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GoWithGuideFind your perfect tour guide at GoWithGuide. Relax and cherish unforgettable tours with loved ones. Create personalized tours for a truly memorable trip!

4 Unusual Japanese Museums

Luke K.

by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Luke K.

Last updated : Mar 03, 20216 min read

Things To Do

Japan is a country that loves museums. It features such classics as the World Bags and Luggage Museum, the Electricity Museum, the Shell Museum where you can learn the history of petroleum, and a museum for pencils. But we have selected the four most unique or unusual museums in Japan, including a personal favorite of mine, a museum full of parasites:

Meguro Parasitological Museum (Tokyo)

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The Meguro Parasitological Museum; the only parasite museum in the world, I might add, is incredible. I am surprised to find it is also open on a public holiday's, and I am even more surprised to find that the entry is free.

If you are looking for a cheap destination for a romantic afternoon, then the Meguro Parasitological Museum is for you. Here, there are jars of parasites, magnifying glasses for that closer look, and an interactive screen displaying the life cycle of a parasite. There is even a small souvenir shop selling shirts depicting parasitological dissections. Finally a gift shop selling something worth buying.

You are guaranteed to leave with a faded appetence, so I recommend not visiting this museum until after you've had lunch.

Admission: Free

- 7 Unusual Things to do in Tokyo
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Meguro Parasitological Museum
Tours of Museums in Tokyo

Ghost Museum (Tokyo)

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(image by pinterest.com)

In the Yanaka area of Tokyo, sits the peaceful looking Zenshoan Temple. As I enter the temple grounds, my attention is instantly taken by something that lurks in the distance, standing tall is a huge gold Buddhist statue. Although the statue of Kannon is impressive, what is potentially more impressive is the Ghost Museum. Sadly, the museum of silk scroll paintings depicting ghosts, and macabre ghost stories, is only open during summer months. Something about horror stories warming your blood, the reason for the seasonal opening hours. Still a strange museum in one of my favourite parts of Tokyo. Well worth a visit, when the summer returns.

Admission: ¥ 1100

More places in Japan to see Ghosts
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Ghost Museum
Tours of the Yanaka area

If you like Ghost stories, check out this video with the most scary Japanese Ghost stories

Cup Noodles Museum (Yokohama)

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The reason I visited Yokohama was to visit the Cup Noodles Museum. For no reason that will ever become clear to anyone, a dinosaur stands guard at the entrance to the museum, a Deinonychus. This is the type of dinosaur that the raptors were based on in the movie Jurassic Park. I sneak past the Deinonychus, and head to the ticket office. “How many people?” a young woman asks me. It is painstakingly obvious that it is just me. “One people,” I say, looking around me for answers, “I think,” I add, deadpan. I pay the ¥ 500 and I am given a rather glossy museum guidebook.

Inside the museum I am given a cardboard hat featuring a cartooned yellow bird, presumably a mascot of sorts. There is every packet of instant ramen and every type of Cup Noodle that has ever been created, arranged in a huge timeline. Just to clarify, this museum is for the brand of cup noodle called, “Cup Noodle,” made by Nissin; it is not a museum of cup noodles.

Momofuku Ando invented chicken instant ramen in his shed in 1958. With the overwhelming success of his chicken noodles, he went on to invent the cup noodle in September 1971. Not satisfied with his achievements, at the age of 96, he invented the first ramen that can be consumed in space. There is a wonderful exhibition of his life, a model replica of his ‘famous’ shed, and loads of crazy noodle based artwork here too.

There are noodle workshops where I can make ramen noodles from scratch, or create my very own products. I pay an additional ¥ 300 and join the queue. I wait forty minutes and eventually I am given the opportunity to design my very own brand of Cup Noodle. First I am given a blank Cup Noodle cup and am free to write or draw whatever I want. I graffiti the front of my cup, so where it once said, “Cup Noodles Museum,” it now says, “Cook Pass Babtridge.” I find the available pens to be of slightly poor quality, which spoils the whole experience for me.

Next I get to choose the broth and toppings. A sign boasts that there are a total of 5460 flavour combinations. After toppings are added to the noodles, the lid is sealed in place and the cup is vacuum packed. After I finish making my lunch, I go to the top floor of the museum and check out the restaurants. No prizes for guessing what is on the menu.

Admission: ¥ 500

Guidebook from Planetyze about Cup Noodle Museum
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Cup Noodle Museum
Tours of Cup Noodle Museum

Kaleidoscope Museum (Kyoto)

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The Kaleidoscope Museum is literally a museum with a twist. There are fifty different Kaleidoscopes on display, from a growing collection of about 150. Some are very valuable, crafted by famous artists from around the world. I learn that the word kaleidoscope comes from the Greek words, kalos meaning ‘beautiful’, eidos meaning ‘form’, and scopes meaning ‘to look at’. “To look at beautiful forms.”

The museum has kaleidoscopes that you can freely pick up and use. Some are very well crafted, others are made out of plastic drink bottles. My favorite is one that is also a music box, playing a tune whilst the images turn before my eyes. There is also a little shop selling kaleidoscopes, kits, and key chains. Sadly, no photography is allowed, and I am constantly followed around by a member of staff. Although I do manage to photograph the inside of a Kaleidoscope whilst she is not looking.

Admission: ¥ 300

More Things to do in Kyoto
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Kaleidoscope Museum
Tours of Kyoto Museums

 

Tokyo Tour Guide - Yasuro C.

Yasuro C.

4.80 / 5
(64 reviews)
Japan

Hello, my name is Yasuro (Mr). I was born and brought up in Kansai, graduated from a univ in Kobe city, after moved into Kanto, 30 years in Tokyo, 2.5 years in Nagoya city, 7.5 years abroad (KL & S'pore) as a rep of a construction company and I got the National Guide Certificate in 2011. My hobbies are making Haiku poems, singing various songs (voice-training for 18 years), playing the folk-guitar, trekking in mountains like Takao and Okutama in the West of Tokyo, visiting museums like in Ueno Park and travelling around Japan to make Haiku poems. Thank you for your attention.                                                                                                                                 

Yokohama Tour Guide - Haruo T.

Haruo T.

4.90 / 5
(10 reviews)
Japan

I live in Yokohama, Kanagawa prefecture. I have a license to teach in high schools and was admitted to the degree of Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language in the University of Birmingham. Until 2015 I had been teaching English at public high schools in Kanagawa for 37 years. During that time, I had some experience of guiding students from overseas through sister-school relationship around Tokyo and Kanagawa. Therefore, I had good command of English with the TOEIC score of 935. As for a tour guide experience I earned the certificate of National Government Licensed Guide-Interpreter in English and since then I have guided tourists to the popular sites around Tokyo, Yokohama, Kamakura and Yokosuka. My guiding focuses on introducing not only Japanese historical and cultural backgrounds but also giving tourists some tips to travel Japan only by themselves, such as how to use trains and subways, find good restaurants, reserve tickets, buy survenier, and speak basic Japanese. In addition, my tour includes opportunities to experience Japanese culture like Zen meditation, ninja performance, visiting anime's location sites based on tourists' request. Besides, by means of my hobbies of writing English Haiku and Waka (traditional Japanese poems) and performing Rakugo (traditional Japanese funny story telling) in English, I can surely entertain tourists during the tour. My moto as a tour guide is let the tourists have a once-in-a-lifetime experience in Japan with my profound, intelligible and interestiog guiding.                                                                                                                                 

Tokyo Tour Guide - Grant A.

Grant A.

5.00 / 5
(14 reviews)
Japan

My name is Grant I lived more than 10 years in Japan. I graduated University and translation school in Tokyo. I am fluent in Japanese. I have a degree in Asian studies and have expert-level knowledge of Japanese culture and history. I have memorized the JR rail system across all of Japan, I use the same train timetable calculators as the station staff, and I have experience using bullet train passes that are exclusive to foreign visitors. I can optimally navigate the Tokyo underground and maximize value from a Tokyo metro pass and also understand Tokyo above ground which will allow for seamless transitions between different metro stations and landmarks with minimal backtracking. *There will be a price revision at the end of June* My tour fee is Half-Day Tour: 30,000yen for 1-5hours Full-Day Tour: 50,000yen for 5-12hours The time transiting to and from your hotel for pick up or drop off within Tokyo 23wards does not count towards the time. I am also able to guide historical sites and cities such as Kyoto, Kanazawa, Nikko, and Kamakura on request if you pay my rail fare. If your group is not a tour company and you simply ask me kindly for a 10,000yen discount and I will reduce the price of your tour until the end of June.                                                                                                                                 

Kanagawa Tour Guide - Kaneo U.

Kaneo U.

4.98 / 5
(43 reviews)
Japan

I’m so excited to have a chance to show you around my favorite spots in Kanagawa prefecture. I was born in Kanagawa. I spent my whole school life, including university, here in Kanagawa. I worked as a high school English teacher here for 40 years. I love Kanagawa so much. We have many interesting tourist spots, like Hakone, Kamakura, Enoshima and Yokohama. I got my tour guide license in English in 2009. I am still an English teacher. To give an interesting and impressive lesson to young high school students, I’ve learnt and gathered many kinds of information. I also have a license to teach social studies, so I have a wide range of knowledge about Japanese culture and history. I’m sure to provide you an interesting tour.                                                                                                                                 

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