GRIMM NO MORI: A Fairytale Park in Tochigi, Japan
Fountain at Grimm no Mori.
Japan’s countryside is not just ricefields and shrines but there are lots of surprises to be discovered. You can find European-inspired parks and museums. These attractions have interesting history affiliated with some places in Europe. And that’s the reason why they are created. I had a chance to discover a hidden fairy tale park when I searched for “winter illuminations near me”. And that beautiful park is called Grimm no Mori (Grimm Forest).
A quick history of Grimm no Mori
Figure museum depicting the fairy tales from Grimm brothers.
Located in Shimotsuke City, the park has an interesting history. During the Showa era, Ishibashi-cho in Shimono City became a sister city with the village of Steinbrucken, Germany. Steinbrucken then merged with Hessen where the Grimm brothers are and the park Grimm no Mori was created.
Things to see at Grimm no Mori
Grimm no Kan illuminated at night.
The buildings caught my interest as it is inspired by the Rottingen government building in Germany. The building’s exterior is made of bricks and tiles. It is called Grimm no Kan which houses a multi-purpose hall (for musical and events), a small library, a figure museum, and a cafe on the second floor. The figure collections are related to the Grimm Brothers’ popular fairy tales.
Plaza in front of Grimm no Kan
Outside the building is a sprawling fairytale-like park with a European-style fountain, tree-lined trails, pathways, and a children’s park. It’s just perfect to bring young children here and relax.
Illuminated fountain at night.
There is also a nearby chocolate-shaped cafe named Cafe Pause serving western foods, sweets, and coffee. It has a bright, relaxing ambiance perfect for laidback dining. The menu can be found on their website.
Winter illumination and events
Grimm no Mori host a number of all-seasons events. But the most popular activity is the winter illumination that is held every last week of November to the first week of January. The park turns into a dreamy fairytale land illuminated with thousands of led bulbs. In the park entrance, you can find a giant pyramid that resembles a Christmas tree and a bell inside of it. Walking through the pathways inside you will discover illuminated fairytale characters such as sleeping beauty, a prince riding a horse, Hansel and Gretel’s chocolate and cookie house, and a witch in the playground. All of these views are absolutely free!
Hansel and Gretel House
You will never go hungry as they have a mini Christmas market selling sausages and Japanese western foods. If you love to hear live Christmas music, you can check inside Grimm no Kan for Christmas musical events.
Pathways beside the fountain.
The park also hosts a number of workshops. If you love art and artistic handicrafts, you can enroll in their workshop for a small fee and express the inner artist in you.
Walking into the illuminated tunnel.
If you are traveling around Shimotsuke City in Tochigi, feel free to visit this place absolutely free to refresh your childhood memories and get lost in the world of Grimm brothers’ fairytale stories.