As moms of six kids aged 2-17 years, we know our Tokyo kids` museums. From history and architecture to science and technology there is a museum listed here for everyone’s interest. Tested by our families to make sure yours will enjoy the day at the museum. Have fun! The below list is listed in alphabetical order.
Top 10 Tokyo Kids Museums
1. Edo-Tokyo Museum, Ryogoku – The Edo-Tokyo Museum (江戸東京博物館 Edo Tōkyō Hakubutsukan) in Ryogoku is one of our family’s top picks when visitors come to town. Opened in 1993 the permanent exhibitions include; the life-size replica of the Nihonbashi, which was the bridge leading into Edo, the Nakamuraza theatre, and scale models of towns and buildings from the Edo, Meiji and Shōwa. When you enter from the 6th floor, you immediately cross the beautifully constructed model Nihonbashi Bridge and progress through history to modern day Tokyo. The museum is split into two zones – Edo Zone and Tokyo Zone. After you enter the Edo Zone by walking over the Nihonbashi bridge, you will view exhibits that explain the lifestyle, economics, politics and culture of Edo. The Tokyo Zone starts at the conversion from the Edo Era to the Tokyo Era. The exhibits show the European and American influences that started in the Meiji Era, the Industrial Revolution, Great Kanto earthquake and the effect of WWII and the following reconstruction period. A great museum to spend 1-2 hours viewing, and a good addition to visiting nearby Asakusa Shrine. More details here.
2. Edo-Tokyo Open-air Architectural Museum, Koganei – I highly recommend you visit the Edo-Tokyo Open-air Architectural Museum to see actual homes and businesses from the 1700’s to the early 1900’s preserved in a beautiful park. Unfortunately due to natural disasters, war and redevelopment much of Tokyo historical architecture has been erased, but at the Edo-Tokyo Open-air Architectural Museum you can tour over 30 homes and businesses in their original condition. In 1993, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government established the seven-hector Edo-Tokyo Open-air Architectural Museum. The goal of the museum is to relocate, reconstruct, preserve and exhibit historical buildings of great cultural value. The museum is very hands-on where you will enjoy touring inside and learning the histories of each house and business. The Edo-Tokyo Open-air Architectural Museum has excellent English documentation in the buildings, as well as, the brochure booklet. If you would like to go into each building, plan for 3-4 hours. More details here.
3. Fire Museum, Yotsuya – Take your emergency response vehicle loving kids to the Yotsuya Fire Museum to see fire equipment spanning a period of about 100 years, including an ambulance and helicopter. Great for ages toddlers to elementary, although older kids will enjoy the history area. Children can wear firemen costumes, ride mini and real fire trucks like a real firefighter and watch miniature toy vehicles put out a fire, your kids will love it. Fire Museum details here. When in the area also check our the Tokyo Toy Museum.
4. Fukagawa-Edo Museum, Koto-ku – The Fukagawa-Edo Museum (Koto-ku, Tokyo) is a very hands-on gem of a museum in Tokyo to visit for 1-2 hours. The Fukagawa-Edo Museum is a large hall with about 12 Edo-period houses reconstructed in a village environment. The hall is very compact, and the lighting switches from night to day so you feel you are in a small village. There is a very calm feeling to the museum (good museum if you have a sensitive child). You can walk freely in and around the houses; each which shows a different view of the “life in Edo”. For more details on the Fukugawa-Edo Museum check here. Also in the neighbourhood is the Contemporary Art Museum and Kiyosumi Gardens and for a quick break Blue Bottle Coffee.
5. Gas Science Museum, Toyosu – A great educational, hands-on and FREE museum in Tokyo. The museum is located in beautiful modern building right near the LalaPort shopping mall, Toyosu pier and park. Great overview of where gas comes from and how we use it! The museum takes about 60-90 minutes to tour depending on how much Japanese you and your child can read, and also how much they want to play at the exhibits. All details here.
6. Miraikan, Odaiba – Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation – If you, or your child, love science than the Miraikan in Odaiba is a great place to spend a half day. The official name is The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation. Great interactive exhibits about the universe, solar system, robotics and the human body today and future. The Ideal age for the permanent exhibit is age 6 and up (my two-year-old would have been very bored). The special exhibits are for ages from 3 and up, but age 6 and up would be better. All details here.
7. National Museum of Nature and Science, Ueno – The newly renovated (completed July 2015) National Museum of Nature and Science is a great place to slow down, have fun and learn! I was very impressed with the renovations in the permanent exhibit area that include the animal, dinosaur and science and technology areas. Here is a short video that will give you a taste of what you can experience. There is also a great special exhibit running through June 12, 2016, titled Dinosaur Expo. Note: Buying a ticket to the special Dinosaur Expo gives you access to the permanent exhibit. Plan to spend 2-3 hours in the museum. You can also have coffee or a meal at two restaurants in the museum. The one negative of the museum is that there is limited English. Some major exhibits signs have overview English explanations, but the detail signs do not. Hopefully, they are working on making the museum more foreigner friendly soon. All details here.
8. Sony ExploraScience, Odaiba – The Sony ExploraScience in Odaiba is an engaging and educational science and technology centre for kids eight years through teens for 1-2 hours. There are two large rooms on the 5th floor of the Mediage building in Odaiba that are filled with interactive displays that explain light and sound principals researched by SONY. It is hands-on fun with great explanations in English and Japanese.All of the exhibits are interactive where by doing one will understand the basic principal of light, sound and movement. However, there are also in-depth explanations in English and Japanese. My son really enjoyed the ball game where you move to music and hit digital balls, the shadow game and the visual movement tracking exhibits. Also, a big hit was the voice pitch mapping exhibit which showed the visual adjustment to pitching. My son is not a huge science class lover, but he was engaged in this museum and asked a lot of questions after our visit. See more details here.
9.The Shitamachi Museum, Ueno – The Shitamachi Museum in Ueno was established in 1980 to teach future generations about the culture of the shitamachi. The word shitamachi is composed of the word shita meaning “down” and machi meaning “town”. By touring the Shitamachi Museum, you will gain an understanding of life in the shitamchi pre-WWII. The Shitamachi Museum has many hands on exhibits including old Japan toys, a public bath stand and old living room. Kids and Adults will enjoy! Plan for 30-60 mins. Details here.
10. Tokyo Toy Museum, Yotsuya – Tokyo Toy Museum (TTM) is called a museum, but in reality it is a hands-on, play all you want center for babies and up. The toys are all analog toys mostly made from wood, and original Japanese toys. There are age appropriate rooms throughout the facility to keep you and your kids busy for a few hours. I was so impressed how the organizers retro-fitted an old elementary school into a hands on museum and play center out of an old elementary school. The Tokyo Toy Museum is best for ages 1-5, but older kids will also enjoy the old selection of Japanese toys. Going forward The Tokyo Toy Museum will be one of our top rainy or cold day play spots. More details here.
Top 10 Tokyo Kids Museums
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