New Snoopy Museum Tokyo makes 'Peanuts' fans do a happy dance
By AARON KIDD | STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 9, 2016
Happiness is a warm puppy to good ol’ Charlie Brown, but for “Peanuts” fans in Japan, happiness might be the world’s first Snoopy museum, which will host revolving exhibits over the next two and a half years.
Snoopy Museum Tokyo, a temporary gallery in the capital’s Roppongi district that opened last month to large crowds, features more than 500 items related to the long-running comic, including dozens of original strips drawn by creator Charles Schulz.
Visitors will also find unpublished Schulz sketches, rare vintage “Peanuts” toys, original animation cels and screenplays and other relics from the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa, Calif.
The inaugural exhibit, “My Favorite Peanuts,” runs through Sept. 20 and features 60 hand-drawn daily and Sunday “Peanuts” cartoons selected by Jean Schulz, the artist’s widow. Themes include Early Works, Gardening, Happy Dance, Valentines and Sweet Babboo.
Each large-scale, hand-drawn comic strip — matted, framed and displayed under glass — allows fans to examine Schulz’s creative process up close. It’s fun to see his drawing and lettering techniques — he used India ink on three-ply Strathmore paper — and how the typed United Feature Syndicate copyright notice was pasted onto each of his works.
Other museum highlights include a wall-sized mosaic of Charlie Brown and Snoopy made from thousands of “Peanuts” comic strips, and video presentations from celebrities — mostly Japanese entertainers, such as former AKB48 singer Atsuko Maeda — sharing their favorite “Peanuts” character or moment.
Many of the items are exhibited in creative, colorful ways. Museumgoers peer through small, light-filled holes to see drawings and items. There’s also a column covered in white plush Snoopy fur that visitors can pet.
The gift shop, dubbed Brown’s Store, is well stocked with every “Peanuts” item imaginable, from plush Snoopy toys of all sizes to a replica of Schroeder’s piano, and many of the goods were specially designed for the museum.
Visitors can unwind and re-energize with “Peanuts”-themed dishes at Cafe Blanket, which features a large, blue, family-style table that represents Linus’ famous security blanket. Outdoor seating is also available.
Menu offerings include sandwiches — served in dog dishes — pancakes, dessert pizzas, milkshakes, salads, alcohol and craft sodas.
I tried the 1,280-yen (about $11.70) Cafe Blanket’s Pancakes and the 900-yen (about $8.20) Charlie Brown Milk Shake and was surprised by the quality.
The six silver-dollar-sized hotcakes were served with fresh fruit, whipped cream, grape jelly and a sweet peanut-butter sauce. One was marked with an image of Snoopy and Woodstock, while another was emblazoned with, “Hmm … Grape Jelly, Huh?”
The tasty, mango-flavored milk shake topped with a “Peanuts” cookie, mango sauce and fresh whipped cream includes Charlie Brown’s iconic jagged stripe made from chocolate sauce on the inside of the glass.
Visitors must present a ticket to enter Brown’s Store and the cafe — expect long lines of people waiting for a seat — and once guests exit the exhibit area they’re asked in Japanese not to return.
Cameras are allowed in the museum, but visitors can’t take photos of Schulz’s original strips.
Oh, and keep an eye peeled for one of Charlie Brown’s most famous nemeses, the Kite-Eating Tree, as you’re leaving the grounds.
Snoopy Museum Tokyo
Snoopy Museum Tokyo, 5-6-20, Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, is about a seven-minute walk from Roppongi Station and a 10-minute walk from Azabu-Juban Station.
10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. COSTS
Advance tickets are 1,800 yen for adults; 1,200 yen for college students; 800 yen for junior and senior high school students; 400 yen for 12 and younger. Tickets cost 200 yen extra at the door, if available. Advance purchases at Lawson convenience stores is highly recommended.
Cafe Blanket serves a variety of “Peanuts”-inspired dishes, including sandwiches, pancakes and milkshakes.