10 Cool and Unique and Museums in Japan

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Writer’s Profile

Bryce was born in California, but raised from the age of 3 near Seattle, Washington. He’s been living in Tokyo for about 7 years, and graduated from Temple University, Japan with degrees in economics and international business. He loves traveling of course, but also cooking, snowboarding, some video games as well. His biggest interest is songwriting/music production, more specifically electronic music… (think Skrillex, Marshmello, Daft Punk, etc.) He also has terrible humor as you’ll notice, but he hopes you’ll enjoy it!

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Embark on a journey through the cultural kaleidoscope of Japan, where museums aren’t just repositories of artifacts and other intriguing items, but gateways to immersive experiences. Whether you’re an art aficionado, a history buff, or just hungry, Japan’s museums offer a delightful fusion of tradition, innovation and sometimes a bit of po(o)p culture (we’ll get to that). In this guide, we unveil some extraordinary museums that promise to captivate your senses and leave you with lasting memories. Whether it’s a stop on your whirlwind list of things to do in Japan, or just something to do with friends or date, you’ll be happy to find the perfect museum outing!

1. Ghibli Museum

Step into the enchanting world of Studio Ghibli at the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Tokyo. This whimsical haven brings Hayao Miyazaki’s iconic animated films to life, with interactive exhibits, life-sized characters, and magical surprises around every corner. Don’t miss the short film exclusive to the museum, creating a truly enchanting experience for fans of all ages. Plan your visit in advance, as tickets are limited and tend to sell out quickly. Capture the magic with photos but remember, no photography is allowed inside the museum. Another place for Ghibli enthusiasts is the Ghibli theme park in Nagoya, don’t miss it!


2. Cup Noodles Museum Yokohama

Noodle enthusiasts, rejoice! The Cup Noodles Museum in Yokohama is not your typical museum—it’s a hands-on journey into the world of instant noodles. Design your custom Cup Noodles as well as the packaging, explore the history of this iconic snack, and even create your own original noodle concoction at the “My Cupnoodles Factory.” Opt for the Chicken Ramen workshop to craft your own chicken-flavored instant ramen, a truly unique and tasty souvenir. There are plenty of other experiences to enjoy here, so be sure to take a look at all the possibilities!


3. Sand Museum – Tottori Sand Dunes

Venture to Tottori and witness art take shape in the shifting sands. The Sand Museum, located amid the Tottori Sand Dunes, showcases awe-inspiring sand sculptures from around the globe. Each exhibit is a temporary masterpiece, blending creativity with the natural beauty of the dunes. Visit during the Sand Sculpture Exhibition for a chance to see artists at work and witness the sculptures evolve over time. And, it goes without saying but, you can’t miss out on visiting the actual sand dunes- a natural wonder!


4. Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum

Indulge your taste buds at the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum, a culinary journey through the history of one of Japan’s favorite comfort foods. Step into a retro townscape reminiscent of the Showa era, where you can savor regional Ramen varieties from all corners of the country. Sample small portions from different ramen shops to savor the diverse flavors without overindulging. The Ramen styles cycle, so visiting multiple times isn’t a bad idea, and they usually offer smaller sizes so you can enjoy multiple styles if you can’t eat as much!


5. Miho Museum

Nestled in the Shiga mountains, the Miho Museum is a masterpiece in itself. Designed by architect I. M. Pei (who also designed the glass pyramid at the Louvre), the museum seamlessly blends with its scenic surroundings. Marvel at a diverse collection of art spanning millennia, including ancient artifacts, textiles, and contemporary masterpieces. Explore the surrounding trails and gardens, offering breathtaking views that complement the museum’s aesthetic appeal. It’s a perfect blend for those who enjoy history as well as exquisite architecture.


6. Unko Museum Tokyo

Adding that extra ‘O’ to pop culture is this wave-making tribute to everyone’s inner sculptor. Let your inhibitions go at the Unko Museum in Tokyo, a quirky celebration of all things poop-related. But don’t be de-‘turd’, This interactive (not the way you’re thinking) experience combines art, humor, education, and productivity to create a lighthearted atmosphere. From a poop-themed slide for that first-person perspective to whimsical installations, it’s an unforgettable adventure for the young and young at heart. Don’t forget to grab a souvenir if you truly want to take a dump!

Please note: the museum does not accept contributions. 


7. Hakone Open Air Museum

Yes, air is what we need after that last one, right? Nestled in the serene, nationally famous Onsen region of Hakone, a favorite weekend trip of Tokyoites, this museum transcends traditional boundaries by showcasing sculptures in an open-air setting. Stroll through beautifully landscaped grounds adorned with masterpieces by renowned artists, creating an immersive experience that harmonizes with the natural surroundings. Visit the plethora of Onsen after your museum exploration for a relaxing and rejuvenating experience, including the famous hot spring theme park, Yunessen.


8. Nezu Museum

Escape the hustle and bustle of Tokyo at the Nezu Museum, a serene haven surrounded by lush greenery. This museum is a great comparison to the Miho museum with its incredible sophistication as it seamlessly integrates traditional Japanese aesthetics with modern design, housing an exquisite collection of pre-modern Asian art, including tea ceremony tools and calligraphy. Visit the museum’s teahouse for a tranquil tea-drinking experience in a picturesque garden setting.


9. Adachi Museum of Art 

江戸村のとくぞう, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Speaking of gardens, this location is an exceptional opportunity to enjoy some in variety. Experience the seamless fusion of art and nature at the Adachi Museum of Art in Shimane. Renowned for its meticulously maintained gardens, this museum offers a visual feast where vibrant flowers and lush landscapes serve as the backdrop to a remarkable collection of modern Japanese paintings. Appreciate the view of the garden from the museum’s “Four Seasons” room, designed to frame nature as a living artwork.


10. Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum

Fukui Dinosaur Museum

Head to the Chubu region and go on a prehistoric journey at the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum, where life-sized dinosaur replicas and interactive exhibits transport you back in time. Delve into the world of paleontology with captivating displays that appeal to both children and adults, making it an educational and thrilling experience. Time your visit with the dinosaur-themed events and workshops for a hands-on exploration of the ancient world.


Japan Wonder Travel Tours 

Japan Wonder Travel is a travel agency that offers guided tours throughout Japan. 
From private walking tours to delicious Food and Drink tours, we can help you organize the best tours just for you! If you want to explore Japan and learn more about the history and backstories of each area you are visiting, our knowledgeable and friendly English speaking guides will happily take you to the best spots! 
In addition, we can provide you with any assistance you may need for your upcoming trip to Japan, so please feel free to contact us if yu have any questions or need some help! 

Tokyo Tsukiji Fish Market Food and Drink Tour
Explore the most lively and popular fish market in Tokyo and try some of the local’s favorite street foods and sake with one of our friendly and knowledgeable English speaking guides! 

tsukiji tour

Tokyo 1–Day Highlights Private Walking Tour (8 Hours)
There’s no better way to explore an area than taking a tour with a knowledgeable local guide. You will have the chance to learn about the history and interesting background stories of Tokyo, as well as discover some hidden gems which can be hard to do without a guide.

Asakusa Tokyo private tour

Mt. Fuji Day Trip Bus Tour from Tokyo
Experience the breathtaking views of Mt. Fuji by visiting the highlights of the area on our guided sightseeing bus tour! Departing from Shinjuku in central Tokyo, you can travel comfortably to all of the best spots in the area by bus.

mount fuji chureito pagoda

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Happy traveling!

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