4 Unusual Japanese Museums

by Luke - TripleLights travel specialist

Japan is a country that loves museums. It features such classics as the World Bags and Luggage Museum, the Electricity Museum, the Shell Museum where you can learn the history of petroleum, and a museum for pencils. But we have selected the four most unique or unusual museums in Japan, including a personal favorite of mine, a museum full of parasites:

Meguro Parasitological Museum (Tokyo)

4 Unusual Japanese Museums

The Meguro Parasitological Museum; the only parasite museum in the world, I might add, is incredible. I am surprised to find it is also open on a public holiday's, and I am even more surprised to find that the entry is free.

If you are looking for a cheap destination for a romantic afternoon, then the Meguro Parasitological Museum is for you. Here, there are jars of parasites, magnifying glasses for that closer look, and an interactive screen displaying the life cycle of a parasite. There is even a small souvenir shop selling shirts depicting parasitological dissections. Finally a gift shop selling something worth buying.

You are guaranteed to leave with a faded appetence, so I recommend not visiting this museum until after you've had lunch.

Admission: Free

- 7 Unusual Things to do in Tokyo
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Meguro Parasitological Museum
Tours of Museums in Tokyo

Ghost Museum (Tokyo)

4 Unusual Japanese Museums

(image by pinterest.com)

In the Yanaka area of Tokyo, sits the peaceful looking Zenshoan Temple. As I enter the temple grounds, my attention is instantly taken by something that lurks in the distance, standing tall is a huge gold Buddhist statue. Although the statue of Kannon is impressive, what is potentially more impressive is the Ghost Museum. Sadly, the museum of silk scroll paintings depicting ghosts, and macabre ghost stories, is only open during summer months. Something about horror stories warming your blood, the reason for the seasonal opening hours. Still a strange museum in one of my favourite parts of Tokyo. Well worth a visit, when the summer returns.

Admission: ¥ 1100

More places in Japan to see Ghosts
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Ghost Museum
Tours of the Yanaka area

If you like Ghost stories, check out this video with the most scary Japanese Ghost stories

Cup Noodles Museum (Yokohama)

4 Unusual Japanese Museums 

The reason I visited Yokohama was to visit the Cup Noodles Museum. For no reason that will ever become clear to anyone, a dinosaur stands guard at the entrance to the museum, a Deinonychus. This is the type of dinosaur that the raptors were based on in the movie Jurassic Park. I sneak past the Deinonychus, and head to the ticket office. “How many people?” a young woman asks me. It is painstakingly obvious that it is just me. “One people,” I say, looking around me for answers, “I think,” I add, deadpan. I pay the ¥ 500 and I am given a rather glossy museum guidebook.

Inside the museum I am given a cardboard hat featuring a cartooned yellow bird, presumably a mascot of sorts. There is every packet of instant ramen and every type of Cup Noodle that has ever been created, arranged in a huge timeline. Just to clarify, this museum is for the brand of cup noodle called, “Cup Noodle,” made by Nissin; it is not a museum of cup noodles.

Momofuku Ando invented chicken instant ramen in his shed in 1958. With the overwhelming success of his chicken noodles, he went on to invent the cup noodle in September 1971. Not satisfied with his achievements, at the age of 96, he invented the first ramen that can be consumed in space. There is a wonderful exhibition of his life, a model replica of his ‘famous’ shed, and loads of crazy noodle based artwork here too.

There are noodle workshops where I can make ramen noodles from scratch, or create my very own products. I pay an additional ¥ 300 and join the queue. I wait forty minutes and eventually I am given the opportunity to design my very own brand of Cup Noodle. First I am given a blank Cup Noodle cup and am free to write or draw whatever I want. I graffiti the front of my cup, so where it once said, “Cup Noodles Museum,” it now says, “Cook Pass Babtridge.” I find the available pens to be of slightly poor quality, which spoils the whole experience for me.

Next I get to choose the broth and toppings. A sign boasts that there are a total of 5460 flavour combinations. After toppings are added to the noodles, the lid is sealed in place and the cup is vacuum packed. After I finish making my lunch, I go to the top floor of the museum and check out the restaurants. No prizes for guessing what is on the menu.

Admission: ¥ 500

Guidebook from Planetyze about Cup Noodle Museum
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Cup Noodle Museum
Tours of Cup Noodle Museum

Kaleidoscope Museum (Kyoto)

4 Unusual Japanese Museums

The Kaleidoscope Museum is literally a museum with a twist. There are fifty different Kaleidoscopes on display, from a growing collection of about 150. Some are very valuable, crafted by famous artists from around the world. I learn that the word kaleidoscope comes from the Greek words, kalos meaning ‘beautiful’, eidos meaning ‘form’, and scopes meaning ‘to look at’. “To look at beautiful forms.”

The museum has kaleidoscopes that you can freely pick up and use. Some are very well crafted, others are made out of plastic drink bottles. My favorite is one that is also a music box, playing a tune whilst the images turn before my eyes. There is also a little shop selling kaleidoscopes, kits, and key chains. Sadly, no photography is allowed, and I am constantly followed around by a member of staff. Although I do manage to photograph the inside of a Kaleidoscope whilst she is not looking.

Admission: ¥ 300

More Things to do in Kyoto
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Kaleidoscope Museum
Tours of Kyoto Museums

 

Need help planning your trip to Tokyo ?

If you are interested to know more and save your time during your trip to Tokyo, You can send me a message to our local guides to get a customized itinerary and quotation for an unforgettable experience.

In the TripleLights website you can find the best professional guides all over Japan to help you plan your trip. Check our local guides for Tokyo


16 Oct 2015

Plan your trip to Tokyo

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started

Recent Tour Reviews in Tokyo

“ Loved our Tour! ”

Excellent
2 hours ago Traveler: Ralph -   Tour Guide: Toshi(T-chan)

We loved our tour with Toahi! She was prompt, easy to understand, and you could tell she enjoys what she does. Made our trip productive and enjoyable.
read more

“ Great day!!! ”

Excellent
2 hours ago Traveler: Sandy -   Tour Guide: Kyoko

We had a wonderful day visiting those places we had requested prior to our trip and also a number of iconic attractions suggested by Kyoko.
read more

“ Spectacular Day in Tokoyo ”

Excellent
2 hours ago Traveler: Diane -   Tour Guide: MAYUMI

My friend and I were totally thrilled with Mayumi. She was prompt and professional. Her suggestions were all perfect. We felt totally at ease and her knowledge of Japanese history and art made our visit very meaningfull. We concidered venturing out on our own and are so glad we decided to go with Mayumi. It was wonderful day full of great things.
read more

“ First Day in Tokyo! ”

Excellent
3 hours ago Traveler: Ammo -   Tour Guide: Atsuko

Atsuko made our first day in Tokyo an awesome experience, showing us around several key highlights of the city whilst providing background history, how to use the train systems, and other information which has made our following days alot easier! Thank you Atsuko!
read more

“ great guide through Tokyos beauty ”

Very Good
4 hours ago Traveler: Sandra -   Tour Guide: Makiko

Makiko met us at our hotel and guided us through different areas of Tokyo She is very knowledgeable and picked beautiful spots for us to visit Using the public transportation system with her help made the overall trip very enjoyable.
read more

“ A great guide for a great tour ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Samuel -   Tour Guide: MAYUMI

Mayumi has all the qualities of a great and professional guide: her punctuality, knowledge about Tokyo, flexibility and her sweet personality make her one of the best guide we ever had.
read more

“ "An Eye-opening Experience" ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Chai -   Tour Guide: Kaoruko

Kaoruko is the BEST guide we've ever had! She is very warm and friendly, super informative throughout the whole tour. She made sure that everyone is together at all times as Japan can be quite hectic at times and her hospitality is top-notch! Very passionate and genuine as well as being aware with our needs. Definitely would recommend her to anyone who is interested, you'll surely enjoy the tour e...
read more

“ INSIDE NAKAGIN ”

Very Good
2 days ago Traveler: Robert -   Tour Guide: Showcase

My partner and I enjoyed our private tour of the Capsule Tower interior. The guide was friendly, the English was good and useful information was provided.
read more

“ Nobu was Great ”

Excellent
2 days ago Traveler: Daniel -   Tour Guide: Nobu

Nobu was a great tour guide. He showed us around to some key places in the Tokyo area. Fun day with a knowledgeable and neat guide.
read more

“ Wonderful! ”

Excellent
2 days ago Traveler: Nicole -   Tour Guide: Makiko

We spent the day with Makiko and she tailored our trip to all the sites we were interested in seeing and adjusted our trip based on the weather. She also made great suggestions about other places we should see/things to do on our other days in Tokyo. We highly recommend her and it was such a pleasure meeting her.
read more

Related cities

Plan your trip to Tokyo

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started