The Best Museums in Tokyo 2019

Photo of author

Fancy exploring some of the best Museums in Tokyo 2019? Here’s our Tokyo Museum guide with more information about each museum as well as the exhibitions, opening hours and admission fee.

Tokyo is an enigma. This metropolis bustles with life and while everyone looks to the future, it’s worthwhile to explore some of the past and experience it in the most beautiful museums in Tokyo.

Whether you’re a tourist or a native, we’re sure you will find many interesting Tokyo museums on this list that matches your interests and are totally worth your time.

Tokyo National Museum

The Tokyo National Museum is the oldest and largest art museum in Japan. Housing exhibits from Japan and also many Asian countries as far as the Silk Road, the TNM has an impressive collection of antiques, artwork and other artifacts that can walk you through hundreds of years of history. With special exhibitions and events organized every month, it is guaranteed to be a different experience every time you visit.

  • Address:13-9 Uenokoen, Taito City, Tokyo 110-8712
  • Opening hours: Tuesdays to Sundays from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM (open till 7:30 PM on Saturdays).
  • Admission Fee: Free for children under 18 and seniors over 70. Adults: 620 Yen. University Students 410 Yen. Group Discounts of 100 yen per person available for groups of 20 and more.
Tokyo National Musem
Photo: f11photo /

Edo-Tokyo Museum

The Edo-Tokyo Museum is a museum dedicated to the Edo era (1603 – 1868) of Japanese history. The most striking part of this museum is the building itself.

The Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum is an extension of this amazing museum and is worth a visit as well. It is located in the Koganei Park and is separate from the main museum in Yokoami. The open-air museum allows visitors to experience life in the Edo and Meiji eras.

  • Address: 1 Chome-4-1 Yokoami, Sumida City, Tokyo 130-0015
  • Opening hours: Tuesdays to Sundays from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM (open till 9:00 PM on Fridays and Saturdays).
  • Admission Fee: 300 Yen for Children and Seniors over 65 years and 600 Yen for Adults. Group discounts for 20 or more.
Edo Tokyo Museum

Yushukan Museum

The Yushukan is a war memorial museum and is admittedly the most controversial entry in this list. The museum and its administration have been widely accused of rewriting history and glorifying Japan’s military past.

However, it’s definitely one to check out as it preserves very important aspects of the nation’s war history and allows the visitors to experience the stark contrast in the past, present, and future. You may also visit the shrine commemorating the soldiers that died fighting for their Emperor.

  • Address: 3 Chome-1-1 Kudankita, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 102-0073
  • Opening hours: Seven days a week from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM.
  • Admission Fee: 100-500 yen for students (elementary school to university) and 800 yen for adults.
museums in tokyo
Photo: cowardlion /

National Museum of Nature and Science

One of the most famous natural history museums in the whole country, The National Museum of Nature and Science houses an impressive collection of fossils, specimens, and models from the animal and the plant kingdom and even a meteorite fragment.

The museum is very popular among kids as the entry is free so we recommend this one wholeheartedly for the entire family.

  • Address: 7-20 Uenokoen, Taito City, Tokyo 110-8718
  • Opening hours: Tuesdays to Sundays 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
  • Admission Fee: Free for High School Students and younger, 620 Yen for Adults.
National Museum of Nature and Science tokyo
Photo: bluehand /

Yebisu Beer Museum

From a world-renowned brand, this is a delightful museum if you’re a fan of Japanese beer. You may even sample multiple varieties and did we tell you that the entry is free?

It is recommended to sign up for a Yebisu guided tour which is conducted in English, Japanese and Korean languages. All in all, this could be a very smart and refreshing detour in your museum hunt in Tokyo

  • Address: 4-20-1, Ebisu, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-8522
  • Opening hours: Tuesdays to Sundays from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM.
  • Admission Fee: Free
museums in tokyo
Photo: cowardlion /

The Japanese Sword Museum

Another museum in this list where the architecture of building captivates you just as much as the exhibits inside it. The Japanese Sword Museum is comprised of three floors with a roof garden on the third floor beside the special exhibition space.

Thematic exhibitions run throughout the year in the third-floor special exhibition space which is the only paid area in this house of swords. The katanas that you see here are probably one of their kind in the whole world, each uniquely manufactured for its owner.

  • Address: 1-12-9 Yokoami, Sumida City, Tokyo 130-0015
  • Opening hours: Wednesdays to Sundays from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Admission Fee: Free for all. The special exhibition space on the third floor requires a ticket.
Japanese Sword Museum
Photo: Shutterstock

Samurai Museum

One of the more traditional museums in the city, this museum is home to some extremely rare authentic Samurai artifacts including armors, weapons and other related gear. It is one of the best attractions in Tokyo, to learn more about the iconic Japanese Samurai. 

The walk through the museum is like walking through the history of the Samurai culture enabling you to understand and appreciate their way of life. Finally, there are daily sword shows starting at 2 PM and continuing hourly till 5 PM where two trained performers demonstrate the art of Samurai sword fighting.

  • Address: 2-25-6, Kabukicho, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 160-0021
  • Opening hours: Seven days a week from 10:30 AM to 9:00 PM.
  • Admission Fee: Free for Children under 3, 750 Yen for Children under 12 and 1500 Yen for adults.
Samurai museum tokyo
Photo: Vassamon Anansukkasem /

Miraikan – National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation

Miraikan is one of the most talked-about museums in the country. After all, there is only one place where you can find this many amazing innovations housed in one location. It can be dubbed a museum of geology or even seismology as a wide array of seismometers gathering data from the entire country show it gently vibrating and on the move the whole time.

Do consider a visit to the exciting Dome Theatre for an amazing experience as well. Tickets are only an additional 300 Yen but totally worth the price.

  • Address: 2-3-6 Aomi, Koto City, Tokyo 135-0064
  • Opening hours: Wednesdays to Mondays from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Admission Fee: 210 Yen for children under 18 and 620 Yen for adults. Group discounts available for groups of 8 or more.
Miraikan tokyo
Photo: cowardlion /

Currency Museum

Currency has become such a ubiquitous part of our lives that we don’t even consider how it evolved. The Currency Museum of the Bank of Japan allows us to delve into this fantasy.

It features a fantastic exhibition of an extraordinarily huge variety of notes, bills, coins, and other items treated as currencies since time immemorial. There are also some very rare and possibly the only remaining items from some really old currencies from around the world making this a must-visit on your trip to Tokyo.

  • Address: 1-3-1, Nihonbashihongokucho, Chuo City, Tokyo 103-0021
  • Opening hours: Tuesdays to Sundays from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM
  • Admission Fee: Free for all
currency museum
Photo: TK Kurikawa /

Ghibli Museum

Studio Ghibli is a global powerhouse when it comes to animations. Their magnificent museum is a definite must-visit for anyone at all but its also one of the most difficult ones to visit simply because of the limited amount of tickets available for purchase.

Adding to the exclusivity is the fact that photos are not allowed inside the museum which makes it a full experience where you’re not distracted by the urge to “preserve” your experience as a memory but actually enjoy it.

The museum walks you through the famous creations of the studio like the Totoro characters among others. You can watch many short films and another lovely experience is to witness one of the world’s best zoetrope in action. Not just your children, this place is guaranteed to bring out the inner child in you as well

  • Address: 1-1-83 Shimorenjaku, Mitaka, Tokyo 181-0013
  • Opening hours: Wednesdays to Mondays from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
  • Admission Fee: Free for Children Under 3, 100-700 Yen for Children Under 18, 1000 Yen for adults.
Studio Ghibli
Photo: cowardlion /

Suginami Animation Museum

Another treat for kids, this museum is dedicated to the history of animation in Japan. Complete with a manga and anime library, this place is a treat for fans and a welcome experience for anyone interested in how anime is made, its principles and also its future in Japan.

The museum will take an hour maximum so it’s worthwhile to treat your children or your inner child by squeezing this one in your itinerary.

  • Address: 3-29-5, Kamiogi, Suginami City, Tokyo 167-0043
  • Opening hours: Tuesdays to Sundays from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
  • Admission Fee: Free. Reservations recommended for groups of six or more.

Yayoi Kusama Museum

One of the most exclusive and popular museums in the city, this museum is run by the Yayoi Kusama Foundation and features exclusive works of the famous artist, Yayoi Kusama. With strict rules for entry and tickets to be purchased two months in advance, this is one of the most exclusive museums in the world.

A successful entry to the museum grants you a 90-minute slot to navigate through the contemporary art of Yayoi Kusama. The museum is small and the thirty-odd artworks on display at any given time are rotated so in a way your experience is guaranteed to be a new one every time you visit.

  • Address: 107 Bentencho, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 162-0851
  • Opening hours: Tuesdays to Sundays from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Closed on Mondays
  • Admission Fee: Free for Children under 6, 600 Yen for Children Under 18, 1000 Yen for Adults.
Yayoi Kusama
Photo: 文部科学省ホ

Hara Museum of Contemporary Art

According to the founder, Toshio Hara, this is one of the first museums dedicated to contemporary art and was envisioned to be a place to promote international exchange.

The museum hosts several different exhibitions throughout the year and patrons are invited to experience the artworks in a peaceful and quiet residential area of Shinagawa. If you ask us, this is a wonderful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and a welcome respite on your day out in Tokyo.

  • Address: 4-7-25 Kitashinagawa, Shinagawa City, Tokyo 140-0001
  • Opening hours: Tuesdays to Sundays from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM (open till 8.00 PM on Wednesdays)
  • Admission Fee: 500-700 Yen for Children, 550 Yen for Seniors, 1,100 Yen for Adults. Hara Museum members enter free. Group discounts available for groups of 20 or more.
Hara Museum of Contemporary Art tokyo
Photo: Wiiii

National Museum of Modern Art

The National Museum of Modern Art showcases the influence of Western art in 20th-century artists in Japan. The museum is well known for its exhibits including artworks like painting and crafts whereas the temporary and permanent exhibitions are also of great interest to anyone who visits this museum.

  • Address: 3-1 Kitanomarukoen, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 102-8322
  • Opening hours: Tuesdays to Sundays from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Closed on Mondays.
  • Admission Fee: Free for Children Under 18 and Seniors, 150 Yen for College and University students, 300 Yen for adults.
National Museum of Modern Art Tokyo
Photo: Kakidai

Nezu Museum

The Nezu Museum has been a Nezu family heirloom for decades. With the main aim to preserve and extend the collection of Kaichiro Nezu, the museum in its modern form aims to advance the knowledge of premodern and East Asian artwork and style.

With over 7,400 pieces in its collection, the museum is also a very welcome experience for all the tea lovers as Nezu himself loved tea and the culture and history behind it. Most importantly, all exhibits have English translations which is useful since most foreigners don’t speak Japanese.

Do take a walk to the adjoining garden right next to the museum to close out your day in Tokyo. The walk through this garden is as memorable as the museum itself with statues, monuments and mini waterfalls adorning the pathways.

  • Address: 6-5-1 Minamiaoyama, Minato City, Tokyo 107-006
  • Opening hours: Wednesdays to Mondays from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Admission Fee: Free for Junior High School students and below, 800 Yen for Senior High School students and above, 1100 yen for Adults
Nezu Museum
Photo: Shutterstock

National Museum of Western Art

When entering the National Museum of Western Art, be sure to remember that you’re in Tokyo because this museum has a very European feel to it. The museum’s permanent collection has paintings from famous artists like Ganguin, Renoir and van Gogh just to name a few and it is rightfully considered a powerhouse of Western Art in the Land of the Rising Sun.

The museum regularly organizes special exhibitions which are accessible with extra payment but we totally recommend checking these out once you have had your fill with the amazing permanent collection.

  • Address: 7-7 Uenokoen, Taito City, Tokyo 110-0007
  • Opening hours: Tuesdays to Sundays from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM (open till 9:00 PM on Fridays and Saturdays).
  • Admission Fee: Free for children under 18, 250 Yen for University students and 500 Yen for adults. Group discounts available for groups of 20 or more.
national musuem of western art
Photo: picture cells /

Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum

The Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum holds a unique distinction in showcasing work of unique and starkly different eras of history as well as the contemporary and modern art of today’s artists.

Specializing in local work and spanning over five galleries with a sixth one for special exhibitions, the museum has a large section on the ground floor devoted to the works and creations of current Japanese artists.

Furthermore, admission is free for all which is a very welcome treat for visitors who regularly have to fork out hundreds, if not thousands, of yens for every museum they visit.

  • Address: 8-36 Uenokoen, Taito City, Tokyo 110-0007
  • Opening hours: Tuesdays to Sundays from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM (open till 8:00 PM on Saturdays).
  • Admission Fee: Free entry for all. Entry to the Special Exhibitions is paid.
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum
Photo: cowardlion /

Mori Museum

The Mori Art Museum has one of Asia’s largest contemporary art spaces. Located on the 53rd floor and with an art gallery right next to the City Observation Deck at the 52nd floor of the Mori Towers, there is often only one special exhibition which you can visit.

After seeing the exhibition, visitors naturally move on to the observation deck that offers striking views of the city. The artwork at the display is usually of the modern genre and worth a visit before you close out your day in Tokyo with a magnificent view of the city.

Another very important mention to the Mori Art Museum is the latest entry from the same company in collaboration with teamLab; the teamLab Borderless or Mori Building Digital Art Museum. Prepare to be amazed by the creations of digital artists as you lose yourself in the immersive digital reality.

  • Address: 6-10-1, Roppongi Hills, Mori Tower 52F, Minato City, Tokyo 106-6150
  • Opening hours: Seven days a week from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM (until 5:00 PM on Tuesdays).
  • Admission Fee: Free for Children under 4, 600-1200 Yen for Students and 1800 Yen for Adults.
mori museum
Photo: Aberu.Go /

More about the Museums in Tokyo

Tokyo is an amazing city with a charm of its own. The city administration, as well as private collectors and organizations, have gone out of their way to preserve their past.

With well over 100 museums in Tokyo covering all sorts of genres from modern and contemporary art to animation and photography. You can also experience various eras of history including some featuring Japan’s military past and how art flourished and evolved with the passage of time.

Museums in Tokyo for Kids

Fujiko F Fujio Museum a.k.a. The Doraemon Museum

Dedicated to the famed animation maestro and creator of Doraemon, a visit to the Fujiko F Fujio Museum is a dream come true for all kids.

Miraikan – National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation
Miraikan is a favorite among families and for good reason. Kids are inquisitive creatures and this museum has it all to arouse their curiosity with unique, innovative and mind-blowing exhibits. Plus, they’re mostly interactive so it’s worth a visit with children.

Ghibli Museum

This museum would seem like a theme park for kids with its ornate and elaborate displays of the Studio Ghibli’s creation. Prepare to see the children gleefully engage in activities in this wonderful place

Suginami Animation Museum

Kids love animation and especially in today’s age almost all the content produced for children has some form of animation in it to make it interesting. Bring your children here to show them how it happens.

Tokyo National Museum

This is one museum that is built for all ages. Kids will love the art sections. Very popular among local schools, there are often special exhibitions organized dedicated to the children and are family favorites.

tokyo museums for kids
Photo: cowardlion /

Frequently Asked Questions about Tokyo Museums

Which museums are free in Tokyo?

Tokyo lives up to its name as an expensive city even when it comes to museums. Compared to the rest of the expenses, the ticket prices for museums are actually quite reasonable and, in some cases, nominal. However, from our list specifically, the following museums have free entry for all.

  1. Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum
  2. The Japanese Sword Museum
  3. Currency Museum of the Bank of Japan
  4. Yebisu Beer Museum
  5. Suginami Animation Museum

Almost all other museums have free entry for war veterans and survivors. Most have free entry for children who are in junior high school. Disabled persons and one caregiver can enter without an admission fee in almost all museums as well.

How many museums are there in Tokyo?

There are well over 100 museums in Tokyo, everything from art museums to science, natural history, regional history and much more.

What is a good advice if I have to visit as many museums in Tokyo in a short time span?

We advise you to head to the Ueno Park which has over 15 museums and sites of cultural and historical interest. It is also home to Japan’s most popular city park and if you have only a day or two, this is the best place to visit as many museums as you can in Tokyo.

Is it possible to volunteer in a Tokyo Museum?

It is possible but since the museums are often privately maintained, there is no one-stop for information regarding volunteering activities. We recommend you get in touch with the museum you’re interested to volunteer for and inquire about the openings.

What is the total number of people that visit the Tokyo museums?

The Ueno Park, which is home to several of the top museums in this list, received over 10 million visitors every year. By extension, it is safe to assume that Tokyo easily gets around 20 million visitors in all of its public and privately managed museums combined.

tourists visiting tokyo museum
Photo: Ned Snowman /

Want to know more about museums in Tokyo? Leave a comment below!

Leave a Comment