National Museum of Nature and Science - Museum: Ueno
[Open 9am-5pm. Closed Mondays.]
This is an outstanding natural history museum, with beautiful, curiosity-inspiring exhibits exploring the animal and plant kingdoms and the prehistoric world. It's also a real bargain - general admission to the vast permanent exhibition areas is...
Railway Museum - Museum: Omiya
[Open 10am-6pm (enter by 5:30pm). Closed Tuesdays.]
Train enthusiasts shouldn't miss this impressive, expensively produced railway-history museum located about thirty minutes north of Shinjuku in Saitama Prefecture. The showpiece here is a collection of thirty-five real train cars and full-size...
Abiko City Museum of Birds - Museum: Chiba
[Open 9:30am-4:30pm. Closed Mondays.]
Located on the north shore of Teganuma Lake, around 45 minutes from central Tokyo, the museum focuses on the avian wildlife of the lake as well as the world of birds in general. After a visit to the museum you can stroll along the lakeshore trail...
Communications Museum - Museum: Otemachi
[Open 9am-4:30pm (enter by 4pm). Closed Mondays.]
The name "Communications Museum" sounds cooler than "Stamp and Telephone Museum," but those are the main subjects covered here. One highlight of the postal section is the collection of 280,000 stamps from around the world, including some very rare...
ICC (Inter Communication Center) - Attraction: Hatsudai
[Open noon-5pm. Closed Mondays.]
ICC explores the interface between electronic technology and the arts with varying degrees of success. Some of the installations here seem more like cool toys than groundbreaking art, but there's always some fun stuff to look at and play with.
Meguro Parasitological Museum - Museum: Meguro
[Open 10am-5pm. Closed Mondays.]
Forget the usual superlatives for Tokyo - the highest concentration of pachinko balls in the world, the greatest number of geographically challenged taxi drivers anywhere, etc. - what really makes me want to punch the air in civic pride is knowing...
Metro Museum - Museum: Edogawa-ku
[Open 10am-5pm. Closed Mondays.]
Recently refurbished, the Metro Museum focuses on the Tokyo subway system, with a hands-on driving simulator, a big model train layout (with shows four times a day), and exhibits of subway cars both old and new.
Miraikan - Museum: Aomi
[Open 10am-5pm (enter by 4:30). Closed Tuesdays.]
There is more than enough to keep you (or any children you happen to bring along) busy for a whole day in this beautifully housed and expertly presented museum. The personal cinemas in the library section alone have more than 600 science videos....
Mitsubishi Minato Mirai Industrial Museum - Museum: Yokohama Minato-mirai
[Open 10am-5pm (enter by 4:30pm). Closed Mondays.]
Fans of rockets, ships and big machinery in general will find a lot to see in this two-story technology museum run by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Exhibits focus in particular on the realms of aerospace, deep-sea exploration and shipping. There's...
Panasonic Center - Showroom: Ariake
[Open 10am-6pm (last entry 5pm). Closed Mondays.]
The RiSuPia portion of the Panasonic Center is one of the best science museums we've seen in Tokyo, with free admission for visitors under 18. (It's Y500 for adults.) Almost all the exhibits are set up as hands-on activities and interactive games,...
Planetarium Manten - Planetarium: Ikebukuro
[Open 11am-8pm daily.]
The planetarium was completely renovated in July 2011 and equipped with the latest computer graphics and high-quality audio systems. There are usually several shows on any given day, taking place in Planetarium A, Planetarium B and the very relaxed...
Science Museum - Museum: Takebashi
[Open 9:30am-4:50pm (enter by 4pm). Closed Wednesdays.]
Aimed primarily at younger visitors, the focus here is on basic science and technology, with lots of hands-on exhibits and 15-minute "science class" programs. Driving simulators in the Waku Eco Motor Land section are quite popular, and the Denki...
Sony ExploraScience - Museum: Daiba
[Open 11am-7pm (enter by 6:30pm) daily.]
Sony's contribution to the cause of popular-science education offers a number of hands-on exhibits focusing on light, sound and sensory perception. There's also a small planetarium (with a show in Japanese), and of course a showroom displaying the...
Water Science Museum - Museum: Ariake
[Open 9:30am-5pm (enter by 4:30). Closed Mondays.]
H2O from A to Z. Everything you ever wanted to know about water. Small and quiet, but it's free and fun enough to justify popping in if you are nearby. As with most museums in Japan, considerable thought and money has obviously gone into the...
Yumenoshima Tropical Greenhouse Dome - Park/garden: Shin-Kiba
[Open 9:30am-5pm (enter by 4pm). Closed Mondays.]
More than 1000 varieties of tropical and subtropical plants grow inside this 1500-square-meter dome-shaped greenhouse located in a park next to Tokyo Bay. A separate greenhouse area is home to a collection of carniverous plants from around the...