Creator of the world's most difficult maze returns to the art

More than three decades after creating a maze that took him seven years to finish, labyrinth master Kazuo Nomura returns with Papa's Maze 2.0.

Michelle Starr Science editor
Michelle Starr is CNET's science editor, and she hopes to get you as enthralled with the wonders of the universe as she is. When she's not daydreaming about flying through space, she's daydreaming about bats.
Michelle Starr
2 min read

Here is a corner of the original Papa's Maze, which is 34 inches by 24 inches. Spoon & Tamago

Kazuo Nomura, creator of the world's apparently most difficult maze, had been silent for over 30 years. But last November, a teaser arrived: Nomura was making another maze.

The story of the original Papa's Maze is one that sparks the imagination: a janitor working at a university, returned home every night to work on his pet project, drawing a maze. Seven years later, in 1983, the maze was finished. Nomura stashed it in his attic and forgot about it.

And there it resided, until his daughter discovered it nearly 30 years later: a sprawling, intricately detailed labyrinth on a sheet of A1 paper, resembling, perhaps, the world's most nightmarish subway map.

At that time, when his daughter asked if he would make another, he answered in the negative: "No. I've had enough of mazes."

Papa's Maze 2.0 is supposed to be easier to solve than the first. Spoon & Tamago

But he obviously changed his mind. Called Papa's Maze 2.0, the new labyrinth took less time to complete than the first: two months, drawing a little bit every day. It is also designed a little differently from the original. Although both are -- in theory at least -- solvable, 2.0 is not quite as densely packed in its A1 size, with clearer, crisper lines for heightened legibility.

This may mean that it's easier to solve, but if you can manage either one...well, you could probably give Theseus a run for his money.

Papa's Maze and Papa's Maze 2.0 are available as prints from Japan-focused retail site Spoon & Tamago for $40 and $30, respectively. The latter is on back order and is expected to ship in mid-May.

Papa's Maze 2.0, which is also 34 inches by 24 inches, is currently on back order. Spoon & Tamago