12 Intriguing Museum Collections in the Tokyo Area

Looking for something different or exclusive in Japan after your visit to most of the tourist spots in Tokyo? Here's a list of 12 suggested place for you to visit, which will expand your trip and the understanding of Japanese culture.

Check out our writers’ top Japan travel ideas!

This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy through them, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

1. Edo Tokyo Museum (江戸東京博物館)

Do you want to know more about the culture and the history of Tokyo or Japan? Then, the Edo Tokyo Museum is the place to go. This extensive museum offers lively and hands-on exhibitions depicting the people's real life through the 400 years period from Edo to the modern day Tokyo. Full-sized or smaller-sized models of the town in each periods and occasional events are full of excitement. Free volunteer guides in several languages is recommended to make your visit unforgettable. It's worth visiting for all ages.

HP: www.edo-tokyo-museum.or.jp/en/

HP: www.edo-tokyo-museum.or.jp/zh-tw/ (中文)

Address: 1-4-1 Yokoami, Sumida-ku, Toky (Google Map)

2. Fireworks Museum (両国花火資料館)

The firework museum, 3-minute walk from the Ryogoku station on JR line, is not big but an interesting place. It exhibits the various size of fireworks shells and launching tubes as well as a chronology of the Sumida River Fireworks. Though there are no English explanations, you could get a hint how beautiful fireworks are produced by skilled craftsmen. Free of charge.

HP: sumidagawa-hanabi.com/shiryokan.html (Japanese Only)

Address: 2-10-8 Ryogoku, Sumida-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)

3. Japanese Sword Museum (刀剣博物館)

If you are interested in Japanese swords and armors, the Japanese Sword Museum, close to Shinjuku run by the preservation society, can be added to your list of must-gos. While the exhibit in the Tokyo National Museum focuses on aesthetics and the historical meaning of swords, this museum is intended to preserve the traditional crafts and hand down the related arts to the future generations. Thus, you can learn how to make swords, as well as study masterpieces by famous artisans preserved till this day in great condition. Top-notch Japanese swords and armors are superbly presented.

HP: www.touken.or.jp/museum/ (Japanese Only)

Address: 4-25-10 Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)

4. Japan Open-Air Folk House Museum (川崎市立日本民家園)

It's not in Tokyo but in Kanagawa, but has a direct access from Shinjuku on the Odakyu Line. Within 40 minutes from Shinjuku, you can enjoy over 20 authentic traditional houses gathered and moved from all around Japan. In addition to a leisurely walk around the wide variety of rural architectures, it also offers hands on activities and events which can be enjoyed by all ages. If you want to get some perspectives on rural life in the past, this place is worth visiting.

HP: english.nihonminkaen.jp/

Address: 7-1-1 Masugata, Tama Ward, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa (Google Map)

5. National Museum of Nature and Science (科学博物館)

This museum in Ueno is worth visiting if you are interested in nature. To learn about Japan’s unique geological setting and history before or after your visits to beautiful places or hot springs, will give you different perspectives. The exhibit consists of two parts: the:Global Gallery and the Japan Gallery. The former area has outstanding exhibitions on our planet. In the latter area, you can learn how Japanese islands have been formed into mountainous topography. Don't miss Futabasaurus suzuki, Japanese plesiosaurs, as well!

HP: www.kahaku.go.jp/english/

Address: 7-20 Ueno Park, Taito-ku, (Google Map)

6. Meguro Parasitological Museum (目黒寄生虫館)

Don't call it grotesque.They live under your skin.This obscure, but informative museum entirely devoted to parasites, is said to be the only one of the kinds in the world. Established with the private fund of a Japanese medical doctor, it displays about 300 parasite specimens from its immense collection and it's free of charge. You can learn about parasites and their infection to living thing including mankind. The best attraction is the 8.8m-long tapeworm. If you like their presentation, don't forget to donate some to help researchers to keep running this valuable establishment.

HP: www.kiseichu.org/Pages/english.aspx

Address: 4-1-1 Shimomeguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)

7. Hara Model Railway Museum (原鉄道模型博物館)


The vast collection of Nobutaro Hara, a railway enthusiast, is stunning. His love to railway made him to collect model trains, tickets, and railway related materials from all over the world. Being a great engineer as well, he duplicated railways and trains with real materials and technologies. His model trains run with actual sounds in the world-largest, carefully crafted diorama. It’s located not in Tokyo, but in Yokohama where Japan's railways started. You can get here within 30 minutes from Tokyo station. This wonderland is recommend to all ages with or without interest in railway.

HP: www.hara-mrm.com/english/index.html

HP: www.hara-mrm.com/tw/index.html (中文)

Address: 2F Yokohama Mitsui Building, 1-1-2 Takashima, Nishi-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa (Google Map)

8. Tokyo Toy Museum (東京おもちゃ美術館)

This establishment uses an old school building constructed in 1935. Over several ten thousands of toys from all over the world are available for all ages. Its theme is to enjoy good quality toys and to ease communication between all generations. Regardless of your age and nationality, their collections and hands-on programs with friendly volunteer curators welcome you.

HP: goodtoy.org/ttm/pdf/ttm_pamphlet_e.pdf

HP: goodtoy.org/ttm/ (Japanese Only)

Address: 4-20 Yotsuya, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)

9. Tsumami-Kanzashi Museum (つまみかんざし博物館)

This small museum, in a quiet residential area, is actually a residence and a workplace of craftsmen. Tsumami-kanzashi is a traditional female hair accessory. Tiny silk pieces are picked and folded by hands or a pair of tweezers, and made into beautiful pieces in shape of flowers, birds alike. You can see them decorating the hairs of Maiko girls or young female on a special occasion. The number of craftsmen is decreasing- now there are about ten. The visitors can see their refined works and craftsmen working.

HP: www.ask.ne.jp/~kanzasi/en/e-frame.html

Address: Hills ISHIDA 401, 4-23-28 Takadanobaba, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)

10. Ghibli Museum, Mitaka (ジブリ美術館)

Kentaro Ohno/Flickr

If you are a fan of Ghibli films, this museum is a must-go. Ghibli animation themed museum is designed to recall the world of Ghibli films. You can explore the museum leisurely, or relax at a cafe or at a rooftop garden. Please note that tickets should be purchased in advance at travel agencies in some countries or at Lawson, a convenience store chain, in Japan.

HP: www.ghibli-museum.jp/en/

Address: 1-1-83 Simorenjaku, Mitaka-shi, Tokyo (Google Map)

11. Atami Hihokan (熱海秘宝館)

It's not in Tokyo but in Shizuoka, nor informative like other museums above. Atami Hihokan, literally 'house of hidden treasures,' is one of few sex museums remaining in Japan. The exhibit consists of Japanese sex arts, holograms, figures, games and so on. They are erotic but humorous or silly joke. The entrance fee of 1,700 yen would sound expensive, but if you can enjoy the nice ocean view from the hilltop and get an idea about Japanese attitude toward sex, it could be a fun. You must be over 18 years-old to enter.

HP: www.atami-hihoukan.jp/ (Japanese Only)

Address: 8-15 Wadahama Minamicho, Atami-shi, Shizuoka (Google Map)

12. Orient Industry Showroom (オリエント工業)

Orient Industry, a company specialized in love dolls, is a serious, high-tech business. Their dolls are intended not to be used for sex only but to be loved as a partner. Their silicone skin is smooth, tender to touch and beautiful to look at. Their body is flexible like human beings. The showroom is not touristic attraction and have some restrictions for the visitors. If you are interested in the masterpieces with Japan's technology, should you contact the company directly with a help by some Japanese.

HP: www.orient-doll.com/life/ (Japanese Only)

Kanto Feature

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

tsunagu Japan Newsletter

Subscribe to our free newsletter and we'll show you the best Japan has to offer!

Subscribe Now!
Get your Japan discounts here!

About the author

  • Check out our writers’ top Japan travel ideas!

Restaurant Search

Sign up to our free newsletter to discover the best Japan has to offer.