Tokyo: Puppet House
This is the reason why I don't like organised tours when traveling. What tour would take you to a little store of marionettes in downtown Tokyo? Fortunately for me, the Puppet House (Japanese-only website) was mentioned in my Lonely Planet travel guide.
Upstairs is a small room filled with hand-carved marionettes and finger puppets from the Czech Republic, Germany, and the United States.
Almost all are performable; however, co-owner Takuro Fukazawa explained to me that many are too small for an audience beyond yourself. "Personal puppetry," he calls it. Either way, the puppets are gorgeous, moving or not. He pulled out a "simple" marionette, showing me how to make it walk with balance. Then he handed over the controls to me. Ooops! Well, in my hands, the puppet character exhibited all sorts things: "anti-gravity," "drunkenness"... perhaps "epilepsy." Certainly not balance.
Had I the money and display space I would have bought several beautiful puppets I saw there. Fortunately, you can order them through their website, although it's Japanese-only. I recommend a visit!