With Totoro greeting you at the entrance, step inside this colorful and whimsical museum and learn all about Studio Ghibli animations. Stroll through the beautiful exhibits and discover how animated films are created. After learning about the movie process, you can catch the screening of short museum-exclusive films. Kids will love playing on the plush Cat Bus from My Neighbor Totoro and later, you can visit the rooftop garden to see the seven-meter (23 feet) tall statue of Robot Soldier from Laputa Castle in the Sky. Pay a visit to the Ghibli Museum to learn more about an iconic animation studio.
This naturally wooded park adjoins the Meiji Jingu Shrine, and until 1996, it hosted Tokyo's amateur rock and roll bands, who strutted their stuff every Sunday. They have since moved to Omotesando, and Yoyogi Park has become quiet, and ideal for groups of friends and families who like to enjoy a tranquil Sunday afternoon strolling by small ponds filled with koi (Japanese carp). Rental bicycles are available within the grounds during summer.
This huge, two-building general science museum was established in 1877 and covers a wide variety of scientific knowledge including the evolution of living things, the Earth's formative history, nature, and astronomy. The giant dinosaur fossil, a moon rock and the stuffed body of Hachiko, the famous loyal Akita dog are some of the unmissable exhibits here. Taxidermy specimens, steam engines and the life of Japanese people are also some of the intriguing permanent exhibitions. If you cannot read Japanese, it is better to bring along a Japanese friend who can translate things for you.
The Shinjuku Gyo-en blends Western and Eastern influences in its layout with English, French and conventional Japanese gardens. It also features quaint tea ceremony houses and a greenhouse with a considerable collection of tropical plants. It is most famous for its cherry blossom trees, which in early spring paint the whole place with different hues of fluttering pink. It is an ideal place to get some fresh air, relax amidst nature and lift your spirits.
The Tokyo National Museum displays a bevy of sculptures, paintings, calligraphy, archaeological objects and other decorative arts. Broadly divided into Japanese, Chinese and Korean forms, the museum's collections are nothing short of artistic preservation of Asian history and culture. Exhibitions, lectures and gallery talks are held regularly, so visitors can gain access to some valuable information about the world's largest continent. The museum also stores historical documents dating back to the 10th and 11th Centuries.
Located in the Taito-Ku area of Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art is known for its amazing collection of drawings, sculptures and paintings by European artists. Designated a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO, the architecture of the main building can be credited to renowned Swiss Architect Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris, famously known as Le Corbusier. You can admire the great works of Monet, Cezanne, Manet, Signac and many masters that shaped the history of art. Visitors are treated to the rich artistic heritage of the West during the numerous thematic exhibitions held regularly at the museum's gallery.
A building that houses it all, the Shin-Marunouchi Building contains floors of shops, restaurants, and businesses. At a height of 198 meters and 38 stories, this building dominates both the skyline and the retail sector in front of Tokyo Station. The retail zone offers around 150 shops ranging from jewelry, to cosmetics, to men's and women's fashion. The dining options are varied, offering shoppers a selection that includes teahouses, Brazilian barbecue, and the ubiquitous Seven-Eleven. With room for both work and play, the Shin-Marunouchi Building has it all.
Lixil Gallery is located on the 2nd floor of the Tokyo Tatemono Kyobashi building. It plays a crucial role in taking emerging artists under its wing, and giving them a platform to showcase their artworks. Established in 1982, the trendy place boasts an eclectic repertoire of exhibitions all year round so check website for details. At this same floor, you can also see contemporary ceramic-artworks at Galleria Ceramica.
Built by British architect Josiah Conde, the Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum was formerly a historic business center. Today the building houses important collections of art and cultural items from some very well known artists and collectors. Spread over a huge area, this stone building is also used for private exhibits. Some noted exhibitions showcased here include over 200 works of French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and iconic collections of art by Maurice Joyant. The museum also conducts lectures seminars and other cultural and community events. Call ahead for more details.
The Bank of Japan has amassed 160,000 pieces to archive Japan's currency history. The careful observer will leave the museum having learned that during the early Meiji Era (1868-1911) more than 240 han (feudal domains) were producing paper money. Pure gold oban and koban, pre-yen sen coins, counting boxes and wartime currencies (such as ceramic coins) are samples of what you will find on display. Examples of paper money and coins from overseas are included in the collection.
Tokyo International Forum is an excellent venue for music, theater, dance performances, cinema and art exhibitions. It consists of four buildings, each with its own venue hall. Live performances are usually staged in Hall A and Hall B. The facilities are marvelous and include a variety of restaurants that cater to a wide range of culinary tastes. Concerts are also sometimes staged in the afternoon and evening.
Kobo Gallery is in fact a podium to help showcase some of the best abstract arts from local, national as well as international artists. With more focus on local and national artists, Koba helps in promoting the abstract artists to help build healthier competition. Located in an old fashioned building, the art works keep changing on a frequent basis.