Tokyo's Free Museums 東京の無料な博物館
Visiting several of Tokyo's many museums during a stay in the Japanese capital can be punishing on the wallet, especially if you are paying for a family.
See a listing of some of Tokyo's numerous free museums.
Click on the links to the museum to find further information, access details and opening hours.
Purchasing a Grutt Pass also offers free or discounted entry to several museums in Tokyo.
Advertising Museum Tokyo
The Advertising Museum Tokyo (ADMT) is located in the Caretta Shiodome Building in the Shiodome district of Tokyo close to Shimbashi Station. ADMT is Japan's first museum dedicated to advertising and marketing. ADMT collects, preserves and exhibits advertisements in all their forms from both Japan and overseas.
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 Ward. 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.
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 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.
Meguro Parasitological Museum
The Meguro Parasitological Museum in Meguro, Tokyo claims to be the only museum of its kind in the world, a museum dedicated to bugs, parasites and other creatures that dependently live in or on other organisms, including humans. And it's free to enter.
Meiji University Museum
The Meiji University Museum in Ochanomizu is in the basement of the Academy Common building on the university's Surugadai campus in central Tokyo. The Meiji University Museum has a very diverse collection of exhibits ranging from the history of the university itself, to archaeological remains, to a quirky section on Edo Period punishments and instruments of torture. And it is completely free.
Metropolitan Police Museum
The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Museum in Yurakucho is dedicated to the history of the Japanese capital's police force from Edo times until the present. There's a police helicopter, police motorbike, police uniforms, police car simulators, wall panels and quizzes and uniforms for kids. Close to Kyobashi Station on the Ginza Line. Near to the Mercure Hotel Ginza.
The 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.
Ochanomizu Origami Kaikan
Ochanomizu Origami Kaikan was established as Kobayashi Somegami in 1858 and is a shop cum museum specializing in Japanese paper dyeing and origami products. On the 4th floor, visitors can observe a demonstration of paper dyeing using traditional techniques. There is also a gift shop for purchasing washi paper used in origami and a gallery of stunning origami designs. Classes are also held in the art of origami folding.
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.
Ryogoku Fireworks Museum
Ryogoku Fireworks Museum in the Ryogoku area of Tokyo, close to the Sumida River, the Edo-Tokyo Museum and Eko-in Temple, is a free facility dedicated to the history of fireworks in Japan and the many spectacular fireworks festivals held throughout the year.
Sewerage Museum, Kodaira City, Tokyo
The Sewerage Museum, also known in English as the Kodaira Sewerage Center, focuses on the disposal (and cleaning) of used water. As well as a history of the development of waste water treatment in Tokyo, and Kodaira in particular, from the Edo Period to the present day, the Sewerage Museum includes an actual, working wastewater tunnel.
The Sony Archives in Shinagawa displays 250 iconic Sony products developed since the company's birth in 1946 presented in a hands-on, interactive fashion utilizing touch panels, PCs and video. The exhibits also include Sony TV commercials, original Sony products, and the Founding Prospectus of the company. Admission is free but a reservation by telephone (03 5448 4455) must be made in advance.
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/word-processing technology, as well as some vintage telecommunications and computer gaming-related.
Tokyo Water Science Museum
The Tokyo Water Science Museum (Mizu no Kagakukan) in Ariake is a free-entry, fun and friendly educational resource about water and its supply, provided by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's Bureau of Waterworks.
Tokyo Waterworks Historical Museum
The 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
The 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. The Toshiba Science Museum appeals to young families with children who can learn about science and take part in various fun, interactive science-based games.
Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum (Enpaku)
The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum on the Waseda University campus in Shinjuku-ku is dedicated to the history of drama and is named after Tsubouchi Shoyo (1859-1935), a writer, dramatist and translator. The museum's large collection from around the world includes masks, folding screens, bunraku dolls, theatre magazines, costumes and items related to motion pictures and TV as well as theatre.
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. McCaleb came to Japan in 1892 and built the house in 1907. McCaleb's missionary work included starting a Sunday school and a kindergarten. Both floors of the residence are open to visitors.