The Snoopy Museum Tokyo is so new that it was not in any of the guide books that we brought with us – we just noticed it when we were up on the Mori Tower and were looking beneath us, suddenly there was this big building that had Snoopy cartoons painted all over it.
The Snoopy Museum Tokyo in Roppongi opened on April 23rd and we visited it a few weeks later in mid-May. We had secured our tickets in advance, by emailing the museum, and we were lucky that we had done this, as the day of our visit was a rainy day and the museum was packed.
The actual museum is quite small – it features a permanent exhibition (in which you are allowed to take pictures) and a special exhibition (in which you can’t take pictures). All together the actual museum was made up of 4-5 rooms to walk through, where exclusive exhibits of Charles M. Schulz’s original drawings were on show.
The first room at the museum is dedicated to Charles’s work from when he was 14, including illustrations he made for his friends and family. They feature the first drawings of Snoopy, which were based on his dog. In hindsight, found this room to be the most interesting!
Then you enter the first special exhibition, which is “My Favorite Peanuts”, showcasing sixty of Charles M. Schulz’s original Peanuts cartoons, personally selected by his wife, Jean Schulz. This is where you can see drawings presented by Charles to Jean as Valentine’s Day gifts and then used as décor in the couple’s bedroom before being unveiled to the public at this exhibition.
After that you enter the main part of the museum – and that is were a mix of different Peanuts cartoon strips and souvenirs are on display. There are a few short videos, and some bigger-than-life size statues, but the rest is made up of drawings and sketches.
And then you are already done and entering the gift shop: the Snoopy Museum’s souvenir store is so big, it is almost the same size as the galleries. During our visit, more people were buying fluffy Snoopy dolls, postcards with peanut illustrations as well as brand collaborations like the Le Creuset cooking pot. You actually have to purchase a museum ticket to enter the gift shop – and it seemed this is where everyone was heading to.
Or no, not everyone. Many people were also queuing up at Cafe Blanket, where you can dine on delicious ‘Peanuts’-themed sweets and savoury treats, at the cafe named after Linus’ famous security blanket. You need to purchase a museum ticket (2,000 yen for adults on the day or 1,800 yen in advance) to actually enter the gift shop and cafe – and it seemed that this was the main part of the attraction.
So despite the fact that I actually like Snoopy and the peanuts, I was disappointed – it felt like a big shopping trip to purchase memorabilia – not like a place where I would learn about Charles M. Schulz, how he developed Snoopy and adapted him over time, where he got his inspirations from or his drawing process (apart from one little video at the beginning). Unfortunately it was all superficial and a let down. If you are a die-hard fan that wants to bite into a Snoopy-shaped waffle, then please go – but otherwise you might save yourself the money.