a green thumb—trees and flowers are in abundance everywhere this December.
Kyoto (another city of over 1.4 million people) is inland and surrounded by mountains. It is a tourist destination because of its many temples, a wooden bridge that is over 1000 years old, and a lush and peaceful bamboo forest.
Zilly (short for Godzilla) is the traveling companion of Paige Braddock who is accompanying me on the trip. Once we reach Tokyo, Zilly hopes to meet up with his friend, Chef Snoopy, at the Imperial Hotel.
Our first stop was the Peanuts Hotel in Kobe, Japan. The hotel is a museum in itself with 18 different themed rooms and Peanuts memorabilia.
Here are just a few of the rooms and other features we saw at the hotel:
The Spike-themed room takes you to the desert and shows the endearing friendship between Spike and Joe Cactus. The room is charming—well, they all are.
The pink room is very pink and is meant to be filled with humor and warmth. It is inspired by the “Happiness is a warm puppy” comic strip from 1965 in which Lucy embraces Snoopy and coins the iconic phrase.
This Astronaut Snoopy-themed room reminded me of ten years ago when Gene Cernan and Tom Stafford visited the Schulz Museum for the weekend in celebration of the 40th anniversary of NASA’s Apollo 10 mission.
Each room is put together with wonderful attention to detail and has special touches throughout. In this Joe Cool-themed room, the chandelier is made from sunglasses. Very clever.
The Peanuts Hotel is six stories tall with only six rooms on each of the three top floors. The Peanuts Diner is on the 3rd floor and serves visitors breakfast and other meals by reservation, and the hotel reception and a small snack bar are both on the ground floor.
The room keys are paper and scanned under the reader. The paper door key reduces the amount of plastic the hotel uses, which I think is a good innovation.
Each room also expresses a quote from the comic strip on the outside of its door and the theme is carried through inside. As you can see from the photo, the doors are also specially decorated for the holidays.
I stayed in the “Special room” which is based on a comic strip (seen at the top of this post) featuring Snoopy and the birds. The quote says, “It’s nice to have a home where your guests feel comfortable.”
The wall of my room has the comic strip line art on it as well. The room also has its own outdoor patio and headboard cases filled with vintage Peanuts dolls—some of which are very old.
Even the elevator at the hotel is Peanuts-themed! Snoopy’s doghouse lifted us quietly to our floors, reminiscent of the World War I Flying Ace’s Sopwith Camel taking flight.
After checking out of the Peanuts Hotel, we headed to Kyoto. There, we visited two new Snoopy Chocolat stores (Kiyomizuzaka and Arashiyama) that just opened this October. Both chocolate stores are in tourist shopping areas, and both were already full of visitors. The Arashiyama store is near the beautiful bamboo forest, which we also took time to walk in.
The chocolate designs were beautiful—almost too beautiful to eat!
This box of chocolate featured squares with individual comic strip panels printed on it. The strip, from February 4, 1967, features Linus and Lucy enjoying hot chocolate.
We left Kyoto and moved closer to the Snoopy Museum. In Tokyo, we stayed at the Imperial Hotel which has had special Snoopy rooms and amenities for almost 20 years. The hotel’s mascot is even Grand Chef Snoopy!
Several of us visited the hotel in 2002 when the partnership was new but we weren’t able to see the rooms at that time, so it was a treat to stay there during this visit.
On my leisure day, I decided to go all out and have the Peanuts breakfast (a special Snoopy Bento Box), as it’s wonderful to have breakfast with good friends.
It really is sweet to be surrounded by Snoopy and Woodstock, especially when so far from home.
I am meeting with Terry Okazaki whom I credit with bringing Snoopy to Japan in the late 1960s. It had been about three years since Teruko and her son and daughter and I had seen each other, so it was a joyous reunion.
Terry was a graduate student in Washington, DC when she fell in love with a Determined Productions’ plush Snoopy. She took the doll home to her family in Kobe where they ran a children’s clothing business. As there was no licensing department at United Feature Syndicate at the time, her father worked through the state department. So Snoopy’s relationship with Familiar (the company) has been going on for over 50 years!
Stay tuned for a follow-up post soon about the new Snoopy Museum Tokyo in Grandberry Park, Machida!