Stretching endlessly towards the horizon, this massive metropolis is the perfect place for you to embrace and explore Japan’s unique cultural heritage and, with some of the best museums in the country, visitors to Tokyo will love all that there is to see and do.
With amazing art collections scattered about the city and numerous institutions exploring the culture and history of Japan, you can be learning about some of the country’s amazing artworks one minute and wandering around a reconstructed old town the next.
A creative and innovative place, Tokyo also has its fair share of science and technology museums, which will leave visitors itching to see what future advancements are just around the corner. Whether it is beer that you are interested in or samurai swords and calligraphy, Tokyo’s museums have it all!
In this post, we'll cover:
Known to many people simply as Miraikan, the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation is devoted to exploring, promoting and celebrating the latest cutting-edge technologies and discoveries that impact our world.
Looking at the most recent advancements in science, visitors can experience how humans have impacted various environments; the creativity and innovation on show is breathtaking. There are loads of amazing exhibits for you to explore. Among the many highlights are the stunning Geo-Cosmos – a LED replica of Earth – and the ASIMO robot, which appears so human-like in its movements.
Before heading off to explore the rest of what Tokyo has to offer, make sure to journey around the Shinkai 6500 – a research submersible which allows human to venture over two-hundred meters below the surface of the ocean. Needless to say, the cutting-edge inventions on show at Miraikan will surely wow you and leave you excited for what the future will bring.
9. Museum of Yebisu Beer
Located in Yebisu Garden Place, the former brewery was turned into a museum in 2010 and documents how Yebisu Beer came to be one of the most popular drinks in Japan, with posters and old advertisements on display.
The company became so renowned that the name of the area around it – Ebisu – was derived from the famous brewery. Nowadays, visitors can enjoy walking around the well-thought-out exhibitions, with the tasting salon being the undoubted highlight. Here, you can sample some of the delicious Yebisu Beers on offer.
8. National Museum of Nature and Science
Located in Ueno Park, the National Museum of Nature and Science is a fascinating place to visit. Its extensive collections allow visitors to explore the natural world before looking at how technology has evolved over time to help create the exhibits present before them.
A massive facility, there is so much to see and do in the museum, and the interactive installations really bring some of the displays to life. With lots of ancient fossils for you to peruse, as well as a huge range of fauna and flora on show, the museum is as entertaining as it is interesting and educational.
Having explored the natural wonders of our planet, you can then journey through some of mankind’s achievements, learning about how various tools, instruments, and writing have helped create our world of today. After enjoying the wealth of exhibitions and galleries on offer, walking around the delightful Ueno Park is a relaxing way to cap off a lovely day.
7. Mori Art Museum
Located in the Roppongi Hills Mall, the museum’s stunning location on the 52nd and 53rd floors of the gigantic Mori Tower means that visitors can enjoy much more than the fantastic art collection; the views from up high offer some of the best panoramas of Tokyo in the city.
Dedicated to contemporary art, the Mori Art Museum has a brilliant range of artworks on display; its rotating exhibitions are certainly worth checking out – they feature anything from Middle Eastern Art to local artist’s latest pieces and cutting-edge video art.
It stays open late, so visitors can enjoy splendid views over Tokyo while relaxing with a drink in the Mado Lounge as nighttime falls over the city and the neon lights begin to flicker on. A great experience, the Mori Art Museum is much more than the artworks that is has on display.
6. Nezu Museum
Named after the successful businessman whose extensive private collection led to its founding, the Nezu Museum is a wonderful place to visit. With seven rotating exhibits on offer, visitors will never get bored with the fantastic art on display.
Home to over 7,400 artworks, the museum’s collection is so large that only some of its artifacts and art pieces are on show permanently, with the highlights being the stunning Buddhist statues and lovely Bronze figurines from ancient China.
Focusing on pre-modern Japanese and East-Asian art, there is a wide range of art forms included in the galleries. Visitors to the museum can enjoy sculptures and ceramics, wooden and bamboo art pieces, or paintings and calligraphy, depending on what exhibition is on when they visit. On top of all that, the building in which the collection is housed is lovely.
5. National Museum of Western Art
A very unique museum to visit in Japan, this awesome institution is the only national museum in the country that is dedicated to the exploration and promotion of Western art. The collection on show is stunning for the breadth of artworks that it contains.
Assembled by Matsukata Kojiro – a wealthy shipping magnate – the museum covers nearly eight-hundred years of Western culture. Visitors are able to enjoy many of Europe’s seminal art pieces that are exhibited in its galleries.
Whether it is Monet’s iconic Water Lilies painting or Ruben’s masterpiece ‘Two Sleeping Children,’ the National Museum of Western Art will delight guests with all that it has to offer.
4. The National Art Center
Opened in 2007, the National Art Center is unlike most other museums in the world as it does not actually have its own permanent collection that it exhibits to the public. Instead, the center only hosts special exhibitions, which means that there is a constantly changing range of art collections for locals and tourists to enjoy.
Featuring the largest exhibition space in the whole country, the National Art Center is well worth checking out; its ever-changing features mean that it is always a fun and fresh place to visit.
3. Samurai Museum
Full of amazing suits of armor and samurai blades, the Samurai Museum is loads of fun to visit and you can even try on the old costumes and wield the swords yourself! Offering a fascinating insight into the life of the samurai as well as their history and culture, visitors will love all that there is to see and do in the museum.
On top of the fantastic exhibitions and panels that explore the lives of influential samurai and place them in their historical context, trained actors demonstrate how the samurai would have fought.
The performances that feature such intricate sword-play are certainly entertaining to watch. An immersive experience, visitors can also try their hand at calligraphy and in doing so learn more about Japanese culture.
2. Edo-Tokyo Museum
Dedicated to the Edo/Tokugawa era, this huge museum offers an interesting look at the history and culture of Japan from 1603-1868. The vast models on show are certainly worth visiting for the amazing range of historic buildings that are displayed.
Featuring life-sized models, wandering around the preserved and reconstructed buildings really feels as if you have stepped back in time. The old items on show are faithful to the epochs in which they would have been around in.
With a stunning replica of the Nihonbashi Bridge among the museum’s many attractions, visitors of all ages will enjoy exploring this fantastic museum. In the process, they will learn about how Tokyo became the behemoth that it is today and how Japan came to embrace Western influences, among other things.
On top of its wealth of artifacts, objects, and historical buildings, the museum also hosts music and entertainment performances which bring to life Japan’s rich cultural heritage.
1. Tokyo National Museum
A lovely museum to wander around, the Tokyo National Museum is one of the oldest and indeed most popular in the whole country. As such, it is a must-see when in the bustling metropolis. With a huge collection of artifacts and artworks, the stunning range of paintings, historical objects, and archaeological pieces will enlighten you to various aspects of East-Asian and Japanese culture.
Meandering around statues of the Buddha and exploring some of the other national treasures on display is a fascinating experience and, with over 100,000 items the Tokyo National Museum certainly is an entertaining and interesting visit for all.