With an incredibly rich history, it’s no wonder that Japan has more than 5,700 museums across its 47 prefectures; and with so many to choose from, travelers are bound to find some unexpected surprises among them. Below are some of Japan’s most interesting museums that travelers can visit, once travel restrictions are lifted.
Cup Noodles Museum – Kanagawa Prefecture
A fun destination for kids and adults, the Cup Noodles Museum in Kanagawa Prefecture is full of exciting activities. Along with interesting exhibitions, such as a replica of the shed where instant noodles were invented and a small collection of modern art pieces made from Cup Noodles, visitors can make their own personalized cup noodle at the My Cup Noodles Factory. At the My Chicken Ramen workshop, guests can make their own instant ramen noodles from scratch. The Noodles Bazaar also gives visitors a chance to try out nine different noodle dishes.
Towel Museum of Art – Ehime Prefecture
An incredibly unique institution, the Towel Museum of Art in Ehime Prefecture is the world’s first towel museum dedicated to the art of towel manufacturing. Inside, visitors can find galleries and displays showcasing intricate traditional towels, art made from towels and an exhibition on the towel-making process. The museum gift shop features a wide array of original goods and local products available for purchase.
TOTO Museum – Fukuoka Prefecture
Japan’s famous TOTO brand is best known for its bathware and in celebration of its 100th anniversary, the TOTO Museum was opened in 2017. The elegant two-story building leads visitors through the history of TOTO, especially focusing on the evolution of its toilets. From the first ceramic flush toilet seat that was developed in 1914, to modern toilets with bidets and heated seats, guests can learn about the company’s evolution, spanning more than a decade. While the museum’s signage is in Japanese, visitors can download the museum’s app for an English audio guide or to translate the signs.
Omiya Bonsai Art Museum – Saitama Prefecture
Located in the heart of the Omiya Bonsai Village, the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum is home to more than 120 bonsai masterpieces and bonsai-related artifacts, such as woodblock prints, books, bonsai pots and more. Art pieces are selected in accordance with the season and around 50 pots of bonsai are always on display in the garden and gallery. After visiting the museum, travelers can wander around the village and check out local artisans and stores. The village was originally founded in 1925 when the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 forced bonsai nurseries and garden industry workers in central Tokyo to relocate.
Yokote Masuda Manga Museum – Akita Prefecture
The first manga-themed museum in Japan, the Yokote Masuda Manga Museum showcases the artwork from manga artists across Japan and the world. The museum houses around 400,000 original illustrations from around 100 artists in the permanent exhibitions. The museum also pays honor to the works of Takao Yaguchi, whose work helped highlight Akita Prefecture and attracted visitors. Guests can enjoy a large library of manga and read to their heart’s content for free.
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ABOUT JAPAN NATIONAL TOURISM ORGANIZATION (JNTO)
As the official tourism board of Japan, JNTO is involved in a wide range of promotional activities to encourage international travelers to visit Japan. Through a variety of campaigns and initiatives, JNTO is inspiring more American travelers to visit Tokyo, Kyoto and beyond.