Japan has some of the world's best and most varied museums. Art, history, science, sake, trains, subways, manga, sex, vinegar, tobacco - even sand and torture - museums can be found in Japan.
Tokyo Museums 博物館
Advertising Museum Tokyo
Advertising Museum Tokyo (ADMT) is located in the Caretta Shiodome Building near Shimbashi and features displays of outstanding Japanese and overseas advertising in various formats from the mid-18th century onwards.
Asakura Sculpture Museum
The Asakura Sculpture Museum, in Tokyo's beautiful Yanaka area is the former residence and studio of the sculptor Fumio Asakura (1883-1964). The building is a balance of a Japanese-style residential wing and a Western-style studio wing and, together with its elegant garden, the building is as big an attraction as the exhibits themselves.
The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is housed in Tokyo Dome and pays homage to the greats of Japanese baseball as well as displaying exhibits from all levels of Japanese baseball.
Bunkyo Historical Museum
The Bunkyo Historical Museum (Bunkyo Furusato Rekishikan) has two floors of exhibits ranging from pottery and other artifacts from the Jomon and Yayoi periods of Japanese history to post-war electronics and assorted household items from 1950's and 1960's Tokyo.
The Crafts Gallery, housed in a red-brick Neo Gothic building dating from 1910, exhibits Japanese and foreign crafts from the Meiji period onwards.
Daimyo Clock Museum
The Daimyo Clock Museum is a large roomful of clocks in an old house on an overrun property in the picturesque Yanaka district of Taito ward, Tokyo. The Museum dates from 1974, and houses the lifetime collection of a Japanese ceramicist cum clock collector.
Edo Tokyo Museum has permanent exhibitions about almost every aspect of Tokyo life through the ages, as well as special exhibitions held periodically. This is an outstanding, modern, English-friendly museum with over 2,500 original prints, scrolls, kimonos, and maps. The displays and exhibits take advantage of modern technology -much of it interactive - to deliver their message memorably. Take the JR Sobu Line (local train) to Ryogoku Station. From the west exit of the station follow the signs. The massive six-story Edo-Tokyo Museum is about a 3-minute walk. Admission: 600 yen for adults, 480 yen for college students, 300 yen for junior high school & high school students and seniors.
Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum
The Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum is a part of the excellent Edo-Tokyo Museum in the Ryogoku area of Tokyo. Like Meiji Mura in Aichi Prefecture and other such culture parks in Japan, the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum is a collection of historic buildings, mainly from the Tokyo area, brought to a new location for preservation.
Edo Shitamachi Traditional Crafts Museum
The Edo Shitamachi Traditional Crafts Museum is a small museum in the Asakusa district of Tokyo that showcases the many and varied handicrafts that Tokyo crafts people have historically excelled in, and still do today. The works displayed are made exclusively by crafts people in Taito ward, where the museum is located.
The Fire Museum, dedicated to the history of fire-fighting in the city, is housed in the fortress-like Yotsuya Fire Station in Shinjuku. The museum offers a vivid introduction to both past and current fire-fighting efforts. Admission is free and most exhibits come with English-language explanations.
The Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, western Tokyo, is dedicated to the anime movies produced by Hayao Miyazaki's world famous Studio Ghibli. A must see for fans of such smash hits as Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro and Princess Mononoke.
Hara Museum of Contemporary Art
The Hara Museum of Contemporary Art is housed in the former villa of a rich Show-era businessman in Shinagawa and hosts frequent exhibitions of some thought-provoking, modern art by both Japanese and foreign artists. The museum's cafe also has a reputation for some inventive cakes.
The Imperial Theatre, or Teikoku Gekijo in Japanese, is a large imposing entertainment presence facing the Imperial Palace in Tokyo's Marunouchi district. The first Western-style theater in Japan, dating from 1911, it is the venue today of blockbuster musicals, presenting famous performers from within Japan and throughout the world.
Intermediatheque in the Kitte building next to Tokyo Station is a cutting-edge 21st century museum displaying a wealth of rare and fascinating artifacts, human and natural. This multidisciplinary collection contributed to by the prestigious University of Tokyo takes a new approach to thematic presentation, encouraging the viewer to see the relationship between form and function in everything.
Japan Football Museum
The Japan Football Museum opened in 2003 and is dedicated to the 2002 World Cup held jointly in Japan and Korea, the history of Japanese soccer and the country's premier professional soccer competition - the J-League.
Japan Stationery Museum
The Japan Stationery Museum (Nihon Bungu Shiryokan) is a small repository of things to do with writing - in the broadest sense of the word - in the Yanagibashi district of Taito ward, Tokyo.
The museum occupies the first floor of the Tokyo Bungu Hanbai Kenpo Kaikan (The Tokyo Stationers' Insurance Hall), and covers a lot in quite a small space.
Matsuoka Museum of Art
Matsuoka Museum of Art features mainly the classical sculpture and Chinese ceramics collection of the late industrialist, Seijiro Matsuoka. Also displays modern European sculpture and painting, and Japanese painting.
Meguro Parasitological Museum
Meguro Parasitological Museum is the only museum in the world dedicated to the study of parasites including parasites that affect both humans and animals. Eat lunch after rather than before you visit.
Meiji University Museum
Meiji University Museum in Ochanomizu is a free museum with exhibits of Japanese traditional crafts, archaeological remains as well as a display of Edo Period implements of torture.
Miraikan (National Museum of Emerging Science & Innovation) in Odaiba is a large, innovative science museum established by Japan's Science and Technology Agency.
Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum
The Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum is a faithful reconstruction of the late 19th century building designed by British architect Josiah Conder and includes a pleasant outdoor garden and the 1894 restaurant.
Mitsui Memorial Museum
The Mitsui Memorial Museum in Nihonbashi contains the private collections of the Mitsui family assembled over three hundred years and including priceless tea ceremony utensils, paintings and Noh masks.
Mizuma Art Gallery & Mizuma Action
Mizuma Art Gallery & Mizuma Action are sister galleries in Tokyo's Ichigaya district and Naka-Meguro district respectively that make a point of featuring artists distinguished by an intensely personal style. Another Mizuma Art Gallery has subsequently opened in Singapore.
Museum of Aeronautical Sciences
The Museum of Aeronautical Sciences in Narita near Japan's largest airport offers both a bird's eye view of airplanes in action while providing a huge range of aircraft related experiences, realia and (to a lesser degree) information.
The Museum of Contemporary Art
The Museum of Contemporary Art houses international and Japanese post-war modern art including works by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney, Gerhard Richter and Julian Schnabel.
The Museum of Yebisu Beer
The Museum of Yebisu Beer is located in Yebisu Garden Place, in the Ebisu district of Tokyo. The Museum of Yebisu Beer opened in 2010 to celebrate 120 years of the history of the brand. Visitors can enjoy a tour of the museum which includes two complimentary beers.
National Art Center
The National Art Center in Roppongi is designed by Kisho Kurokawa and is Japan's largest exhibition space. The museum is dedicated to special exhibitions.
National Film Center
The National Film Center in Kyobashi has a permanent exhibition dedicated to the history of Japanese film-making on the 7th floor, a film collection of around 19,000 movies as well as a film library of books and periodicals on Japanese cinema.
National Museum of Modern Art
The National Museum Of Modern Art specializes in contemporary Japanese art from the Meiji Period (1868-1912) onwards.
National Museum of Nature & Science
The National Museum of Nature and Science has exhibits on the evolution of living things, the flora and fauna of Japan, and the solar system.
National Museum of Western Art
The National Museum of Western Art was designed by Le Corbusier and opened in 1959. The Museum's collection covers Western paintings and drawings from the 15th - 20th centuries.
Nihon Minka-en or the Japan Open Air Folk House Museum is a collection of over 20 traditional houses brought from all over Japan and displayed in a charming countryside setting near Kawasaki.
Nikon Museum in Shinagawa showcases the 100-year history of the Nikon brand that has been producing cameras, lenses, binoculars and other optical equipment since 1917. The high-tech facility is free to enter and has a number of hands-on exhibits.
Old Shimbashi Station
Old Shimbashi Station in the Shiodome district of Tokyo near Shimbashi is a reconstruction of one of Japan's first railway stations. The original Shimbashi Station was a terminal station on the Shimbashi to Yokohama Line which opened in 1872.
Panasonic Center in Tokyo's Odaiba district showcases the company's new products and technologies. It's RiSuPia is a popular museum for children focused on the laws of mathematics seen in nature.
The Railway Museum in Omiya ward of Saitama City is proving to be one of Japan's most popular museums with record crowds flocking to see historic trains, shinkansen carriages and a steam train simulator.
Ryogoku Fireworks Museum
Ryogoku Fireworks Museum close to Ekoin Temple in Tokyo charts the introduction and subsequent popularity of pyrotechnics in Japan including the famous firework displays on the Sumida River, in Tsuchiura and Akita Prefecture.
The Samurai Museum in Kabukicho, Shinjuku is a fun museum where the young and young-at-heart can enjoy samurai sword demonstrations and try on samurai armor and kimono.
The Science Museum in Kitanomaru Park dates from the 1960s and is aimed mainly at children. The museum is good fun and educational for all the family.
The Seiko Museum in Higashi Mukojima is an excellent museum dedicated to the ground-breaking watches and clocks of the Seiko company together with an impressive collection of historic Edo Period timepieces.
The Sewerage Museum in Kodaira looks at the sewer and waste water management system in Tokyo from the Edo Period to the present day.
Shinjuku Historical Museum
Shinjuku Historical Museum in Shinjuku ward, Tokyo, recounts the history of this ward - one of Tokyo's most important - since the beginnings of time. Small, but interactive, modern, and memorable.
Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum
Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum located just a short walk from Shin-Yokohama Station in Yokohama, calls itself a "food-themed amusement park". That is a very fitting description even though the whole setting is situated on three floors of one building, two of them deep underground. The underground section of the Ramen Museum is a replica of a more or less typical train station neighborhood in 1958, the year when Momofuku Ando invented Instant Ramen. The station name is fictional and at the time, public plazas like the one below might not have existed but other than that, much attention to detail is given.
The Shitamachi Museum near Ueno Park preserves some of the flavor of the area's life in the Taisho Era (roughly the 1910s and 1920s).
The Subway Museum is dedicated to the history and development of Tokyo's amazing subway system and includes historic train carriages and hands-on exhibits.
Suntory Museum of Art
Suntory Museum of Art in the Tokyo Midtown building in Roppongi offers changing exhibitions showcasing the collection of traditional Japanese art of the Suntory corporation.
Tobacco & Salt Museum
The Tobacco & Salt Museum is dedicated to the these previous government monopolies and charts the history of tobacco smoking in Japan from the 17th century.
Tobu Museum of Transport & Culture
Tobu Museum of Transport & Culture, adjacent to Higashi-Mukojima Station, displays 12 historic Tobu vehicles including trains, a bus and a streetcar. The museum is very popular among parents with young children.
Tokorozawa Aviation Museum
The Tokorozawa Aviation Museum displays a number of historic and more modern airplanes and explains the history of flight and aviation in Japan including the country's first plane crash.
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum
The Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum dates originally from 1926 and is dedicated to both Japanese and foreign art. The now modern brick-faced buildings house both a restaurant and museum shop as well as a number of galleries.
Tokyo National Museum
The Tokyo National Museum houses the largest collection of Japanese art in the world including calligraphy, ceramics, statuary, swords, paintings and Buddhist art.
Tokyo Teien Metropolitan Museum
Tokyo Teien Metropolitan Museum is an Art Deco masterpiece built in 1933. It was formerly the residence of Prince Asaka and houses many period pieces.
Tokyo Metropolitan Water Science Museum
Tokyo Metropolitan Water Science Museum is a fun, high-tech, science resource designed to excite and enthrall. Located in Tokyo's cutting edge leisure district of Koto-ku.
Tokyo Waterworks Historical Museum
Tokyo Waterworks Historical Museum is a small, modern, two-floor multifarious presentation of the history of Tokyo's public water supply, which dates from the 16th century.
Toshiba Science Museum
Toshiba Science Museum in Kawasaki is a free museum that both showcases Toshiba's latest technologies and looks back at the history of the company, its founders and its products.
TUS Museum of Science
The TUS (Tokyo University of Science) Museum of Science on the university's Kagurazaka campus is a free-entry, two-floor retro-tech haven packed with exhibits showcasing the history of computing, calculating, audio recording typing/wordprocessing technology, as well as some vintage telecommunications and computer gaming-related.
Yushukan War Memorial Museum
Yushukan War Memorial Museum, on the grounds of Yasukuni Shrine, is a modern military museum dedicated to the history of Japan's armed forces since the start of the Meiji Period.
John Lennon Museum
The John Lennon Museum is a comprehensive treasure trove of John Lennon, Beatles and Yoko Ono memorabilia, creatively and meticulously presented, in a modern, spacious setting. (Now closed).
Zoshigaya Missionary Museum
Zoshigaya Missionary Museum, located in Toshima, is a beautifully preserved, early 20th century, wooden building, built for the American missionary J. M. McCaleb.
See a full listing of Museums in Tokyo
Kyoto Museums - Kyoto has some of Japan's finest art and history museums as well as featuring museums dedicated to ceramics, kanji, kimono, Korean art, sake, schools, manga, Meiji Restoration, movies and even world peace.
Hakone Museums - Hakone has a number of fascinating museums including the Little Prince Museum, the Hakone Open-Air Museum, the Pola Museum of Art, the Hakone Art Museum, the Hakone Ashinoko Museum of Fine Art, the Hakone Mononofu no Sato Art Museum and many more.
Hakone Open Air Museum
Hakone Open Air Museum - opened in 1969 as the first open air museum in Japan. There are pieces by such sculptors as Rodin, Calder, Caro, Dubuffet, Miro, Miyawaki, Niki de Saint Phalle, Vangi, and Rosso; as well as one of the world's largest collections of Henry Moore.
Hakone Glass Forest
Hakone Glass Forest - is both an outdoor and indoor museum dedicated to Venetian glass. There are galleries exhibiting Venetian glass from the 15th to the 18th centuries, old Murano glass, and then on to modern glass creations by well known international artists, including Dale Chihuly.
Nagoya Museums - Nagoya has some wonderful museums and theme parks such as Meiji Mura, the Tokugawa Art Museum, the Toyota Automobile Museum and the recent Legoland and SCMaglev & Rail Park.
Osaka Museums - Osaka has some world class museums including the Osaka Museum of History, the Osaka Municipal Museum of Art and Osaka Castle Museum.
Museums in South West Japan
Museums in South West Japan - see a listing of some of the stand out museums and galleries in Hiroshima, Okayama, Shimane, and Yamaguchi prefectures including museums in Hagi, Izumo, Kurashiki and Matsue.
Museums in Nagasaki
Nagasaki Museums - Nagasaki is a stand out city and prefecture for the high quality of its museums and galleries - many of them related to Nagasaki's long history as an international trading port and the more recent atomic bombing of the city in 1945. In wider Nagasaki Prefecture there is also a modern museum dedicated to the eruption of the volcano on Mt. Unzen, while the history of whaling and Japan's Hidden Christians are featured at the Ikitsuki Island Museum.
Museums in Kagoshima
Kagoshima Museums - Kagoshima has many fine museums related to its history of early modernization and westernization, when as Satsuma Province, as it was then, it stood up against the Tokugawa shogunate in the 1860's. Other museums of note include the Chiran Peace Museum For Kamikaze Pilots in nearby Chiran and Ishibashi Memorial Park which preserves three Edo Period stone bridges.
Museums in Fukuoka
Fukuoka Museums - Fukuoka, Dazaifu and Kitakyushu in Fukuoka Prefecture have some excellent museums and art galleries. This area of Japan, especially Hakata and Dazaifu, was the gateway for the exchange of ideas, people and goods with the Asian mainland from the early periods of Japanese history until the end of the Edo Period.
Museums in Shikoku
Shikoku Museums - Shikoku and its four prefectures of Kagawa (Sanuki), Ehime (Iyo), Tokushima (Awa) & Kochi (Tosa) along with the "art islands" (Naoshima, Shodoshima, Teshima) of the Inland Sea (Seto Naikai) have many interesting museums and art galleries to draw the visitor to this most beautiful and least visited part of Japan.
Museums in Kobe
Kobe Museums - the port city of Kobe in western Japan has a mix of historic buildings converted into museums in the Kitano-cho and Nada-ku areas of town as well as modern museums such as the Kobe Earthquake Museum, Kobe Fashion Museum and the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art on its more recent artificial islands.
Museums in Hiroshima
Hiroshima Museums - as well as the world famous Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Hiroshima city and the wider Hiroshima Prefecture has a number of museums and art galleries reflecting both Hiroshima's historical past as an important naval base and its rich artistic and cultural heritage.
Museums in Okayama
Okayama Museums - Okayama city, in Okayama Prefecture in south west Japan, has a number of fine museums including Okayama Prefectural Museum, Yumeiji Art Museum, the Orient Museum, Okayama Prefectural Museum of Art and Hayashibara Museum of Art.
Museums in Nara
Nara Museums - Nara and neighboring Asuka have a range of beautiful and informative museums. Many of them are focused on the superb Buddhist art from its UNESCO World Heritage listed temples, such as Horyuji, Todaiji and Kofukuji. Other museums concentrate on the history and culture of the old Heijo capital site displaying archaeological remains and reconstructions of life in the Nara Period. The Naramachi district has a number of smaller museums concerned with Nara's traditional arts and crafts.
Museums in Gifu
Gifu Museums - Gifu city and the other towns of Gifu Prefecture have a number of interesting museums. Several of Gifu city's museums are clustered in Gifu Koen at the foot of Mt. Kinka, on which Gifu Castle is located. Gifu's standout museums include the Gifu City Museum of History, Nawa Insect Museum, Nagaragawa Ukai Museum and Gifu Science Museum.
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