Thousands of years of history, combined with a thriving contemporary arts scene, is what makes Tokyo museums, arts and culture like nothing you’ve experienced before. The city is home to hundreds of museums and galleries, with contributions from artists all around the world.
Admire the photography, portraits, video works and sculptures of the National Museum of Modern Art and the view of the Imperial Palace East Garden. Visit the cutting-edge museum Intermediatheque in the Kitte Marunouchi building beside Tokyo Station, or for an incredible collection of architecture, fashion and design, make the trip to the Museum of Contemporary Art.
For a surreal, fairytale-like experience, visit Ghibli Museum in Mitaka. Animator Hayao Miyazaki designed the space, which is adorned with original sketches, activities, and animated shorts – a dream collection if you’re a fan of Howl’s Moving Castle, My Neighbour Totoro, or Spirited Away. Tickets must be purchased in advance through your travel agent, Tokyo convenience store or the Lawson website, with entry times staggered.
Tokyo National Museum houses an impressive collection of Japanese art. From ancient pottery and samurai swords to Buddhist sculptures, kimonos and colourful woodblock prints, the museum’s temporary exhibits are a must-see. In true Tokyo spirit, the museum also has a gorgeous garden with several vintage teahouses.
In Roppongi Hills is Mori Art Museum, where the best of contemporary architecture and art is on show. Participate in one of the museum’s many thought-provoking learning programs. These programs are designed to be entertaining, stimulating, and interactive. Patrons are encouraged to join dialogue and debate about what is important in culture and society.
Immerse yourself in the hands-on displays and demonstrations in Miraikan (hall of fame). This National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation showcases science and technology that will shape the world in years to come. It makes for a fascinating day out and you may even get to meet ASIMO, the world-famous humanoid robot.
For a museum experience focused on the natural world, pay a visit to the National Museum of Nature and Science. Be amazed by the fascinating wildlife of Japan, including the giant beetles of Okinawa and bears of Hokkaido. Other highlights include an Edo-era mummy, a giant squid, a rocket launcher, and a seismograph that records earthquakes in real time.
Admire the architectural genius and visiting shows of the National Art Center Tokyo (NACT). In its first year, NACT held over 70 exhibitions, and in 2016, it hosted the 19th Japan Media Arts Festival. Take some time to check out the large exhibition space before retiring to one of the many fantastic cafes in the surrounding area for lunch and a cup of coffee.