Top 14 Tokyo Museums

Museums are a tried and tested good day out. Problem is, Tokyo has too many to choose from. Our guide to the top 14 Tokyo museums may just help you out.

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Provided by Pixabay

Tokyo museums are many and varied. From the cutesy novelty of the Snoopy or Ghibli museums, to the probing history of the National or the Edo-Tokyo museums, all the way to the cutting edge art of the Museum of Contemporary Art, there’s surely something for everyone.  

But, unfortunately, unless you’re in town for a month or so, you’re not going to be able to hit up them all. Luckily, to help you refine your sightseeing itinerary, we’ve come up with a list of our favourite 14 museums in Tokyo. Check it out. 

1. Tokyo National Museum

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At over 140 years old, the Tokyo National Museum is the oldest museum in Japan and ranks among the largest museums in the world. The museum collects and displays a vast array of irreplaceable archaeological finds, artwork and curiosities from around Asia, with a special focus on Japan. For a comprehensive overview of Asian history, the Tokyo National Museum can’t be beaten. Do make sure, however, you dedicate at least half a day to the experience. 

­  9:30 – 17:00 (last entry 16:30)          

­  Closed on Mondays

  ¥    <620 (Adult)

  ­13-9 Ueno Park, Taito-ku, Tokyo,  Japan

­  Official Website

2. National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo

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Located in Ueno Park, this is another national museum, this time dedicated to the natural sciences. Renovated in the 2000s, the museum is home to a wide array of natural history and family-friendly interactive science exhibitions. Taking visitors all the way from primitive history to space technology, it is a comprehensive, fun and endlessly educational day out. One of the highlights is the 360-degree theatre, an immersive multi-dimensional cinema experience that never fails to impress.

­  9:30 – 17:00 (last entry 16:30)    

­  Closed on Mondays

  ¥    <620 (Adult)

  ­7-20 Ueno Park, Taito-ku, Tokyo

­  Official Website

3. Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (MOT)

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First opened in 1995, the Museum of Contemporary Art’s mission is to collect and exhibit the work of contemporary artists from across the globe. Focussing on both significant post-war art movements as well as today’s avant-garde, it is a varied and every intriguing collection. Past exhibitions from the likes of Yoko Ono, Osamu Tezuka and Pixar have drawn big crowds and although temporarily closed for renovations, future exhibitions promise to do the same. Also including an on-site restaurant, cafe and library featuring over 100,000 art-related books, it makes for an excellent cultural day out. 

  Temporarily Closed for Renovations

  ­4-1-1 Miyoshi, Koto-ku, Tokyo,  Japan

­  Official Website

4. Mori Art Museum

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A contemporary art museum situated on the 53rd floor of Roppongi Hills‘s Mori Tower, a major complex in the heart of Tokyo. The museum has a collection of over 400 works of contemporary art from throughout Asia, plus hosts regular temporary exhibitions focussing on an array of themes. Mori prides itself on the originality and accessibility of its exhibitions, making it a space for exciting contemporary art for all. What’s more, situated in the heart of Roppongi Hills, a brilliant range of shopping, dining and entertainment options are a stone’s throw away. 

  ­10:00-22:00 (last entry 21:30)          

­  10:00-17:00 ( Tuesdays)

  ¥    <1,600 (Adult)

  53F Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, 6-10-1 Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan

­  Official Website

5. Japanese Folk Crafts Museum

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The Japanese Folk Craft Museum was found in 1936 by Soetsu Yanagi, a philosopher and founder of the mingei (folk crafts) movement in the late 1920s. The movement concerned itself with Japan’s increasingly threatened folk crafts, the everyday objects (pots, pans, bowls, etc.) of the countries past, and vowed to help preserve them. Today, over 17,000 folk craft objects from around the world are displayed at the museum, making for a beautifully unique museum experience.   

­  10:00 – 17:00 (last entry 16:30)

­  Closed on Mondays

  ¥    <1,100 (Adult)

  ­4-3-33 Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, Japan

­  Official Website

6. Edo-Tokyo Museum

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The Edo-Tokyo Museum has been one of Tokyo’s most popular tourist attractions since opening in 1993. The museum tracks Tokyo’s development from its Edo beginnings to becoming the largest city on earth. With a huge collection of artefacts, lots of hands-on, interactive displays and a regular program of demonstrations and classes in things like traditional street performances, handicraft making and theatre, it is an unmissable Tokyo museum. What’s more, the museum’s building is an impressive piece of Tokyo architecture

­  9:30 – 17:30 / Sat. 9:30 – 19:30 (last entry 30 min. before closing)          

­  Closed on Mondays

  ¥    <600 (Adult)

  ­1-4-1 Yokoami, Sumida-ku, Tokyo,  Japan

­  Official Website

7. Samurai Museum

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Located on an unassuming backstreet of Shinjuku’s Kabukicho district, the Samurai Museum may not be huge, but the displays certainly pack a punch. The museum’s friendly and ever-helpful owners have amassed an impressive collection of original and recreated samurai armour, weapons and paraphernalia, all of which is artfully displayed over the museum’s two floors. Whilst there, take the opportunity to don some samurai battle-wear or take part in a calligraphy lesson to really immerse yourself in the history. 

­  10:00 – 21:00 (last entry 20:30)

  ¥    <1,800 (Adult)

  ­2-25-6 Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan

­  Official Website

8. Tokyo Photographic Art Museum

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Reopening after extensive renovations in August 2016, the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum now functions as Tokyo’s leading space for the showcasing of photographic art from across Japan and further afield. As well as displaying an impressive permanent collection, the museum acts as an incubator for emerging talent and aims to encourage exchanges between Japan’s photographers and the rest of the world. The Image and Technology gallery in the museum’s basement traces the history and development of visual media and includes hands-on visual experiments.   

­  10:00 – 18:00 / Thu. & Fri. 10:00 – 20:00 (last entry 16:30)          

­  Closed on Mondays and New Year

  ¥    Vary depending on the exhibitions

  ­1-13-3 Yebisu Garden Place, Mita Meguro, Tokyo, Japan

­  Official Website

9. Miraikan (The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation)

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First opened in 2009, the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, Miraikan for short, aims to deepen our understanding of the world today and encourages us to dare to imagine what the future holds. The museum is fully hands-on, encouraging visitors to engage with the science in an inquisitive, playful way. A full schedule of talks, lectures and demonstrations are also available to take advantage of year-round. 

­  10:00 – 17:00 (last admission 16:30)          

­  Closed on Tuesdays and New Year

  ¥    <620 (Adult)

  ­2-3-6 Aomi, Koto-ku, Tokyo,  Japan

­  Official Website

10. Ghibli Museum

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The museum of Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli animation house and one of Tokyo’s biggest tourist draws. Set in the beautiful surrounds of Kichijoji’s Inokashira Park, the museum, a whimsical journey into the world of Ghibli, is a delight for any fan of the films. Find characters around every corner, check out the exhibitions dedicated to animation and the world of Ghibli, take a ton of photos and relax in the roof garden. A magical day out, but make sure you secure tickets in advance to avoid disappointment. 

­  10:00 – 18:00        

­  Closed on Tuesdays and New    Year

  ¥    <1,000 (Adult)

  ­1-1-83 Simorenjaku, Mitaka, Tokyo,  Japan

­  Official Website

11. Nezu Museum

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Founded in order to preserve philanthropist Nezu Kaichiro’s collection of pre-modern Japanese and East Asian art, the Nezu Museum was re-opened in 2009 following renovations and is now one of Tokyo’s finest museums. Nezu’s private collection is made up of roughly 7,400 pieces of unique art, including multiple pieces considered Japanese national treasures. Outside, find a traditionally landscaped Japanese garden featuring some rare examples of immaculately preserved tea-houses. 

­  10:00 – 17:00 (last admission 16:30)          

­  Closed on Mondays

  ¥    <1,100 (Adult)

  ­6-5-1 Minamiaoyama, Minato, Tokyo,  Japan

­  Official Website

12. Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum, Tokyo

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Fittingly housed in one of the few examples of 19th-century European architecture anywhere in Tokyo, the Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum was opened as a home for 19th-century art from around the world in 2010. Focussing predominantly on the latter half of that century, the museum’s permanent and temporary exhibitions tend to focus on the turn to Modernism, post-restoration Japan and the beginnings of industrial society.  

­  10:00 – 18:00 (last admission 16:30)          

­  Closed on Mondays and New Year

  ¥    Varies according to the exhibition.

  ­2-6-2 Marunouchi, Chiyoda, Tokyo,  Japan

­  Official Website

13. Snoopy Museum 

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Dive into the world of Peanuts at Tokyo’s Snoopy Museum. A fun, family-friendly museum where you can learn about Snoopy’s creator Charles M. Schulz, check out the exhibitions (changed every 6-months), pick up some exclusive Snoopy merchandise and unwind at Cafe Blanket. A museum like no other, this is certainly an only-in-Tokyo experience. 

­  10:00 – 20:00 (last admission 19:30)

­ Closed over New Year

  ¥    <2,000 (Adult) / <1,800 (Adult Advance Ticket)

  ­5-6-20 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan

­  Official Website

14. Cup Noodle Museum (Yokohama)

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If your appreciation of cup noodles knows no bounds, you know where to head. The Cup Noodle Museum runs visitors through the fascinating history of the humble cup noodle, explains the science that backs it up and even lets you get hands on by creating your very own cup noodle packaging. Although in Yokohama, the museum is easily accessible by train from Tokyo, especially if you fuel up with some noodles beforehand. 

­  10:00 – 18:00 (last admission 17:00)          

­  Closed on Tuesdays and New Year 

  ¥    <500 (Adult)

  2-3-4 Shinko, Naka-ku, Yokohama,  Japan

­  Official Website

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