Top Tokyo museums

Okay, it’s certainly a matter of opinion.  But this is at least a place to start.

Here’s a short list of must-see museums in Tokyo.  Note that most museums are closed Mondays.

Tokyo National Museum

The world’s largest collection of Japanese art. Comprehensive collection of the invaluable cultural properties of Japan and other Asian countries.

Transportation Museum
Trains are the big feature. Real life exhibits include Imperial carriages and Japan’s first steam locomotive. Nautical, automotive, and aerial exhibits as well.

Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum



Collections by contemporary Japanese artists’ groups whose works include oil paintings, traditional-style Japanese paintings, sculptures, crafts, graphic designs, and calligraphy. Special exhibitions as well.

National Museum of Western Art
An impressive collection of Western art. The main building was designed by Le Corbusier. Focus on Rodin and the French Impressionists.

Kanto Earthquake Museum

Housed in a temple, this museum holds exhibits that survived the disastrous 1923 Tokyo earthquake and charts the occurrence of earthquakes in the Tokyo area. Free! (photo August Kengelbacher)

Fukagawa Edo Museum

A hauntingly authentic recreation of a whole block of Edo’s waterfront neighborhood, several hundred years ago. Leave your shoes at the door and step up into 17th-century Japanese life. It feels as if the people had just stepped outside for a minute.

Natural Science Museum
General scientific displays plus origin of Japanese people and technology.

Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography

Largely contemporary photography collections; includes computer generated graphics.

Meiji Jingu Treasure Museum
Near the Meiji Jingu Shrine and Gardens. Displays items that belonged to Emperor Meiji, who laid the foundations of modern day Japan.

For more on these top museums (hours, directions, contact info), check upcoming entries into the KCP weblog.

For more on museums in Japan, see our website.