In my visit with Y this year for our ski trip to Niseko, we arrived at Sapporo’s New Chitose Airport and given that we arrived first before everyone else, we had to explore the Steiff Nature World which was a Steiff Teddy Bear Museum here in the airport! How cool is that?
We realised that this airport is really a great shopping and entertainment place especially for kids. When we finally figured out our navigation in this large airport that almost seemed more like a large shopping mall chock full of restaurants, shops and theme parks, we found that we have to walk towards the “Smile Road” to see my furry friends. As we made our way there, we saw there was a Doraemon themed sky park, a large Hello Kitty themed shop as well, no surprise! What was most interesting, was a Royce Chocolate World which took up a long stretch and had a live chocolate making factory where visitors could stop to look at. We paused briefly to look at them before proceeding to see my furry friends.
“Smile Road” – where all the fun kids stuff are
After walking through the long stretch of the Royce Chocolate World which looked like a chocolate museum, we first passed snippets of Steiff bears with the iconic Polar Bear along with other Steiff toys greeting us on our right, before we saw the grand entrance.
We saw a ticket counter at the front and quickly bought tickets (see this link for ticket prices). Y only had to buy a ticket for herself, as given I was a bear, they didn’t charge me. A Japanese lady at the front proceeded to take over our luggage and gave us a luggage ticket. So don’t worry if you have your baggage with you, as in true Japanese efficiency and thoughtfulness, it’s important for them, that we enjoy ourselves thoroughly while exploring this place without lugging around our luggages or pushing trolleys.
Once the Japanese lady endorsed our ticket stub, we proceeded to go into a dark room, which lighted up showing a mock up of what could have been Margarete Steiff’s house with a video talking about her early life and how Steiff – this fantastic company of handmade toys came about. After this video which lasted about slightly under 5 mins, she opened the door to a magical journey of bears!
We arrived at a large room with a huge centre display of large teddy bears, reindeers and horses, who looked like they were in a large festive procession – perhaps Christmas, I am guessing? And there were miniature houses and teddy bears lining up the walls in a glass display showing the teddy bears in various motions and costumes. It was all so beautiful and engaging, we stayed the longest in this room.
I also liked how they featured other animals and touched on the topic of endangered animals in the world ranging from those in the Antartica to Africa such as Polar Bears, Lions, Tigers to name a few. I think it is a great idea to infuse this educational aspect into the tour especially for kids that are learning about animals of the world.
And I loved the step by step chart on how a Steiff Teddy Bear is made, not too far from how I was made I think, we are just made of different fur that’s all!
This picture below of a small stuffed elephant is THE item that catapulted Margarete Steiff into an icon in her days and launched her company – Steiff! She made this in 1879 as a pin cushion, not knowing that this would be a big hit which would also launch the start of many other handmade toys including our beloved Steiff teddy bear. This room featured the various produced stuffed animals of every decade from the 1880s onwards till this modern century.
What captured my attention was some of the rare collaborations Steiff created with iconic bears such as Japan’s Kumamon bear, and even Suzy Zoo’s cute Boogs bear. I loved Boogs so much (erm not in the romantic way of course) just for his awesome cuteness and he would have had so much fun hanging out with us in Singapore, but unfortunately I told him I had to leave him there otherwise, one may find a Care Bear in the Sapporo Police Station for unlawful break in and theft of a rare bear.
After admiring the impressive collection of Steiff teddy bears, I had to proceed to the shop. There wasn’t so many bear to look at, but of course I didn’t leave without buying a canvas bag with a print of a Steiff teddy bear. I feel this teddy bear museum made up for its lack of a really large size (as compared to other famous bear museums in Jeju Island, Korea and in Izu, Japan) with an extremely well curated collection of bears and illustrating Steiff’s history in a great visual way.
I would highly recommend it for any travelling teddy bears like me, bear lovers and of course a great place to visit together as a family.