There’s now a hospital for stuffed animals in Japan, too

There's now a hospital for stuffed animals in Japan, too
Image credit: Flickr (CC) / Christiaan Triebert

All of a sudden hospitals for stuffed animals are a thing. There’s one in Japan’s Osaka which is so popular you have to make a reservation to visit it.

The Nuigurumi Byoin opened doors in 2014 in the Osaka Prefecture. The name means pretty much “Stuffed Toy Hospital” and that’s exactly what you will see there.

The hospital proudly says it has all the needed equipment and skilled doctors and nurses to provide quality care for its patients. The patients though can only be stuffed animals.

The hospital for stuffed toys

The real popularity of the stuffed animal hospital though comes this year. Over the past six months there have been more than 3200 reservations, the Japan Times reports. Some of the reservations are for three years into the future.

“We did not think there was this much demand. Inquiries and bookings keep coming,” says Komichi Horiguchi, head of hospital operator Cocoro Co.

So far the hospital has treated about 800 fluffy patients. They stay on average for two to three weeks. After a checkup by the resident Doctor Inono, who is a stuffed toy himself, patients are assigned for surgery or treatment. They also receive a “prescription” bag of colorful candies, supposed to prevent the stuffed animals from decaying.

There are six doctors who can fix pretty much anything on a stuffed toy. “I felt the word ‘repair’ just did not sit well, based on the close relationship between the patients and family members,” Horiguchi explains. “The stuffed toys are treated as family, so it was right to welcome them in a hospital.”

This is why stuffed animals take up to three weeks to get fixed. The doctors spend a lot of time on each toy making sure every detail is spot on.

Sure, the visit to the stuffed toy hospital is more expensive than simply buying a new stuffed animal. But, as we know, stuffed animals are more than just toys. As Horiguchi says they are indeed like family members, so having a special hospital for them seems right.