The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, or Miraikan as it is popularly called, is one of Japan’s leading science museum. They mainly focus on robotics, space exploration and the environment. Spanning six floors, there’s so much to see and discover! It’s easily one of my favorite museums in Tokyo.
Most of the exhibit and the dome theater shows have English translations. However, demos are purely in Japanese. I did notice that some operators try to accommodate foreigners by translating what they’re saying in English. Don’t expect this to happen all the time though!
Without a doubt, the star of Miraikan is ASIMO, a robot built to resemble the human structure. He can walk, run, bow, greet people and even sing. While a lot of people would not be awed by these capabilities now, at the time it was being developed, it was a challenge to construct. Recent developments allowed ASIMO to recognize faces, speech patterns and gestures. However, that version is not yet displayed in the museum.
There are other robots in show. Otonaroid and Kodomoroid are adult and child androids who ask the audience provocative questions on their uses in the future. They’re so humanlike despite their pale skin and almost non-existent facial expressions. It was a little creepy to be honest.
Telesar V is one of the coolest robots I’ve encountered. It’s a shame I didn’t see a demo of it. Basically, an operator is connected to the system and Telesar V. The operator is able to experience what the robot can from tactile touch, can see the environment through the head mount, and can hear what the robot can hear in the remote location. Basically, it’s like an out of body experience, which is totally awesome!
Located at the far end of the floors, is a huge globe called the Geo-Cosmos. Throughout the day, it depicts real time weather patterns and ocean patterns around the world. There’s a spiral walk way that connects two floors. You can walk around it to see the globe in all angles. I managed to find Philippines which was cool!
While I may not be able to travel outside space (at least any time soon), the dome theater at the Miraikan allows me to experience what it’s like to be in space for 20 minutes or less. The planetarium has spectacular 360 presentations of the universe.
Currently, there are two shows available. Birthday, depicts the beginning of the universe and what links us humans to it. Tender is the night, displays the starry sky as seen in different parts of the world. It’s accompanied by a great score and poetry. Both shows are in Japanese but they offer a language headset before attending the show so don’t fear!
Miraikan is easily accessed through the Rinkai or Yurikamome line. If taking Rinkai line, get off at Tokyo Teleport station. It’s a 15 minute walk from the station. If taking the Yurikamome line, get off at Telecom Center station. It’s a lot closer, about a five minute walk.
Koto-ku, Tokyo 135-0064
Sunday to Monday:
10:00 AM – 05:00 PM
Closed (except on national holidays)
This ticket includes all permanent exhibits. Special exhibitions might have additional admission fees.
18 and below: ¥210
Dome Theater Ticket
This ticket can only be purchased together with the regular admission ticket unless the museum is open for free or if using an annual passport.
18 and below: ¥100
*Free admission for preschoolers.
*Free admission on Saturdays for 18 year olds and under.
There’s two restaurants in the museum: Miraikan Café and Miraikan Kitchen. The café has a really cute chalk board menu in English and Japanese.
While I opted to eat in the café, I still went up to the 7th floor to visit the Miraikan Kitchen’s viewing lounge where you can see the skyline of Tokyo. The kitchen has more seating and food options but both places are self-service. This means you have to clean up after yourself!
If you like museums, you can easily spend a day in this place. Be sure to get the English version of the programs and events list on the 3rd floor reception desk. I made the mistake of not getting the list right away and missed a couple of events. Bummer. Anyways, this is where you buy your dome tickets as well. The museum does close at 5 pm so after exploring, I suggest you take a walk to diver city and view the Gundam statue and rainbow bridge. It’s worth seeing at night!