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Top Best Museums to Visit in Tokyo

1. Yayoi Kusama Museum, 2. Ghibli Museum, 3. The National Art Center, Tokyo, 4. Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, 5. The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, 6. Tokyo National Museum, 7. Mori Art Museum, 8. National Museum of Nature and Science, 9. Edo-Tokyo Museum, 10. Nezu Museum. Tokyo is home to some amazing museums and galleries, as it is one of the world's genuine great cities and a driving force in worldwide culture. Tokyo has its own irresistible pulse, as anybody who has dined, partied, or simply walked around the city will confirm. As a result, the various museums in Japan's capital are a far cry from the drab mausoleums of the past. Even lesser collections seek to convey their subjects in inventive, often outrageously innovative ways. Don't know where to start? The top museums in Tokyo are listed below.

  1. Yayoi Kusama Museum
  2. Ghibli Museum
  3. The National Art Center, Tokyo
  4. Tokyo Photographic Art Museum
  5. The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo
  6. Tokyo National Museum
  7. Mori Art Museum
  8. National Museum of Nature and Science
  9. Edo-Tokyo Museum
  10. Nezu Museum

Yayoi Kusama Museum

The Yayoi Kusama Museum is a modern art museum dedicated to the work of Yayoi Kusama, a Japanese artist. The museum is located in Tokyo’s western suburbs, in the Shinjuku Ward. Kume Sekkei, a Japanese architecture studio, created the five-story structure. The building was finished in 2014, and an initial exhibition of 600 of Kusama’s works was held in 2017. One floor of the museum is dedicated to “Pumpkins Screaming About Love Beyond Infinity”, one of Kusama’s infinity room creations.

If you want to visit the world’s only museum dedicated to the fantastically eccentric Yayoi Kusama, make a reservation well in advance. Since the 1960s, the avant-garde provocateur has wowed audiences, but in recent years she has evolved into an online sensation and one of Japan’s most influential artists. The museum, which is near her Shinjuku studio, is one of Tokyo’s most anticipated debuts in recent years. Only 200 people per day are admitted, preventing Instagram influencers from overwhelming works like the mirrored “Infinity Room”.

Location: 107 Bentencho Shinjuku-ku Tokyo 162-0851 Japan

Website: yayoikusamamuseum.jp/en/home

top best museums to visit in tokyo

Yayoi Kusama Museum

top best museums to visit in tokyo

Ghibli Museum

The Ghibli Museum is a museum dedicated to the work of Company Ghibli, a Japanese animation studio. It is located in Inokashira Park in Mitaka, Tokyo’s western suburb. The museum is dedicated to the art and method of animation and incorporates elements of a children’s museum, a technology museum, and a fine arts museum. A reproduction of the Catbus from My Neighbor Totoro (1988), a café, bookshop, rooftop garden, and a theater showing unique Studio Ghibli short films are among the attractions.

The Ghibli Museum’s design is as odd as its collection, and it’s a tiny but meaningful monument to Japan’s most popular animation company. The structure, which resembles a large Italian house, was given a personal touch by director Hayao Miyazaki. A thick covering of foliage covers the mansion’s facade, and a 16-foot-tall robot soldier from the classic film Castle in the Sky glances down from the rooftop garden, morosely. The museum’s position in verdant Inokashira Park makes it feel like a hidden gem, yet it’s been fully booked since it opened. Outside of Japan, tickets for the following three months go on sale on the first of the month, and they sell out immediately.

Location: 1-1-83 Shimorenjaku, Mitaka City, Toukyou-To 181-0013

Website: ghibli-museum.jp

top best museums to visit in tokyo

Ghibli Museum

top best museums to visit in tokyo

The National Art Center, Tokyo

The National Art Center (NACT) is a museum in Tokyo, Japan, located in Roppongi, Minato. It is a collaborative initiative of the Agency for Cultural Affairs and the National Museums Independent Administrative Institution, and it is located on the site of a former University of Tokyo research center.

The National Art Center, Tokyo, is one of the country’s major modern art exhibitions, housed in an undulating concrete and glass edifice created by pioneering Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa. The museum has four rotating shows that span 150,700 square feet and 12 galleries at any given time. This ever-changing place is the antithesis of a stuffy, moldering museum and a must-see for Japanese art and architecture fans. For a culturally rich day, combine your visit with a visit to the adjacent Mori Art Museum or the Suntory Museum of Art. This museum is as much for Tokyo residents as it is for visitors. It is free, strategically located, and constantly has something fresh to offer.

Location: 7-22-2, Roppongi, Minato 106-0032 Tokyo Prefecture

Website: nact.jp/english

top best museums to visit in tokyo

The National Art Center, Tokyo

top best museums to visit in tokyo

Tokyo Photographic Art Museum

The Tokyo Photographic Art Museum is a photography-focused art museum. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government created the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, which is located in Meguro-ku, southwest Tokyo, just a short walk from Ebisu station. There is also a cinema theater at the museum.

The Tokyo Photographic Art Museum is a small four-story facility in the Yebisu Garden Palace complex that shows three closely concentrated exhibitions on Japanese and worldwide photography at any one time. This is more of a low-key neighborhood hangout than a high-profile tourist destination, like the Tokyo National Museum. The bright, modern atmosphere and well-organized galleries make for a fascinating diversion if you’re in the neighborhood, and the curators go to great measures to make the presentation match the subject matter.

Location: 1-13-3 Mita In Ebisu Garden Place, Meguro 153-0062 Tokyo

Website: topmuseum.jp

top best museums to visit in tokyo

Tokyo Photographic Art Museum

top best museums to visit in tokyo

The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

The Tokyo National Museum of Modern Art is the most important museum in Japan for collecting and displaying modern Japanese art. This Tokyo museum is also known as MOMAT in English (National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo). The museum is noted for its 20th-century art collection, which includes both Western-style and Nihonga artists.

The National Museum of Modern Art’s austere gray exterior appears at first to be at odds with Kitanomaru Park’s lush flora. However, within lies one of the world’s best collections of modern Japanese art. The galleries on the fourth and second levels allow visitors to view some of the country’s most difficult times from the perspective of its most prominent artists. The Crafts Gallery is still a short walk away, despite the fact that the museum’s cinema section split off last year to become the National Film Center. While the polished trinity of art museums in Roppongi fills up at peak times, a visit here is much more laid-back; even on weekends, huge lineups are uncommon.

Location: 3-1 Kitanomarukoen, Chiyoda 102-0091 Tokyo

Website: momat.go.jp

top best museums to visit in tokyo

The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

top best museums to visit in tokyo

Tokyo National Museum

The Tokyo National Museum (TNM) is a Japanese art museum located in Ueno Park in Tokyo’s Tait district. It is one of the four museums run by the National Institutes for Cultural Heritage, and it is Japan’s oldest national museum, as well as the country’s largest art museum and one of the world’s largest art museums. The museum gathers, preserves, and exhibits a diverse collection of Asian artwork and cultural artifacts, with a concentration on ancient and medieval Japanese art, as well as Asian art from the Silk Road.

The Tokyo National Museum holds the world’s most complete collection of Japanese art, including intricately embroidered kimonos, samurai swords, serene-faced Buddha statues, and thousand-year-old pottery. The country’s oldest museum, surrounded by the meandering walks and shrines of Ueno Park, is a must-see for everyone from historians to cultural vultures searching for a crash education. More than 110,000 items make up the unrivaled permanent collection. Thankfully, the curators have spaced out their large collection of gems. Each space is artfully designed rather than congested, and special exhibitions rotate on a regular basis, ensuring that the 4,000-plus pieces on show from the permanent collection at any one moment are never the same as they were the last time you visited.

Location: 13-9, Uenokoen, Taito 110-0007 Tokyo

Website: tnm.jp

top best museums to visit in tokyo

Tokyo National Museum

top best museums to visit in tokyo

Mori Art Museum

Minoru Mori (1934–2012), a real estate developer, created the Mori Art Museum in the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower and the Roppongi Hills complex, both of which he developed in Tokyo, Japan. The museum does not have a permanent collection; instead, it hosts temporary exhibits of contemporary artists’ work. Ai Weiwei, Gohar Dashti, Tokujin Yoshioka, and Bill Viola are among the artists whose work has been shown at the museum.

The Mori Art Museum is located on the 52nd and 53rd floors of the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower and is the most visible member of the Roppongi Art Triangle. The entry fee to the main exhibition hall is around $14, which is on the higher end of Tokyo’s cultural attractions. Nonetheless, that ticket gives you access to major works of contemporary art by Ai Weiwei and Dinh Q. Lê, as well as a 360-degree panoramic from one of the city’s highest skyscrapers. Curators in this city excel at designing shows that are both thought-provoking and Instagrammable.

Location: 6-10-1 Roppongi Hills Mori Tower 53F, Roppongi, Minato 106-6150 Tokyo Prefecture

Website: mori.art.museum

top best museums to visit in tokyo

Mori Art Museum

top best museums to visit in tokyo

National Museum of Nature and Science

The National Museum of Nature and Science in Ueno Park, which dates from the 1870s, is a godsend for parents with interested children. This huge museum seems like an extended field trip, with butterflies, a falling meteorite, and all manner of marvels relevant to the broad subject of natural science. The anthropological history, biodiversity, geology, and technical accomplishments of Japan are all highlighted.

The museum offers hours of family-friendly amusement for only a few dollars, with an admission price of roughly $5 for adults and free admittance for children under the age of 18. Realizing that you don’t have to see everything is crucial to getting the most out of your visit to this museum—especially if younger members of your party are starting to fidget. Rather than rushing through the entire collection, focus on one or two topics that interest you.

Location: 7-20, Uenokoen, Taito 110-0007 Tokyo Prefecture

View Details: ueno-bunka.jp/en/facilities/kahaku

top best museums to visit in tokyo

National Museum of Nature and Science

top best museums to visit in tokyo

Edo-Tokyo Museum

Travel back in time 400 years to a time when Japan was controlled by shoguns with an iron grip. Through accurate architectural models and scale reconstructions of Tokyo’s old neighborhoods, the Edo-Tokyo Museum recreates this formative era. The subtle image is completed with original woodblock prints and maps. The museum examines not just the broader political forces at work, but also the daily lives of regular people. Visitors travel across a recreation of the Nihonbashi Bridge to reach the permanent display area before peeking inside reconstructions of tenement dwellings and other long-gone sights.

You’ll learn about everything from the Edo period’s thriving publishing business to the growth of arts like kabuki theater and ukiyo-e, or woodblock printing, as you go through the exhibitions. The museum guides visitors through Tokyo’s quick development from a shielded feudal culture to a globally oriented 21st-century city after extensively examining the past.

Location: 1-4-1 Yokoami, Sumida 130-0015 Tokyo Prefecture

Website: edo-tokyo-museum.or.jp/en

top best museums to visit in tokyo

Edo-Tokyo Museum

top best museums to visit in tokyo

Nezu Museum

The Nezu Museum, a minimalist venue rebuilt by Kengo Kuma, combines traditional East Asian and Japanese art with contemporary architecture. The museum’s high ceilings, bamboo walls, and massive windows overlooking the museum’s lush surrounds in the Aoyama district make it feel more like visiting a smart friend’s house than a traditional gallery. That’s appropriate, given that the museum used to be the private mansion of Nezu Kaichir, the head of Japan’s Tobu Railway. His own collection of pre-modern art accounts for a large portion of the museum’s magnificent 7,400-piece collection.

Despite its notoriety, the museum has managed to remain relatively obscure, and browsing around the six exhibition areas on weekends is a stress-free experience. Take your time admiring the art, pottery, and calligraphy before heading to one of the city’s most beautiful private gardens.

Location: 6-5-1 Minamiaoyama, Minato 107-0062 Tokyo Prefecture

Website: nezu-muse.or.jp

top best museums to visit in tokyo

Nezu Museum

top best museums to visit in tokyo

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