DISCOVER JAPAN’S MOST INTERESTING MUSEUMS
Museums are an excellent opportunity to delve into Japanese history and culture — but these aren’t your typical museums. Unusual subjects, unexpected displays and uncommon sights make these museums a little different than your run-of-the-mill gallery of glass display cases. This list captures Japan’s most interesting museums, like a collection of rebuilt historical structures and a natural history museum that was designed to disappear under snow.
Discover Japan’s most curious museums and the incredible stories they tell.
Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum
Journey through Tokyo’s architectural history at a park-like museum with 30 rebuilt structures from the 19th and 20th centuries.
Showcasing the work of the famed Japanese animation studio, Ghibli Museum invites visitors into the curious world of Studio Ghibli.
Website: Ghibli Museum
Museum of Kites
Thousands of unique kites have been carefully collected in a museum — that just so happens to be above a restaurant. See traditional, modern, handcrafted and dynamic flying creations.
Echigo-Matsunoyama Museum of Natural Science
Also known as Kyororo, the museum essentially disappears under the region’s heavy snowfall, and aquarium-like windows turn the snow into an exhibit all its own. Don’t miss the Matsunoyama Treasure Box, where locals store their own treasures.
Nima Sand Museum
Can sand sing? This museum displays the region’s sand, which does indeed make sounds under pressure. Hands-on experiences and the world’s biggest hourglass, which takes an entire year to empty, make for dynamic exhibits.
Website: Nima Sand Museum
Kaiyodo Kappa Museum
Visit a cottage in the woods to learn about the mythical kappa, or water sprite…who just so happen to like cucumbers.
Wesbite: Kaiyoda Kappa Museum
Fudenosato Kobo Brush Museum
A single town, Kumano, creates the majority of Japan’s calligraphy brushes. Calligraphy is an art central to Japanese culture making this museum of handcrafted brushes a glimpse into Japan’s past and present.
Website: Fudenosato Kobo Brush Museum
Tobacco & Salt Museum
An otherwise unlikely pair, tobacco and salt were once protected under Japanese government monopolies. This museum explores their cultural importance.
Website: Tobacco & Salt Museum
Japon Louvre Sculpture Museum
A sister to France’s Louvre Museum, this location features 1,300 replica sculptures — all carefully crafted from molds of the originals. It also has a replica of one sculpture that has never been put on display in France.
Website: Japon Louvre Sculpture Museum
Cup Noodles Museum Osaka Ikeda (Momofuku Ando Invention Memorial)
Who hasn’t enjoyed a savory serving of instant ramen? Discover its origin and enjoy the hands-on experience of making your own.
Website: Cup Noodles Museum Osaka Ikeda