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Chinsekikan, The Japanese Museum Devoted To Rocks That Look Like Human Faces

Travelers Today       By    Sheobi Anne Ramos

Updated: Nov 30, 2016 12:55 AM EST

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chinsekikan, hall of curious rocks, japanese rock museum, rocks that resemble faces, japan travel, japan tours, japan museums, Tokyo, japan attractions
Japan's Chichibu Chinsekikan
Chichibu Chinsekikan is a museum in Japan devoted to rocks that look like human faces.
(Photo: منوعات 2017 / YouTube)

Japan is famous for inventing sushi, creating anime, and giving birth to so many weird things. A new one just recently surfaced: a unique museum full of rocks that look like human faces.

The Chichibu Chinsekikan (translated as "hall of curious rocks"), is located two hours northwest of Tokyo in a town called Chichibu, and it only displays over 1700 rocks that somehow resemble human faces (also called jinmenseki).

The museum was founded by Shozo Hayoma, an avid rock enthusiast who spent 50 years collecting these peculiar rocks. He only collects rocks that resemble various forms of familiar faces, ranging from celebrities like Elvis Presley and some famous cartoon characters.

All rocks in this museum are 100% original with no human alterations whatsoever; Shozo said his only requirement in collecting these rocks is that "nature be the only artist."

According to Forbes.com, Shozo may have had this psychological tendency called pareidolia, where the human mind always observes familiar patterns or common human traits when in reality, none exist. Some people see animal shapes or human faces in clouds and to people like Shozo; it can't be helped to discover these kinds of characteristics in rocks as well.

Some famous rocks on display include Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, E.T, and Mickey Mouse. There are also funny-looking ones like the Koopa Troopa shell from Super Mario video games, Donkey Kong, and even one that apparently looks like Dwayne Johnson, a.k.a. "The Rock".

Still, with the number of rocks currently on display, some don't even have names, that's why visitors were encouraged to name some of these rocks from time to time, based on their own perceptions.

Currently, the Chichibu Chinsekikan is managed by Shozo Hayoma's wife, Yoshiko Hayama because of Shozo's death back in 2010. It's a 10-minute walk from Kagemori Station; however, it is advised to call ahead if you're planning a visit because the museum has a tendency to close in irregular hours due to some personal reasons of the current owner.

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