Japan’s Unique Museums – While the idea of a museum might conjure images of ancient artifacts and famous paintings, the world of museums is far more diverse and intriguing. Some Japan’s Unique Museums are dedicated to themes that may seem peculiar or unconventional at first glance.
However, it’s precisely the niche and unique nature of these museums that make them intriguing destinations for exploration.
3 Japan’s Unique Museums
In this article, we’ll take you on a tour of themed museums that are perfect for a leisurely visit on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
1. Ghibli Museum, Mitaka
A Journey into the World of Miyazaki’s Magic
IMAGE BY MUSEO D’ARTE GHIBLI
Nestled amidst the lush greenery of Inokashira Park, the Ghibli Museum transports visitors into a real-life scene from the iconic Ghibli movies. Designed by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki, the museum spares no detail in recreating the enchanting world of Ghibli.
From the moment you step inside and exchange your ticket for a collectible movie still, you’re immersed in the magic. Totoro peeks out from a window, and every aspect of the museum, from ceiling paintings to door knobs, contributes to the real-life Ghibli experience.
Unlike traditional museums, the Ghibli Museum has no predefined path, allowing guests to explore at their own pace. Delve into alcoves, discover a replica of the Ghibli studio, and peruse books personally selected by Miyazaki. Children under 12 can even hop on the My Neighbor Totoro cat bus.
With ever-changing exhibitions and permanent displays, the museum offers something new with each visit. Don’t forget to catch a Ghibli movie at the beautifully designed theater. Note: Pictures are not allowed inside the museum, but the garden is a perfect spot for photographs. Remember to book tickets well in advance, and be punctual, as latecomers may not be admitted.
2. Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum
Exploring the Avant-Garde Artistry of Taro Okamoto
Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum
Nestled in the upscale Aoyama district, the Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum is a hidden jungle of art. Taro Okamoto, an avant-garde painter, was one of Japan’s most celebrated artists in the 20th century. This memorial museum resides in his former atelier, showcasing his studio exactly as it was when he passed away.
Visitors can explore the Salon, where Okamoto held meetings on quirky stools he designed. The second-floor atrium, created especially for the museum, hosts temporary exhibitions about his life and works (mostly in Japanese). The garden, with its tropical plants and iconic, cartoon-like sculptures, is a visual treat. Don’t miss a visit to the delightful café named A Piece of Cake, where you can relax with a view of the garden jungle.
3. Mansion of Earl Maeda
A Stately Home in the Heart of Tokyo
Mansion of Earl Maeda
Hidden within Komaba Park near Shibuya, the Mansion of Earl Maeda is a captivating sight. Toshinari Maeda, the son of a feudal lord turned high-ranking Japanese commander, led a remarkable life. His former residence, completed in 1927, resembles an English stately home plucked from the British countryside and placed in the heart of Tokyo.
The adjacent building is Maeda’s Japanese teahouse, a striking contrast to the grand mansion. Entrance is free, and visitors are provided with bags for their shoes before they explore. Wander through the elegant mansion, and then step into the teahouse to experience two different worlds coexisting.
4. NTT InterCommunication Center (ICC)
Where Art, Science, and Technology Collide
PHOTO BY KIOKU KEIZO PHOTO COURTESY: NTT INTERCOMMUNICATION CENTER [ICC]
The NTT InterCommunication Center (ICC) may sound mysterious, but it’s a hub for showcasing the best in technology, both old and new. Operated by NTT East Corporation, Japan‘s premier telecommunication company, the ICC features an anechoic chamber where external sound is completely eliminated, offering an intriguing auditory experience.
Interactive exhibits invite visitors to explore cause and effect, and historical timelines trace the evolution of technology throughout history. The ICC serves as a space where art, science, and technology converge. Exhibitions change periodically, and the center hosts artist talks and workshops. Note that reservations may be required to experience the anechoic chamber, depending on the exhibition.
Museums come in all shapes and sizes, and their themes can range from the expected to the utterly unexpected. These unique museums offer a glimpse into fascinating worlds that challenge conventional expectations.
So, the next time you’re looking for an offbeat and memorable experience on a rainy Sunday afternoon, consider paying a visit to one of these hidden gems. They may just leave you with a whole new perspective on what museums can offer.