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The 15 Best Museums in Tokyo, Japan [2024]

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Tokyo is a world-renowned travel destination for a multitude of reasons, from its vibrance to its culture. One of the best ways to experience what Tokyo has to offer is by visiting some of the city’s many museums. Whether you’re interested in art or folk culture, there’s a Tokyo museum that deserves a spot on your travel itinerary.

The Best Museums in Tokyo

1. Ad Museum Tokyo

Ad Museum Tokyo
Image Credit: Ad Museum Tokyo

First opened in 2002, the Ad Museum Tokyo aims to look at the evolution of the advertising industry. The space’s exhibits are arranged in order, starting with posters and marketing material that have been traced back to the Edo period of the 17th century.

In total, the museum has over 300,000 pieces in its collection, the majority of which are advertising posters, though other forms of marketing are also represented in the facility.

In addition to the museum galleries, which are open to the public, there’s also an on-site library available for research purposes. This museum also houses various temporary exhibitions throughout the year to look at specific ad styles, periods, or companies.

Special events are also held on the premises specifically designed for those interested in marketing. However, keep in mind that many of these events are held exclusively in Japanese, so contact the museum before visiting to be sure you’ll be able to understand.

Admission is free for all visitors. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 12 to 6 p.m. The nearest train stop is JR Shimbashi station.

  • Address: 〒105-7090 Tokyo, Minato City, Higashishinbashi, 1 Chome−8−2 カレッタ汐留

2. Artizon Museum

Artizon Museum
Image Credit: Artizon Museum

The Artizon Museum in Tokyo is one of the city’s premier locations for Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. Though many of the museum’s pieces were created by Japanese artists, European and American art is also showcased on the premises.

Since the museum’s foundation was first founded in 1952, the collection has grown to over 3,000 pieces, from paintings to sculptures.

Some of the artists with pieces in the museum are Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, and Narashige Koide. Some highlighted pieces are “Cup and Spoon” by Picasso, “Woman in a Hat with Flowers” by Renoir, and “Deer Running in the Snow” by Courbet.

The museum has a sizable collection of ancient and antique artwork as well, including Grecian urns and decorative bowls from the Middle East.

In addition to the permanent collection, the space has dedicated areas for temporary exhibitions, which routinely rotate throughout the year to spotlight specific artists and mediums.

Admission is free for students and ¥1,800 (~$12) for the general public. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The nearest train station is JR Tokyo.

  • Address: 1 Chome-7-2 Kyobashi, Chuo City, Tokyo 104-0031

“The museum’s wide-ranging collection incorporates Impressionist works and modern Japanese Western-style paintings. Its distinctive approaches to introducing art include collaborations between contemporary artists and the collection. Enjoy the museum café and shop, too!”

Artizon Museum

3. Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum

Edo Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum
Image Credit: Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum

With 30 buildings on its grounds, Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum is an open space dedicated to Japanese architectural design. This museum first opened in 1993 and consists of restored and, at times, wholly reconstructed historic buildings.

The museum is divided into 3 different areas.

  • Center Zone houses 5 buildings, including the former “Kōkaden Hall,” originally built in 1940.
  • West Zone has 7 different buildings on its grounds, including the “Koide House,” which mixes both Japanese and Western elements.
  • East Zone is the largest and has 14 different buildings, many of which were initially built for commercial purposes, like the “Flower City Flower Shop.”

A series of other outdoor elements are also on display on the grounds, including the former gates of the Imperial Palace, a fire watchtower, and a “Noonday Gun” cannon. Special events are often held on the grounds as well, especially to celebrate Japanese holidays.

Tickets are ¥200 (~$1) for high school and junior high students from outside of Tokyo and seniors 65+, ¥320 (~$2) for university and vocational school students, and ¥400 (~$3) for adults. Admission is free for Tokyo students and visitors with disabilities and their caregivers. The museum is open Wednesday through Monday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The nearest train station is Musashi-Koganai, which is a 10-minute taxi ride away.

  • Address: 〒184-0005 Tokyo, Koganei, Sakuracho, 3 Chome−7−1 内 都立小金井公園

4. Ghibli Museum

Ghibli Museum
Image Credit: Ghibli Museum

First opened in 2002, the Ghibli Museum is entirely dedicated to the work and art of Studio Ghibli and its films. This is a museum geared toward people of all ages and is in part a children’s museum, a technology center, and a gallery of the fine arts.

Ghibli Museum also showcases the history and evolution of animation using Studio Ghibli characters in hands-on and interactive displays. For example, the “Bouncing Totoro” model displays shows visitors how animation first began.

Its studio has even produced a series of short films that can only be seen on the museum premises. These include “The Day I Harvested a Star,” “Boro the Caterpillar,” and “Water Spider Monmon.”

In addition to the permanent exhibit spaces, the studio frequently hosts temporary galleries. These exhibitions typically spotlight animation and artists from around the world or dive deeper into the art behind some of the studio’s most beloved films.

Entrance is free for children under 4, ¥100 (~$1) for kids 4 to 6, ¥400 (~$3) for children 7 to 12, ¥700 (~$5) for kids 13 to 18, and ¥1,000 (~$7) for adults. The museum is open Wednesday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The nearest train station is JR Mitaka and then a 15-minute walk.

  • Address: 1 Chome-1-83 Shimorenjaku, Mitaka, Tokyo 181-0013

5. Japan Folk Crafts Museum

Japan Folk Crafts Museum
Image Credit: Japan Folk Crafts Museum

Tokyo’s Japan Folk Crafts Museum first opened in 1936 to preserve and highlight traditional handcrafted art and crafts from Japanese culture.

Since opening, the facility’s collection has grown to incorporate over 17,000 works of art, the majority of which were created around the 1920s. However, there are also numerous more recent pieces and antiques.

Some of the highlighted pieces housed in the museum are “Dish with Millet Design in Iron,” “Bodhisattva of Wisdom and Intellect,” and “Garment with Striped and Ikat Design.”

This space notably displays art in a wide variety of mediums, ranging from more traditional art like paintings to household items such as clothing and ceramic dishware.

Throughout the year, the facility regularly hosts temporary exhibitions. Most of these highlight important folk artists. Educational events are also occasionally hosted on the premises. These events are often held in English as well as in Japanese. However, check on the event’s language to be sure before your arrival.

Tickets are ¥200 (~$1) for elementary and junior high students, ¥700 (~$5) for high school and university students, and ¥1,200 (~$8) for adults. The main hall is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The nearest train station is Komaba-Tōdaimae.

  • Address: 4 Chome-3-33 Komaba, Meguro City, Tokyo 153-0041

6. Mori Art Museum

Mori Art Museum
Image Credit: Tatsuyuki Tayama via Mori Art Museum

Also called the MAM, the Mori Art Museum is one of Tokyo’s most highly-regarded contemporary art spaces. The space is primarily devoted to showcasing established and rising artists from around the world.

However, unlike many contemporary museums, the MAM has a permanent collection that’s always on display and showcases art from Japan and the rest of the continent. Currently, over 450 works of art are permanently housed on the premises, though a portion of them are typically housed in the archives.

The museum isn’t dedicated to any specific art medium or style. Many of the facility’s exhibitions are considered avant-garde in the world of art. Some of the artists whose work has been displayed at the museum are Shilpa Gupta, Lee Wen, and Yoko Ono.

The Mori Art Museum also acts as an educational space for art students, which includes guided tours for school groups. These tours can be conducted in English as well as in Japanese.

Admission is free for children from 4 to junior high, ¥1,300 (~$9) for high school and university students (¥1,400 (~$10) at weekends), ¥1,500 (~$10) for seniors 65+ (¥1,700 (~$12) at weekends), and ¥1,800 (~$12) for adults (¥2,200 (~$15) at weekends).

The museum is open Wednesday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The nearest subway stop is Roppongi Station.

  • Address: 〒106-6150 Tokyo, Minato City, Roppongi, 6 Chome−10−1, Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, 53階

7. The National Museum of Modern Art

The National Museum of Modern Art
Image Credit: The National Museum of Modern Art

Initially opened in 1952, the National Museum of Modern Art, also called the MOMAT,  was the first national art museum in the country. Since then, it’s also grown to be one of the best modern art facilities in Japan and one of the greatest in the world.

The space houses over 13,000 works of art from Japanese and international artists, which have been divided into multiple galleries, including a gallery dedicated to crafts and another dedicated to film.

MOMAT’s current collection displays are spread out over 3 different floors. In addition to the galleries, these floors house the art library, a panoramic viewing room, and an on-site restaurant, so you can spend all day exploring the exhibits.

Though many of the museum’s pieces are kept in the archives, they’re occasionally displayed at temporary exhibitions alongside pieces on loan from other modern art collections from around the world.

Admission is free for children under 18 and visitors with disabilities, ¥1,000 (~$7) for university students, and ¥1,500 (~$10) for adults. The museum is open Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The nearest metro station is Takebashi.

  • Address: 3-1 Kitanomarukoen, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 102-8322

8. National Museum of Nature and Science

National Museum of Nature and Science
Image Credit: National Museum of Nature and Science

Tokyo’s National Museum of Nature and Science has been open for over 100 years as a research and study center. Originally, the museum displayed mostly taxidermied examples of animals from around the country. However, the modern iteration of the facility delves into other fields of the natural sciences.

This space uses both traditional and interactive displays to engage visitors of all ages. While the primary language of the museum’s informative plaques and literature is Japanese, most of it is also available in English, so international guests can also learn.

As a science museum, it also houses historical artifacts that are broadly divided into 2 sections. The “Japan Gallery” houses pieces such as a replica of the “Elekiter,” and the “Global Gallery,” houses items such as a model of a Zero fighter plane.

This exhibit space also has a botanical garden to showcase species from Japan and around the world. It’s also an active research facility to this day.

Admission is free for anyone under 18 and ¥630 (~$4) for everyone else. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The nearest train station is Ueno Station.

  • Address: 7-20 Uenokoen, Taito City, Tokyo 110-8718

9. Nezu Museum

Nezu Museum
Image Credit: Nezu Museum

When the Nezu Museum first opened, it housed the private collection of Nezu Kaichirō, the space’s namesake.

Today, the vast majority of the collection is made up of pre-modern art from Japanese and international artists. However, since its opening, the space has grown to over 7,400 works of art and cultural pieces, some of which are considered national treasures by the government.

This particular facility doesn’t focus on any specific art mediums, and its displays include examples of metalwork, ceramics, and even calligraphy. It even has 1,200 sword fittings from the Meiji era, one of the largest collections of its kind.

Some of the museum’s highlights include “Box with Autumn Field Design,” from the 15th century, “Five Hundred Rakan,” “Nachi Waterfall,” and “Budai and Jiang Mohe in Discussing Buddhism.”

As a museum, it also hosts rotating temporary exhibitions with pieces from the Nezu archives or art that’s on loan from other collections and museums from around the world.

Admission is free for children under 18, ¥800 (~$5) for 18- and 19-year-olds, and ¥1,100 (~$7) for adults. The museum is open Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The nearest subway stop is Omotesandō station.

  • Address: 6 Chome-5-1 Minamiaoyama, Minato City, Tokyo 107-0062

10. Suginami Animation Museum

Suginami Animation Museum
Image Credit: Suginami Animation Museum

The Suginami Animation Museum is a university-run museum that delves into the country’s rich history of animation.

Since the museum is quite small, it’s requested that groups of 6 or more contact the museum before visiting to make reservations. However, reserving your visit time typically isn’t required. This space is designed for people of all ages and showcases recognizable characters as well as technology used in animation.

Keep in mind, however, that the museum’s on-site staff only speaks Japanese fluently, and the vast majority of the exhibit information is also in Japanese. Consider hiring an interpreter for your visit if you’d like to make sure you learn everything the space has to offer.

It’s divided into 3 main areas and 9 different displays that look into the history and future of anime and the art of animation. There’s also a workshop space for those interested in practicing animation.

Admission is free for all visitors. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The nearest train station is Ogikubo Station, which is a 20-minute walk.

  • Address: 〒167-0043 Tokyo, Suginami City, Kamiogi, 3 Chome−29−5 杉並会館

11. Suntory Museum of Art

Suntory Museum of Art
Image Credit: Suntory Museum of Art

With a National Treasure and 15 cultural objects housed on-site, the Suntory Museum of Art is one of the most prestigious museums in Japan.

As its mission statement, the museum aims to showcase the nuances of life through art. This is a goal that’s accomplished in large part by showcasing, collecting, and preserving antiques that encapsulate how artistry and day-to-day life go hand-in-hand.

Though the museum has over 3,000 objects in its possession, the facility doesn’t host a permanent gallery space. Instead, the museum curates collections using its in-house items and those it receives on loan from other galleries.

This museum doesn’t focus on any particular medium or art style and has artifacts ranging from ceramics to textiles, as well as more traditional works of art.

Some notable highlights in the museum are “Namban” by Kano Sanraku, “Hie Sannō Festival and Gion Festival” by Tosa School, and “The Mouse Story,” which appeared in the Otogi zōshi illustrated tales.

Admission is free for children under 18. Ticket prices for everyone else vary based on the exhibit. The museum is open Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The nearest subway stop is Roppongi Station.

  • Address: 〒107-8643 Tokyo, Minato City, Akasaka, 9 Chome−7−4 東京ミッドタウン ガレリア 3階

12. Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum

Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum
Image Credit: Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum

Japan’s Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum was the country’s first art museum, and in the nearly 100 years since it first opened, it’s also become one of the most important.

In 2012, when the museum underwent changes and reopened to the public, it pivoted its mission statement. Rather than just serving as a collection of preserved items, the museum now aims to be a gateway to the art world both by honoring traditions and by encouraging experimentation.

This facility houses numerous historical examples of Japanese calligraphy, as well as sculptures from the 1970s and 1980s, which were revolutionary times in the art world. In addition to these permanent exhibits, the museum hosts up to 280 temporary galleries each year.

These exhibitions showcase international artists, different styles, and pieces that are on loan from other art centers, like the British Museum, which loaned 100 historical objects to the facility in 2012.

Admission is free for everyone, but some exhibits require a separate ticket. The museum is open Tuesday through Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. The nearest train station is Ueno.

  • Address: 8-36 Uenokoen, Taito City, Tokyo 110-0007

13. Tokyo National Museum

Tokyo National Museum
Image Credit: Tokyo National Museum

Housing exhibits in both artistic and archeological fields, the Tokyo National Museum is one of the country’s most important exhibit facilities.

Since it’s a national museum, it has a sizable collection of 120,000 objects in its possession, which range from paintings to historical artifacts. Among this sizable collection are 89 items deemed National Treasures by the government and nearly 650 other pieces considered culturally significant.

The museum is broadly divided into 7 different wings, many of which display and preserve pieces from Japan, though other Asian cultures are also represented in the collection. This space also serves as a research facility for both history and art students.

Some of the highlighted pieces on the premises include “Pine Trees,” the “Lotus Sutra” scroll, and 2 volumes of the “Engishiki” book. Additionally, temporary exhibitions are also regularly hosted on-site throughout the year, as well as numerous lectures and other educational events held in Japanese and English.

Admission is free for children under 18, seniors 70+, and visitors with disabilities, and ¥1,000 (~$7) for adults. The museum is open Sunday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. The nearest train station is Ueno.

  • Address: 13-9 Uenokoen, Taito City, Tokyo 110-8712

14. Tokyo Photographic Art Museum

Tokyo Photographic Art Museum
Image Credit: Tokyo Photographic Art Museum

First opened in 1990 as a small gallery, the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum has grown to be one of the city’s biggest and most prestigious photography-centered exhibit spaces.

Though the museum hosts temporary galleries for both Japanese and international photographers and videographers during the year, it also houses a large permanent collection. Over 36,000 pictures are split between the museum’s displays and archives at any given time.

Some prominent photographers who have showcased their work on the premises include Motoichi Kumagai, Hisae Imai, and Eiichi Moriwaki. However, even up-and-coming photographers have been featured at various points during the museum’s history.

The museum also teaches visitors about the history of photography through its work, as it often showcases early examples of photography to demonstrate how the medium has changed. These historic pieces have transformed the museum into a research facility as well as a museum.

Admission is free for everyone. However, special exhibits may require a separate ticket. The museum is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The nearest train station is Ebisu.

  • Address: 〒153-0062 Tokyo, Meguro City, Mita, 1 Chome−13−3 恵比寿ガーデンプレイス内

15. Yamatane Museum of Art

Yamatane Museum of Art
Image Credit: Yamatane Museum of Art

Though art of all kinds is displayed at the Yamatane Museum of Art, the space particularly focuses on modern and contemporary watercolor.

Since it first opened in the 1960s, the museum’s permanent collection has grown to over 1,800 pieces. In addition to watercolor pieces, this collection includes calligraphy and early paintings of the modern art movement, as well as pieces heavily inspired by Western art.

Some of the most notable pieces on display at the Yamatane are “Tabby Cat” by Takeuchi Seihō, “Court Ladies Enjoying Wayside Chrysanthemums” by Iwasa Matabei, and “Scene from the Noh Play Kinuta” by Uemura Shōen.

This art space also regularly holds special events and exhibitions that look closely at particular themes or artists and often include pieces usually kept in the archives. These galleries rotate every few months, so each visit to the museum will be different.

Most of the information displayed throughout the museum is in English as well as Japanese to facilitate learning for international visitors.

Admission is free for children under 13, ¥900 (~$6) for university and high school students with disabilities, ¥1,000 (~$7) for university and high school students, ¥1,100 (~$8) for adult visitors with disabilities, and ¥1,300 for adults.

The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The nearest train station is Ebisu.

  • Address: 3 Chome-12-36 Hiroo, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0012

How To Get Free or Reduced Admission to Tokyo Museums

We’ve indicated with each museum whether or not children, students, or seniors receive free or reduced admission. There is one other option worth considering.

The Tokyo Pass offers 3 different options: a 2-day, a 3-day, and a 5-day ticket that cost between ¥6,800 (~$46) and ¥10,300 (~$70). This pass offers holder access to a number of the city’s museums and landmarks, including the Mori Art Museum, the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, the Suntory Museum of Art, and the Tokyo National Museum.

Participation is subject to change; please verify participating museums and entry conditions before your visit.

Final Thoughts

Tokyo is famous around the world for its attractions, including its museums. From photography to national history and everything in between, there are dozens of galleries and exhibits to choose from. Hopefully, this list can help you figure out which of Tokyo’s museums you should add to your travel itinerary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Tokyo have good museums?

Tokyo has many great museums that draw crowds from around the world. These museums range in topics from art and history to media and entertainment. Numerous pop-up exhibit spaces are hosted within the city from time to time.

Are Tokyo’s museums free?

Numerous Tokyo museums offer free admission to all or many visitors. However, many of the city’s exhibits require the payment of an admission fee. Make sure to check ticket prices before visiting any museum to avoid any surprises.

What is the most Instagrammable museum in Tokyo?

Many of Tokyo’s museums have bright colors and beautiful art, making them worthy of capturing on film. However, the most famous sensory museum in the city is the Mori Building Digital Art Museum, known worldwide as the most Instagrammable.

What is the most important museum in Tokyo?

Tokyo has several important museums. The National Museum of Nature and Science, the Nezu Museum, and the Tokyo National Museum are 3 examples of important exhibit facilities in the city. However, the importance of a museum will depend on your personal preferences.

Amar Hussain's image

About Amar Hussain

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications including Forbes, the Huffington Post, and more.

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