All About Japan

20+ Free Museums & Art Galleries in Tokyo

| Museum , Cheap

Touring Tokyo on the cheap? Here's a list of free museums and galleries that you can visit in the city!

Free Museums

Before visiting, remember to check the museum’s website for hours and holidays. Most museums are closed on Mondays and national holidays, but some can also be closed on weekends!

Hours of operation vary, but they tend to open around 9 or 10 a.m. and close around 4 or 5 p.m. Finally, be aware that not all museums will have an English website or English guides/panels—so how much you get out of them may depend on your language ability.

1. Bank of Japan Currency Museum
• Learn the history of Japanese coins and paper money.
• Closed: Monday
• Closest Station: Mitsukoshi-mae
Website

2. Tokyo Kite Museum
• Check out traditional Japanese kites!
• Closed: Sunday
• Closest Station: Nihonbashi
Website

3. Meguro Parasitological Museum
• See preserved parasites at this unsettling museum.
• Closed: Monday and Tuesday
• Closest Station: Meguro
Website

4. Advertising Museum Tokyo
• Learn about advertising from the Edo Period (1603-1868) to the present day.
• Closed: Monday
• Closest Station: Shimbashi
Website

5. Sumo Museum
• Look at prints and paraphernalia to get your sumo fix.
• Closed: Saturday and Sunday
• Closest Station: Ryogoku
Website

6. Suginami Animation Museum
• Learn about the history and techniques of Japanese anime.
• Closed: Monday
• Closest Staion: Ogikubo
Website

7. Gas Science Museum
• Find out about the role and features of gas and other energy sources.
• Closed: Monday
• Closest Station: Toyosu
Go Tokyo page

8. Tokyo Fire Museum
• Learn the history of firefighting equipment.
• Closed: Monday
• Closest Station: Yotsuya Sanchome
Website

9. Rainbow Sewerage Museum
• Discover everything you could want to know about sewage systems in Odaiba.
• Closed: Monday
• Closest Station: Odaiba Kaihinkoen
Website

10. Tokyo Metropolitan Police Museum
• Learn about the job of a Japanese policeperson.
• Closed: Monday
• Closest Station: Kyobashi
Go Tokyo page

11. NHK Museum of Broadcasting
• Discover the history of Japan’s national broadcaster.
• Closed: Monday
• Closest Station: Kamiyacho
Website

12. Museum of Yebisu Beer
• While the tasting salon charges a fee, the museum itself is free to visit.
• Closed: Monday
• Closest Station: Ebisu
Website

13. Tokyo Reconstruction Memorial Hall
• Learn more about the 1922 Great Kanto Earthquake through pictures, diagrams and other materials.
• Closed: Monday
• Closest Station: Ryugoku
Website

14. Japan Stationery Museum
• Take a look at ancient and traditional writing instruments.
• Closed: Saturday and Sunday
• Closest Station: Asakusabashi
Website

15. National Art Center, Tokyo
• While not entirely free, the Center sometimes hosts free exhibitions among its paid offerings. Check each exhibition's description on the website.
• Closed: Tuesday
• Closest Station: Nogizaka or Roppongi
Website

16. Chofu Aerospace Center Exhibition Hall
• While it will take a bit to get there, it's surely closer to Tokyo than outer space!
• Closed: Saturday and Sunday
• Closest Station: Mitaka
Website

Free Tours of National Institutions

17. Imperial Palace Tour
Did you know that you can visit Japan's Imperial Palace with a guide—for free? The only catch is, you need to book in advance either by phone, mail, at the office or online. Online reservations must be made at least four days before the visit. The tour is in Japanese, but English audio guides are available.

• No tours on: Sunday and Monday
• Closest Station: Nijubashi-mae or Otemachi
Website

18. National Diet Tour
You can also visit part of the current center of power, the National Diet, for free. The tour lasts about an hour and you can book at the reception desk for visitors, located next to the Annex of the House of Concillors. Individual visitors are advised to come in the afternoon, as the morning is often crowded with groups. Be aware that English-speaking guides might not be available at all times.

• No tours on: Saturday and Sunday, or during plenary sessions
• Closest Station: Nagatacho
Website

Free Art Galleries

If you want to fill your eyes with beautiful contemporary art, considering visiting the following galleries.

19. Espace Louis Vuitton
• Located on the top floor of Louis Vuitton's Omotesando store.
• Closest Station: Omotesando
Website

20. Scai the Bathhouse
• This avant-garde gallery was built inside a former public bath house.
• Closest Station: Nippori
Website

21. 3331 Arts
• This gallery not only exhibits art, but also hosts performances, workshops and lectures. It was built inside a renovated high school.
• Closest Station: Suehirocho, Yushima or Okachimachi
Website

22. Tokyo Anime Center
• Located in Akihabara, the Center always dedicates part of its space to an exhibition of manga and anime drawings, panels and studies.
• Closest Station: Akihabara
Website

23. Photography Showrooms
• If you're into photography, the major Japanese camera brands have photo exhibition showrooms scattered around Tokyo.
Fujifilm (Roppongi)
Canon (Ginza)
Nikon (Shinjuku)
Pentax (Shinjuku)

24. Japan Traditional Crafts Aoyama Square
• This is mostly a shop, but even if you don't buy anything you can still enjoy more than 100 traditional Japanese items on display.
• Closest Station: Aoyama-itchome
Website

Finally... Get a Free Tokyo Guide!

Did you know that Japan has an extensive network of volunteer guides, available all around the nation? They're completely free, and you might only need to pay for their transportation fees and entrance to attractions. Visit the website below for a complete list of associations and locations.