Prior to this trip in 2020, I would never have expected it to be the one before the world got shut down by the pandemic. Fortunately for me, I managed to make a short pilgrimage to Sukagawa, the birth town of the God of Tokusatsu, Eiji Tsuburaya. I made a quick trip to Ishinomaki as well to visit the Ishinomori Mangattan, but more on that next time.
If you expect a lively and exciting town full of Ultraman activities, then you will probably be disappointed. Most of these will happen in major cities like Tokyo.
Located in Fukushima, Sukagawa is a quiet and relaxing town without any major shopping or tourists districts. What will attract tokusatsu fans, however, will be that this town houses the Eiji Tsuburaya Museum, Shot M78 Ultraman’s Shop and the recently opened Sukagawa Tokusatsu Archive Center.
With that in mind, if you ever visit Sukagawa, you can take a relaxing stroll from the train station to the vicinity of the Eiji Tsuburaya Museum. The walk should take you about 30 to 45 minutes (if you walk quickly maybe 15 minutes). Along the streets, you will see the statues of the Ultra Brothers, Father of Ultra, Mother of Ultra and some of the most popular monsters. What can be better than taking pictures with the iconic Ultramen at Sukagawa? Do note though, that the statues are scattered across different streets so you will have to walk to and fro if you want to snap pictures of all of them.
Despite being labeled as a museum the Eiji Tsuburaya Museum is really just an exhibit section on the second floor of the Sukagawa local community library. There is a no pictures rule (and a security guard was hovering around me throughout my time there) so I did not manage to get any photos from inside the exhibit. But fret not, I can assure you the exhibit will be worth the visit.
The most surprising discovery for me is the Shot M78 Ultraman’s Shop. As far as official character stores go, this shop struck me more like a homely neighborhood toy shop then a international brand store.
As I was walking on the same side of the street, I did not notice the huge signboard above. Instead, my attention was caught only when a lady came out to move an Ultraman standee back into the shop. Surprised and curious, I entered the shop, and this was what greeted me.
As I only managed to make a half day trip to Sukagawa, I did not manage to spend a lot of time exploring the town. If you ever get a chance, I highly recommend that you schedule a one day trip there. Furthermore, the new Sukagawa Tokusatsu Archives Center is now open so there’s more things to do at Sukagawa now!
And do remember to get this badge if you see it. It may just be a pin badge, but I am sure it adds more meaning when you buy this in Sukagawa. 🙂