Back to the Future: Tokyo Museums

Tokyo, Japan

9 places

Anastasia Milovidova

Modern art and hi-tech design instead of manuscripts and antiques – that's what Tokyo museums showcase.

Ghibli Museum

Designed by the iconic Japanese animation director Hayao Miyazaki, it is home to Howl's Moving Castle and Spirited Away characters. Animation-lovers, the earlier you book tickets, the better. They can be booked via special agents outside Japan.

Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum

This open-air museum is a huge park with recreated houses, tea rooms and public baths of the Meiji period period (late 19 - early 20th century). Visitors can explore all buildings both outside and inside.

National Museum of Modern Art (MOMAT)

The oldest of Tokyo's three modern art museums, this 60 year-old veteran is right across the road from the Imperial Palace and boasts a huge collection of Japanese art for over a century, including precious ukiyo-e prints.

Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (MOT)

MOT curators know no fear: they arrange great experimental shows, like 30 Years of Japanese Fashion or Art and Music. Their own collection is some 4,500 pieces by Japanese and overseas artists. The only minus – the museum if far from the city center.

National Art Center

The museum has no collection of its own so it is a huge venue for temporary exhibitions of everything from Japanese posters to media art as well as touring shows of major European museums, like d'Orsay or the Hermitage.


National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation or Miraikan (Future Museum) as everyone calls it, is a great show of interactive installations on medicine, space and electronics.

NTT Inter Communication Center

This center at the heart of Shinjuku is not that known, though it often hosts great shows - a mix of arts and hi-tech. Every third Sunday they have free English-language tour (sign in in advance).

Grutt Pass

This two-month pass to Tokyo's 75 museum is a great deal, but sometimes temporary exhibition require an additional ticket.

Watari Museum of Contemporary Art

Watari Museum is mainly about overseas artists. Its location makes it a number-one stop when walking along Omotesando Avenue.


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