Best Museums To Visit In Tokyo

A figure at the Edo-Tokyo Museum
A figure at the Edo-Tokyo Museum | © Stephen Kelly/Flickr
Alicia Joy

Tokyo Writer

From ceramics and architecture to photography and papercraft, Tokyo is home to countless museums celebrating the beauty of art, history, and culture. Museums in general may not have a reputation for excitement, but these establishments are here to change that. Here are our top picks for museums in Tokyo.

1. 21 Design Sight


21_21 Design Sight
© Calton/WikiCommons
21_21 Design Sight was created by award-winning architect Tadao Ando and legendary designer Issey Miyake. The museum is not only a place to display art, architecture, and design, but hosts workshops and events aimed at encouraging the public’s interest in art and design. 21_21 Design Sight is located inside the Tokyo Midtown Mall and is open 11 AM to 8 PM Wednesday to Monday. Entry is 1000 yen per adult and free for children.

2. Musée Tomo


Entrance to the Musée Tomo
© Daderot/WikiCommons
Musée Tomo is a collection of modern Japanese ceramics. The wares are owned by Kikuchi Tomo, who used to show them off in America and Europe before finding a home for them in Tokyo. The extensive collection rotates every couple months. Open 11 AM to 6 PM Tuesday to Sunday, and admission fees vary depending on the exhibition.

3. Mori Art Museum


An image of teamLabs interactive digital installation at the Mori Art Museum, Crows Are Chased and the Chasing Crows Are Destined to be Chased As Well, Blossoming on Collision - Light in Space
© Alicia Joy
One of Tokyo’s more well-known museums, the Mori Art Museum, houses the city’s finest collection of contemporary art. In addition to its rotating exhibits from local and international artists, entry includes access to the Tokyo City View and — weather permitting — the Sky Deck for unbeatable views of central Tokyo. Mori Art Museum is located inside the Roppongi Hills Mall complex.

4. Advertising Museum Tokyo

Library, Museum

Entrance to the Advertising Museum Tokyo
© 妖精書士/WikiCommons
The Advertising Museum Tokyo takes patrons through the past, present, and future of advertising in Japan. Their permanent exhibits feature the history of advertising from the Edo Period and beyond. There are also exhibits on important figures in the world of advertising, and a library of advertising and marketing materials. Temporary exhibits are curated by ad organizations and cover a variety of related topics. Find the Advertising Museum Tokyo inside the Caretta Shiodome Mall, from 11 AM to 6:30 PM (4:30 PM on Saturdays). Closed Sundays and Mondays. Entry is free.

5. Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography


Exhibits at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography change regularly, and you only need to pay for the ones you want to see. Both local and international artists are spotlighted. The museum just reopened in August after a lengthy renovation period. Open from 10 AM to 6 PM daily (8 PM on Thursday and Friday). Closed Mondays.

6. Kite Museum (Tako-no-Hakubutsukan)


An image of Japanese kites
© Momotarou2012/WikiCommons
The Tokyo Kite Museum displays traditional Japanese paper kites and takes up the fifth floor of the popular Taimeiken restaurant. Kites were a hobby of the former owner of Taimeiken, Shingo Modegi, who helped to establish the museum in his restaurant. Although the museum is small, it exhibits some 3,000 paper washi and bamboo-framed kites. Entry is 200 yen for adults; open 11 AM to 5 PM daily and closed on Sundays.

7. Ghibli Museum

Museum, Theater

The Ghibli Museum showcases the animations of Studio Ghibli
© MergeIdea / Shutterstock
A trip to Tokyo wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Ghibli Museum — for fans of the award-winning animation production studio, anyway. The museum is located beside Inokashira Park in Kichijoji, ones of the cities’ most beautiful locales. The only downside is that tickets must be purchased in advance. Buy tickets online through a third-party agent or at a Lawson convenience store kiosk. Open 10 AM to 6 PM Wednesday to Monday.

8. Edo-Tokyo Museum


Model of a Kabuki theater at the Edo-Tokyo Museum
© DocChewbacca/Flickr
The Edo-Tokyo Museum is a lesson in Japanese history. The museum houses Edo-era replicas and a wealth of information on Tokyo’s humble beginnings to the present. There is both a permanent collection and space for special exhibitions. Open from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM Tuesday to Sunday (7:30 PM on Saturday). Admission: 600 yen per adult and free for children.

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