14 Best Museums To Visit In Japan: A Comprehensive Guide

Are you itching to spread your wings and explore the world?

Japan is a country that offers a unique cultural experience that you won’t find anywhere else. And what better way to immerse yourself in Japan’s rich history and tradition than by visiting its museums?

As the saying goes, ‘The world is your oyster,’ and with so many incredible museums to explore, Japan is your pearl.

From the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, which tells the story of the devastating atomic bomb, to the Ghibli Museum, which celebrates the work of renowned Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki, there is something for everyone.

Whether you’re an art lover, a history buff, or just looking for a unique cultural experience, Japan’s museums will leave a lasting impression.

So, pack your bags, grab your passport, and embark on a journey of discovery as we take you on a comprehensive guide to the best museums to visit in Japan.

1) Tokyo National Museum

Tokyo National Museum

Suppose you’re a Japanese fan looking to dive deeper into the country’s traditional art and culture.


In that case, the Tokyo National Museum is a treasure trove of paintings, sculptures, calligraphy, metalware, swords, pottery, and other ancient artifacts that will transport you back in time.

The museum is the oldest and largest national museum in Japan, and its spacious exhibition halls spread over six buildings, often uncrowded and relaxed, offer visitors a chance to explore and appreciate the traditional artworks on display leisurely.

The Tokyo National Museum has tea houses in the garden that may host haiku gatherings, offering visitors a chance to experience a traditional tea ceremony and immerse themselves in the culture.

If you’re looking for a museum with uncrowded exhibitions and spacious halls, the Tokyo National Museum is a must-visit.

2) Edo-Tokyo Museum

The Edo-Tokyo Museum takes visitors on a journey through time, showcasing interpretive exhibits that highlight the shift from Edo to Tokyo and the lives of citizens during the Edo period.

With seven floors above ground and one floor underground, the museum is a treasure trove of Tokyo history and offers a fascinating glimpse into the Edo period lifestyle.

The Citizen’s lives are brought to life through interactive displays that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the culture and customs of the period.

As you explore the museum, you’ll be transported back in time and get a sense of what life was like during the Edo period.

The museum’s thoughtfully designed exhibits provide a unique insight into Tokyo’s rich history.


The Edo-Tokyo Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in Japanese history, from recreations of traditional Japanese homes to interactive displays that allow you to experience daily life.

So, if you’re looking for a museum that offers a fascinating glimpse into the past and a chance to connect with your sense of freedom, add the Edo-Tokyo Museum to your itinerary.

3) Mori Art Museum

Now let’s check out the Mori Art Museum, where you can enjoy the best view of Tokyo while exploring contemporary art exhibits.

This museum offers interactive exhibitions and immersive experiences that will leave you in awe. The spectacular panoramic views of Tokyo from the observation deck will give you a unique perspective of the city.

The museum’s exhibits constantly change but always showcase contemporary art, including digital installations.

You can spend hours exploring the different shows, and the museum also offers guided tours if you want to learn more about the art and artists.

The Mori Art Museum is the perfect destination for a cultural and artistic experience with breathtaking views.

4) Kyoto National Museum

Kyoto National Museum

As you explore Kyoto, don’t miss the Kyoto National Museum.

Here, you can immerse yourself in traditional Japanese art and artifacts, starkly contrasting the contemporary exhibits at the Mori Art Museum.

The museum showcases the cultural heritage of Japan through its extensive collection of traditional artifacts and Japanese art. From tea ceremonies to artistic exhibitions, the museum offers a glimpse into the historical significance of Japanese art and culture.

The Kyoto National Museum is one of the most important museums in Japan and attracts visitors from all over the world.


The museum houses a vast collection of Japanese art, including paintings, sculptures, and ceramics. The museum has a library of over 300,000 books and documents related to Japanese art and culture.

So, if you’re interested in traditional Japanese art and want to learn more about its history, the Kyoto National Museum is worth a visit.

5) Kyoto International Manga Museum


If you’re a manga fan, you’ll love the Kyoto International Manga Museum – where else can you find over 300,000 manga volumes and explore the art form’s history through interactive exhibits and workshops?

The museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in manga culture, from its origins to its influence on pop culture. The museum’s rare collections and interactive exhibits provide an immersive experience that will leave you feeling inspired and creative.

When you visit the Kyoto International Manga Museum, check out their creative workshops, where you can learn from professional manga artists and create your own stories.

The museum also offers a variety of programs and events throughout the year, so there’s always something new to discover.

Don’t miss the chance to explore the world of manga and immerse yourself in this unique aspect of Japanese culture at the Kyoto International Manga Museum.

6) Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

Ready to learn about the devastating impact of the atomic bomb and pay your respects to the victims?

Head to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, where you can explore exhibits and artifacts related to one of the most tragic events in human history.

The museum is dedicated to promoting peace and educating visitors about the dangers of nuclear weapons. You can see the damage caused by the bomb, including melted roof tiles and twisted metal beams.

Inside the museum, you’ll find a collection of exhibits that showcase the effects of the atomic bomb on the city and its people. You can learn about the science behind the bomb, the damage it caused, and the explosion’s aftermath.


The museum also features personal stories and belongings of victims, giving visitors a glimpse into the human impact of the tragedy. It’s a sad and moving experience that will leave a lasting impression on anyone who visits.

7) Hiroshima Museum of Art

Now that you’ve learned about the powerful and emotional exhibits at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, it’s time to shift gears and explore the beauty of Japanese art at the Hiroshima Museum of Art.

This museum offers an entirely different experience, with interactive exhibits and stunning displays of sculpture and painting.

Located in the heart of Hiroshima, the museum’s architecture is a work of art designed by renowned architect Maekawa Kunio.

Inside, you’ll find a collection of over 4,000 works of Japanese and Western art, including pieces by renowned artists such as Picasso and Monet.

But the natural treasures of this museum are the Japanese works, including pieces by Hiroshima-born artists such as Suda Kokuta and Kojima Zenzaburo.

The museum also specializes in sculpture, with an extensive collection of works by the legendary Rodin and Japanese sculptural masterpieces from the Edo period.

Whether you’re an art enthusiast or just looking to appreciate the beauty of Japanese culture, the Hiroshima Museum of Art is a must-visit destination.

8) Osaka Museum of History

You might not expect to find a museum dedicated to the history of Osaka in the bustling city. Still, the Osaka Museum of History offers a fascinating glimpse into the city’s past and its transformation into the vibrant metropolis it is today.

Located just a short walk from Osaka Castle and the Umeda Sky Building, this museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in the history of this incredible city.

Inside, you’ll find large visual models depicting the city’s history, from its earliest days as a small fishing village to its current status as a thriving modern metropolis.

You’ll learn about the Dotonbori food scene, the Osaka Aquarium, the Osaka Science Museum, and the many other landmarks and attractions that make this city unique.

Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a deeper understanding of the city you’re visiting, the Osaka Museum of History is the perfect place to start your journey.

9) Nara National Museum

Nara National Museum

The Nara National Museum, located in Nara, is a must-visit for anyone interested in Japanese art and cultural heritage.

The museum houses over 12,000 art pieces, including 86 National Treasures and 158 Important Cultural Properties, showcasing Japan’s rich history and culture.

The museum’s collection includes Buddhist sculptures, ancient artifacts, and traditional paintings, providing comprehensive insight into the country’s artistic and cultural heritage.

Apart from its impressive collection, the museum’s architecture is also noteworthy. The building’s design is inspired by traditional Japanese architecture, blending seamlessly with its surroundings.

The museum’s tranquil environment provides a perfect backdrop for visitors to immerse themselves in Japan’s rich history and culture.

If you’re looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life and a chance to indulge in the beauty of Japanese art, the Nara National Museum is the perfect destination.

10) Hokkaido Museum

If you’re interested in learning about Hokkaido’s unique history and culture, the Hokkaido Museum is a great place to explore.

This museum is dedicated to cultural preservation and showcases the history and development of Hokkaido, the traditional structures, and the Ainu culture of the region.

The exhibits cover a wide range of topics, from the early settlers of Hokkaido to the modernization of the area, and are presented as engaging and informative.

At the Hokkaido Museum, you can learn about the history of Hokkaido through the eyes of local experts passionate about sharing their knowledge with visitors.

The museum is a great place to discover the unique culture and traditions of the Ainu people, the indigenous people of Hokkaido. You can also learn about the development of Hokkaido, from the early days of the Ainu to the modernization of the region.

The museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in the history and culture of Hokkaido, and it’s a great way to gain a deeper appreciation of this fascinating region of Japan.

11) Sapporo Art Park

Sapporo Art Park

Get ready to explore Sapporo Art Park, a hidden gem in Hokkaido’s heart. This unique outdoor museum is a sculpture garden set against lush greenery and picturesque landscapes.

The park boasts an impressive collection of contemporary art and sculptures created by local and international artists.

It’s the perfect destination for art enthusiasts looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse themselves in a serene and creative environment.


Sapporo Art Park offers creative workshops for visitors to participate in and learn new skills. During the winter months, the park transforms into a winter wonderland, with snow sculptures and exhibitions that are simply breathtaking.

Whether you’re a seasoned art lover or just looking for a unique experience, Sapporo Art Park is a must-visit destination that inspires and rejuvenates you.

12) Ghibli Museum

You’re in for a treat at the Ghibli Museum – it’s a whimsical wonderland that will transport you into the magical world of Hayao Miyazaki’s beloved films.

The museum showcases animation principles and short story animations that will delight fans and newcomers to Miyazaki’s work.

But the fun doesn’t stop there – the museum’s café offers an original menu and tableware decorated with Ghibli patterns, adding enchantment to your visit.


The Ghibli Museum is a unique experience that awakes your inner child and leaves you feeling free and joyful. From the moment you step inside, you’ll be surrounded by the fantastical world of Miyazaki’s films, with intricate details and surprises around every corner.

Whether you’re a die-hard fan or simply looking for a unique and magical museum experience, the Ghibli Museum is a must-visit destination in Japan.

13) Cup Noodles Museum

The Cup Noodles Museum is a quirky and fun destination that offers a unique insight into the history and culture of instant noodles. If you’re a fan of cup noodles or simply curious about how they came to be, this museum is a must-visit.

Here are a few reasons why:

  • You can participate in a noodle-making workshop to make your cup noodles from scratch and customize your flavors and toppings.
  • The museum has interactive exhibits that allow you to learn about the history and evolution of instant noodles in an engaging and fun way.
  • You can also learn about the different flavors of instant noodles and how they’ve evolved over the years.
  • The museum encourages creative experimentation and innovation with instant noodles, providing visitors with a unique and imaginative experience.

14) Toyota Commemorative Museum

If you’re interested in learning about the history of Japan’s automobile industry, the Toyota Commemorative Museum is where you should head to.

This museum showcases the evolution of the automobile and its impact on society through preserved Toyota factories.

The museum is a testament to Japan’s technological advancement and industrial heritage and offers innovative exhibits that highlight the historical legacy of the automobile industry.

To give you an idea of what to expect, here’s a table of the different pavilions in the museum and what they offer:

Textile MachineryExhibits the history of weaving and spinning technology
AutomobileShowcases the evolution of the automobile and its impact on society
TechnolandOffers interactive exhibits on robotics and cutting-edge technology
Toyota Group BuildingDisplays Toyota’s corporate history and current operations

The Toyota Commemorative Museum is an excellent destination for those who want to learn about the history of the automobile industry and see how it has impacted society.

The museum’s exhibits are engaging and informative, and its preserved factories offer a unique glimpse into Japan’s industrial heritage.

Where to Go in Japan for Museums Lovers?

To help you decide where to go, check out this table that highlights some of the unique features of each museum:

Museum NameUnique Feature
Hiroshima Peace Memorial MuseumOffers play sculptures and mazes for families
Hakone Open-Air MuseumExhibits Tokyo after the shifting from Edo to Tokyo and the lives of citizens during the Edo period
Edo Tokyo MuseumIt has a collection of over 140,000 precious books dedicated to Tokyo and Edo.
Ghibli MuseumIt has a collection of over 140,000 precious books dedicated to Tokyo and Edo
Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and TechnologyPreserved as Heritage of Industrial Modernization
Toyota Automobile MuseumPreserves and displays cultural properties from Asia, mainly centering on Japan.
Museum of the Imperial Collectionscollection of over 9,500 items, including 7 National Treasures and 87 Important Cultural Properties
National Museum of Modern Art, TokyoCollection of over 13,000 works of art from the late 19th century to the present day
Nezu MuseumDisplays old works of art from Japan and Asia collected by industrialist Kaichiro Nezu Sr.
Chiran Peace Museum for Kamikaze PilotsExhibits articles and related documents of Imperial Army’s kamikaze pilots
Tokyo National MuseumDisplays numerous valuable assets as a collection of ancient 7th and 8th-century art
Gallery of Horyu-ji TreasuresIt has six gardens, including Dry Landscape Garden and White Gravel and Pine Garden
Adachi Museum of ArtOffers the attraction of experiencing a dig for fossils
Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur MuseumIt offers the attraction of experiencing a dig for fossils


Now that you’ve learned about the best museums to visit in Japan, it’s time to start planning your trip.

Remember, ‘the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.’

As you embark on your journey, remember that visiting museums is not just about seeing artifacts or artwork, it’s about learning and immersing yourself in a new culture.

So, take that first step and visit the Tokyo National Museum to discover the beauty and history of Japan.

Or, delve into the world of anime and visit the Ghibli Museum.

Whatever you choose, fully embrace the experience and appreciate the beauty and richness of Japanese culture.

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