When rain washed our outdoor adventure plans away on one of our Tokyo days, we decided that we may as well do what we do in Sydney on such days and head to the museum. We chose the National Museum of Nature and Science in Ueno Park.
Tokyo’s National Museum of Nature and Science was open in 1871 and offers an amazing collection of natural history exhibitions and interactive scientific experiences. For once, I had done little research on the attraction so was unsure what to expect. We enjoyed every moment.
In my opinion, the National Museum of Nature and Science Tokyo can not be explored in a single day. There is so much to see if you really want to see it properly. Unfortunately, being visitors to Tokyo for a mere handful of days meant that we couldn’t explore it to the depth I would have liked to. But we tried.
On our visit we headed to the Global Gallery before the Japan Gallery. I think, considering our interests, we should have done the Japan Gallery section first BUT we found it difficult to navigate with our limited, okay lets be honest – non existent, Japanese and followed the crowd. Don’t do this!
The Japan Gallery focuses on the history of Japan, giving you a rich introduction into how the culture has been shaped. So you don’t make the mistake we made, upon entering the museum and paying for you ticket, walk past the Foucault Pendulum and take the elevators up to the next floor. This will ensure you stay within the Japan Gallery and don’t head off to the Global Gallery instead.
Exploring the Japanese People and Nature section of the gallery was probably the most fascinating for me. Here you can learn about the historic journey of the Japanese people, the life skills of the Jamon People and what their bones tells us, the Yayoi People, the formation of modern Japan, and the changing lifestyle of the country. I found it incredible and took my time looking at each section in complete fascination.
You can also explore the history of the Japanese islands from the rocks beneath the dirt and up. The fossils on display are breathtaking, certain to make you gasp at times. In fact, the smallest organisms are discussed and on display here right through to giant sea animals. Take your time through these exhibits, we had to rush through as we left it to last and I am certain I missed too much.
The Global Gallery can be found in the next building and looks at the animals of the world (I was surprised to discover a Tasmania Tiger in the display), Japanese inventions from the Edo period onwards, Earth’s behaviour (such as light, magnetism etc,), biodiversity and evolution across the world, Earth’s origin and then a large, hands-on space where children can interact with the exhibits. It could be the area that the kids like the best as you can also book into an activity gym area for smaller children.
Location: 7-20 Ueno Park, Taito-ku, Tokyo 110-8718
Opening Hours: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM ( Visitors are admitted until 30 minutes before closing time.)
Fridays, Saturdays: 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM ( Visitors are admitted until 30 minutes before closing time.)
Opening Days: Open Tuesday – Sunday. Closed every Monday (If Monday is a national holiday, the Museum is open Monday and closed the following Tuesday.) Also closed December 28 to January 1 each year.
Current Ticket Price: Children are free. All others are ¥620 each
Head to the National Museum of Nature and Science Tokyo site for further information. Click here for details.