Event review: Lego ‘Piece of Peace’ exhibition in Osaka

We know, we know it’s not Japanese. But Osaka’s got the Legoland Discovery Centre at Tenpozan, that totally counts. (The monthly AFOL night there might get a review sometime.) And for a while, we had another Lego attraction in town.

From March 2nd to April 15th, 2018, the Daimaru department store in Shinsaibashi hosted a special Lego exhibition. ‘Piece of Peace’ is an ongoing display of World Heritage sites, all made in mini size from Lego bits. The exhibit takes those global wonders around the actual globe, including to 16 different locations inside Japan.

At only 600 yen to get in, we said ‘why the hell not’. Travelling the world to see the real sites costs way more than that. And we were allowed to take as many pics as we wanted – as long as we didn’t touch any Legos. Deal.

Around the world in under an hour

The display’s split up into regions: Europe, Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Oceania. Not all continents are created equal. ‘Oceania’ was… the Sydney Opera House. And Egypt ended up repping the whole of Africa with 1 pyramid.

The space was laid out so we started in Japan. What a surprise… The Asia section was dominated by Japan’s many wonders – 11 of them, more than all of America got. Including Mt. Fuji, Himeji castle (which you can get as a Nanoblock set instead, along with Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree), the huge torii gate in Hiroshima, and Nara’s 5-storey pagoda.

No Lego Ninjago ninjas hiding inside the models (trust us, we looked hard). Those were in the ‘now buy stuff‘ area at the end.

Every display had insane detail. Like these ‘elephants’ as part of the Thailand section. We’d never seen elephant ear-shaped Lego bits before, and our newb excitement showed. Next to all the international AFOLs, we stuck out like… the Lego elephant in the room.

Lean in real close, though, and you see how many teeny tiny pieces there are. We saw a lot of historic sites we recognised. The Coliseum, the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Taj Mahal, and so on. Each made with hundreds, or even thousands of Legos.

According to the signs by each display:

  • Mt. Fuji – 21,500 Lego pieces
  • Himeji Castle – 20,000
  • Kremlin – 16,000
  • Angkor Wat – 13,000
  • Coliseum – 7,000
  • Kinkakuji – 3,600
  • Macchu Picchu – 2,000
  • The Great Wall of China – 900

Some of the miniatures are sponsored – with a tiny Lego person waving a branded flag. Including a flag for the Legoland Discovery Centre! Guess we have to go there now.

Seeing sponsored Legos made us wonder how much these all cost to build. And how long they took to plan and create. The timeline on the Piece of Peace promo website starts around 2002-3, so that’s near enough 15 years as of 2018.

Sure, that’s quicker than some of the originals were, but it’s a commitment that’s paid off. Can’t help but be impressed at the groundwork that went into this exhibition.

We wanna be architects when we grow up

The final section, in the middle, was a display of things other visitors made. Out front of the exhibition, they’d set up a massive table covered in white Lego. Everyone who paid to get in had a chance to create their own mini structure. It’s no Lego Clickbrick store, especially with only 1 block colour. But, as you can see, there were a bunch of keen builders around.

That’s where we finally found the Osaka Tower of the Sun. A mini version of the real thing standing in Expo ’70 Commemoration Park. It’s not an official heritage site, exactly, but we’re proud of it. And Tokyo Tower was nowhere to be seen, so it looks like we win this round.

You can see stripy Osaka food mascot Kuidaore Taro in there, as well. We love that word – ‘kuidaore’ (食い倒れ) – eating until you’re bankrupt. How come Taro-chan isn’t super fat, though? All that drumming’s gotta burn serious calories.

Ready, get set, let’s Lego

After it leaves Osaka, the ‘Piece of Peace’ exhibit’s hitting up Hokkaido, Nagano, Kagoshima, and Nagasaki. So if you’re planning a trip to Japan in 2018, maybe you’ll get to see it yourself.

Or, make your own display with the Lego Architecture series and you won’t have to go anywhere.

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