10 Cool and Unique Museums in Tokyo
Best Tokyo museums; have a cool and unique experience!
Besides being a good way to get to know better a specific subject, going to museums is also a good second option to have in case you have to cancel a plan for whatever reason during your stay in Tokyo.
There are many unique, cool, and interesting museums all around Tokyo: from fine art and history to popular anime and food museums.
Here, we will introduce to you 10 of the coolest and most unique museums you will find around the Tokyo area.
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1. MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM: EPSON teamLab Borderless
“MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM” (森ビルデジタルアートミュージアム), created by teamLab is, as they describe it themselves, “a world of artworks without boundaries”.
First of all, the place is huge. A 10,000㎡ area divided into 5 sections, each having its own specific concept. The art pieces are digitally created and the visitors can interact with these art pieces. It is the world’s very first digital art museum.
Even though it just opened in June of 2018, it is growing to become one of the most popular spots for foreign visitors, especially among the younger generations due to its interactive structure and photogenic aesthetics. This is a place where you will want to take many pictures and post them on Instagram.
It is a museum where pretty much anyone can have a great time!
Access: 3-minute walk from Aomi Station (Yurikamome Line)
Official Website: https://borderless.teamlab.art/
For more information on the MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM, check the link below!!
Check the list of best teamLab Spots around Japan!
2. Meguro Parasitological Museum
Let me tell you right off the bat that this is not a museum for everyone.
The “Meguro Parasitological Museum” (目黒寄生虫館) is a small medical museum devoted to parasites and the science of parasitology. The museum has 2 floors and it includes over 300 preserved specimens of parasites on display among many documents and records on exhibition.
The museum is neatly divided into the different types of parasites: from parasites that affect only small animals to larger parasites that can affect humans. You will find a specimen of an 8.8m long tapeworm!
If you have an interest in biology and don’t have problems with looking at parasite specimens, then you will enjoy this place. Plus, the entrance is free of charge!
Access: 10-minute walk from Meguro Station (JR “Yamanote Line”, Tokyo Metro “Nanboku Line”, Toei “Mita Line”)
Official Website: https://www.kiseichu.org/e-top
For more information on the Meguro Parasitological Museum, check the link below!!
3. Trick Art Museum
Located in Odaiba, the “Trick Art Museum” (東京トリックアート迷宮館) is a place that displays artwork that is specifically made to create optical illusions.
The word “Trick Art” is trademarked by SD Corporation, which is also the company that created the museum.
The museum is divided into several areas including the Edo-period area, Ninja and Japanese monster area, Trick art Gallery, and more!
Some pieces appear to be in 3D while others seem to change form depending on where you look at them from. The art pieces are interactable and you can take pictures so you can take back home the memories of this fun experience. it is a place where you can have fun no matter your age.
Access: 2-minute walk from Odaiba-kaihinkōen Station (Yurikamome Line)
5-minute walk from Tokyo Teleport Station (Rinkiai Line)
Official Website: https://www.trickart.info/english/index.html
4. Samurai Museum (temporarily closed)
The “Samurai Museum” (サムライミュージアム), located in Shinjuku, was first opened in July 2015. It has been a popular place for foreign visitors ever since.
The museum has 2 floors and you can find samurai armors, helmets, swords, and other artifacts used during the samurai era.
The museum also provides live shows, music, and a variety of lectures for you to experience the culture first-hand.
At the end of the museum, there is also a photo area where you can wear samurai costumes or kimono and take pictures.
It is a fun experience you can have while learning about the history of the Samurai. Don’t miss this opportunity when you visit Shinjuku.
Access: 8-minute walk from Shinjuku Station (JR Lines)
Official Website: https://www.samuraimuseum.jp/en/index.html
For more information, check the link below!!
5. Ghibli Museum
Ghibli movies are one of the things that people most love about Japan. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was a place where you could experience the magic of these movies? Well, precisely from that thought is how this museum came to become a reality.
The “Ghibli Museum” (三鷹の森ジブリ美術館) is located in Mitaka, Tokyo, inside Inokashira Park. In the museum, you will find pretty much anything related to Ghibli movies such as movie rough drafts, research documents, and character-inspired souvenirs. You can even watch a short film that you can’t watch elsewhere. Besides this, there are also exhibitions where you can learn how animation in general works.
Tickets are not easy to get, so be sure to make reservations well ahead of time.
Access: 5-minute bus ride from Mitaka Station (JR “Chuo Line”)
15-minute walk from Mitaka Station (JR “Chuo Line”)
Official Website: http://www.ghibli-museum.jp/en/
6. Yayoi Kusama Museum
Yayoi Kusama is, without a doubt, one of the most internationally acclaimed artists from Japan. So much that when there’s an exhibition of her work, no matter where that is, there is always a great line at the entrance.
The “Yayoi Kusama Museum” (草間彌生美術館) was inaugurated in October 2017, and ever since it has presented her work in two exhibitions per year, as well as lectures and events.
before the museum opened, you could only see her work at temporary exhibitions or art festivals. But now that this museum has opened, guests will have a chance to see more of the work that she has produced throughout her career. And with that, know her even better.
Access: 7-minute walk from Waseda Station (Tokyo Metro “Tozai Line”)
6-minute walk from Ushigome-yanagichō Station (Toei “Oedo Line”)
Official Website: https://yayoikusamamuseum.jp/
For more information, check the link below!!
7. Shitamachi Museum
“Shitamachi Museum” is a museum located near Ueno station, where you can learn and see how Tokyo-Shitamachi (oldtown Tokyo) used to be.
The museum was established in 1980. You can see replicas of entire houses, shops, and even public baths; see how people used to live during the Taisho-era (1910’s and 1920’s). You will find many documents and real artifacts from that era.
Though Shitamachi culture is something that can still be seen in some parts of Tokyo nowadays, this is a good place where you can see how these towns used to look like, and therefore, be able to appreciate in a deeper way the Shitamachi areas when you visit them.
Access: 5-minute walk from Ueno Station (JR Lines, Tokyo Metro “Ginza Line”, “Hibiya Line”)
Official Website: http://www.taitocity.net/zaidan/english/shitamachi/
8. Tobacco and Salt Museum
Long ago, both tobacco and salt used to be protected by a government monopoly in Japan. There are a fascinating history and culture surrounding these themes, and you can learn all about it in the “Tobacco and Salt Museum” (たばこと塩の博物館).
The museum was first opened in Shibuya in 1978, but it was relocated in April of 2015. Now it is located 12 minutes away walking from Oshiage station.
The museum is 5 stories tall and has a modern and simplistic design. Besides having 1 floor dedicated to tobacco and 1 floor dedicated to salt, the museum also has a lounge, a reading room, a workshop room, and a souvenir shop.
Access: 8-minute walk from Tokyo Skytree Station (Tobu “Skytree Line”)
12-minute walk from Oshiage Station (Tobu “Skytree Line”, Tokyo Metro “Hanzomon Line”, Toei “Asakusa Line”)
Official Website: https://www.jti.co.jp/Culture/museum_e/index.html
9. Unko Museum
Now, this next museum is weird and bizarre, but also a lot of fun. The “Unko Museum” (うんこミュージアム) which literally means the “Poop Museum”, is not the kind of museum you might imagine from its name. The concept of this museum is “Max Unko Kawaii”, which is a mixture of the “Kawaii” culture with poop.
The museum is located in Odaiba and is divided into many fun areas: a photogenic area where you can take your Instagram pictures, an interactive game area, an arcade area, a souvenir shop area, and much more!
The museum is decorated with countless multi-colored poop, bright neon lights, and lots of Kawaii-style interior design. All of this is so over the top, it will make you forget that this is a poop museum.
Access: 5-minute walk from Tokyo Daiba Station (Yurikamome Line)
5-minute walk from Tokyo Teleport Station (Rinkai Line)
Official Website: https://unkomuseum.com/en/tokyo/
10. Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum
Ramen, being one of the most popular Japanese foods for both locals and foreign visitors, has a long history and has many different styles depending on where you are in Japan.
The “Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum” (新横浜ラーメン博物館) is a Ramen-themed amusement park founded in 1994. Here you can learn and taste the various different styles of Ramen that you can find around Japan: From the different types of noodles and soups to the great variety of topping ingredients.
9 shops are lined up in a street-scape replication of the 1950s. Besides the Ramen shops, you can also find a gallery, a museum shop, a cafe, among other areas.
For those Ramen-lovers who don’t have the time to travel all around Japan, this is the place you need to go!
Access: 5-minute walk from Shin-Yokohama Station (JR Lines, Yokohama Municipal Subway)
Official Website: http://www.raumen.co.jp/english/
For more information, check the link below!!
I hope you enjoyed reading this list as much as I did writing it.
Sometimes foreign visitors tend to skip out on visiting museums because they rather walk around the city. But I think that museums are a good way to appreciate deep parts of the culture that you won’t be able to feel otherwise. Especially these 10 museums that are unique and cool will add a nice touch to your Tokyo visit.
Even if you’re not planning in going to a museum, it is a good idea to just have in mind these museums in case you find yourself in Tokyo with some extra time on your hands.
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