Feb 26, 2016

10 FREE and Quirky Museums | Tokyo

10 FREE and Quirky Museums | Tokyo          photo

It’s coming up to spring break in Japan and I have been researching museums to bring my four kids to. There is such a huge selection, that I decided to concentrate on unusual ones that are free. That list is still pretty big, but here are ten of the more unique museums that you can visit for free in Tokyo.


Highly acclaimed as being a museum worth visiting, the gas science museum is suitable for all ages. They have 7 zones with lots of interactive exhibits for young children, combining education with physical activity. You would easily spend a whole morning there. There is a baby room on the 1st floor, changing area and kid friendly toilets.

Where: Toyosu, Koto Ward

Hours: 9.30am to 5pm, last entry 4.30pm

Closed: Mondays

Access: 6 minute walk from Toyosu stations on the Metro Yurakucho (exit 7) and Yurikamome (North exit) lines.

URL: http://www.tokyo-gas.co.jp/index.html



They have educational exhibits explaining the history of animation in an easy to understand format. They also have interactive displays. Best suited to pre-schooler and over, but they do have a nursing and diaper changing area.

Where: Kamiogi, Suginami Ward

Hours: 10am to 6pm, last entry 5.30pm

Closed: Generally Monday

Access: 5 minute bus ride from north exit of Ogikubo Station. 7 minute bus ride or 16 minute walk from the North exit of Nishiogikubo Station.

URL:  http://sam.or.jp/english_home


A small museum run by the world’s first producer of nylon bags. It is most suited to adults and older children. There are no facilities for young children on the premises.


Where: Komagata, Taito Ward

Hours: 10am to 4.30pm

Closed: Sundays and holidays

Access: Close to the A1 exit of Asakusa Station on the Toei Asakusa Line

URL: https://www.ace.jp/



(Main photo – photo taken from the official website.)

Museum meets factory tour and a whole lot more. You would need a full day for this truly unique and educational learning experience. However, currently they stipulate that children have to be over 6 to participate. Younger siblings are welcome to come along for the ride.  YOU NEED TO BOOK IN ADVANCE.

Where: Chofu City

Hours: Four tour times: 10am, 11.50am, 1.40pm and 3.30pm

Closed: Weekends and holidays

Access: 7 minute walk from Keio Sengawa Station

URL: http://www.kewpie.co.jp/mayoterrace/



This museum is run by the National Institute of Polar Research and provides information on research conducted in the Antarctic and Artic regions. There is an aurora theatre that simulates that rare phenomenon, ice from an actual iceberg, kids can climb aboard a snow vehicle, a live feed from the Antarctic as well as many educational video exhibits.

Where: Tachikawa City

Hours: 10am to 5pm, last entry 4.30pm

Closed:  Sundays, Mondays and National Holidays

Access:  10 minute walk from the Takamatsu station on Tama Monorail

URL: http://www.nipr.ac.jp/english/outline/sciencemuseum.html



Maybe not an ideal place for kids, but for those that have been they rate it quite high, despite being small and, in my book, kind of creepy. Mainly I included this, because it is the only museum in the world dedicated to parasites.

Where: Shimomeguro, Meguro

Hours: 10am to 5pm

Closed: Mondays (and Tuesdays from April 2016)

URL: http://www.kiseichu.org/Pages/einfo.aspx

*Officially free, but the museum is at risk of closing due to lack of funds, so they welcome contributions.




This fun and colourful museum is a good spot for a quick visit. They get children of all ages, but they don’t have any facilities for nursing or changing diapers. If you have more time to spend, you can book an origami lesson in advance.

Where:  Honjo,  Sumida Ward

Hours: 9.30am to 5.30pm

 Weekends and holidays

Access:  8 minute walk from Toei Oedo Line’s Kuramae Station

URL: http://www.origami-noa.jp/



Apart from being able to learn about horses, you can also enjoy some simulated practical experiences too. Not ideal for small babies, but they do have nappy changing and nursing facilities.

Where: Fuchu City

Hours: On race days and Racing off-course betting days: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
On other days: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Closed: Mondays and Tuesdays generally, plus Fridays in winter.

Access:  7 minute walk from Keio Line Fuchu Keiba Seimon Mae station, 10 minute walk from Higashi-fuchu Station. ,

URL: http://www.bajibunka.jrao.ne.jp/en/jraracingmuseum.html



Run by Nihondo, this world first and exclusive museum is dedicated to “Kampo”, the Japanese adaption of Chinese medicine. The facility offers a lot more than the kampo displayed for free viewing and you can enjoy many unique experiences for a small fee.  Most suited to teenagers and adults.  

Where: Kitashinagawa, Shinagawa Ward

Hours: 11am to 8pm  

Open all year round

Hours: 11am to 8pm


I am including this for its randomness and for anyone looking to fill 30 minutes in Kyobashi.

Where: Kyobashi, Chuo Ward

Hours: Generally 10am to 7.30pm

Closed: Sundays and holidays

Access:  3 minute walk from Tokyo Metro Ginza Line Kyobashi Station #4 or #6 Exit.  3 minute walk from Toei Subway Asakusa Line Takaracho Station A5 or A6 Exit


The hours and holidays are guidelines. Please do check the official websites before planning a visit to any of the museums to make sure that they are open the day you want to visit.

Have you been to any of these museums? What did you think of them? Have you any free and unusual museums in Tokyo that you would like to recommend?

Thank you.



Level 8 LocalGuide with Google. Blogging about life in Japan as an Irish WAHM to 4 kids on insaitama.com.


  • trekkingbecky

    on Feb 27

    COOL! I've never heard of any of these!

  • Saitama

    on Feb 27

    @trekkingbecky The CHOICE!! I don't think I'll ever get my bucket list done, toooo much to do and see. :-D

  • Tomuu

    on Feb 28

    @Saitama World Bags Museum?!!! Brilliant!

  • Saitama

    on Feb 29

    The parasitological one gets me, I may have to go just to say I've been to a parasitological museum... not something you get to say everyday! @Tomuu

  • Tomuu

    on Mar 2

    @Saitama I've heard of that one. And seen some pics. Don't go just before or after food!