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[Tokyo] 5 Recommended Museums and Art Galleries with Free Admission!

Tokyo is a city that boasts a long list of museums and art galleries. But did you know that aside from the famous museums, there are plenty of museums in Tokyo where you can enjoy unique exhibits and displays for free? With that, here are five museums and art galleries in Tokyo that are convenient for sightseeing!

1. Ad Museum Tokyo (Shimbashi)

The Ad Museum Tokyo is the only museum of advertising in Japan. There are about 320,000 items on display here that date from the Edo period (1603-1867) up to the present day. It is divided into the permanent exhibitions where you can see the history of advertising in Japan, and the planned exhibitions that showcase various advertising awards from around the world and special exhibits developed by the museum. Meanwhile, at the library, you can read ads and marketing-related materials, as well as search though and view digital archives of advertising works.

1. Ad Museum Tokyo (Shimbashi)

Caretta Shiodome, 1-8-2 Higashi-Shimbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo

2. Ochanomizu Origami Kaikan (Ochanomizu)

The Ochanomizu Origami Kaikan is a museum where you can touch, look at, play with and learn about washi (Japanese paper), origami (art of paper folding) and chiyogami (decorative paper with patterns) that form a traditional culture that is the pride of Japan. Apart from the items on display at the gallery, there is also a shop that sells the museum’s original origami and chiyogami products, books, and authentic craft arts, as well as a studio where you can observe how craftsmen make somegami (dyed paper). You can even join one of their many workshops where an experienced teacher will help you make origami. There is a class that is recommended for beginners that is perfect for foreigners, so make sure to try that. (Note, though, that said class is not held on a regular basis. There are also sessions with English-speaking teachers, so it would be best to verify the schedule in advance.)

2. Ochanomizu Origami Kaikan (Ochanomizu)

1-7-14 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo

3. Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts (Machida)

The Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts is one of the few museums in the world that specialize in prints. It collects and preserves prints from Japan and the rest of the world that date as far back as the Nara period (710-794), up to the present day. As of 2019, it has a treasure trove of over 30,000 prints. Here, you can enjoy excellent collections that capture prints from various angles, such as technological changes and social roles, while tracing back their history. You need to pay to get inside the planned exhibitions (admission fee depends on the exhibit), but you can enter the mini planned exhibitions for free.

3. Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts (Machida)

4-28-1 Haramachida, Machida-shi, Tokyo

4. Intermediatheque (Front of Tokyo Station)

Located inside the KITTE commercial complex that is a minute’s walk from Tokyo Station, Intermediatheque is a museum that is jointly run by Japan Post and the University Museum, the University of Tokyo (UMUT). Inside the massive space that was created by the renovation and redesign of the building of the former Tokyo Central Post Office that was built in 1931, you will see scientific models, research materials, and other scientific and cultural heritage items that have been amassed by the University of Tokyo since it opened in 1877. This museum showcases a collection of skeletons of large animals, minerals and stuffed animals, laboratory equipment, and many other pieces in such a way that make them look like pieces of art.

4. Intermediatheque (Front of Tokyo Station)

KITTE 2-3F, 2-7-2 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

5. Pola Museum Annex (Ginza)

Pola Museum Annex was developed by famous skincare/makeup and beauty treatment specialist “Pola” in line with its desire to make art available to everybody. Boasting a diverse collection of contemporary art and various other items, it offers planned exhibitions that you can enter free of charge throughout the year. So, if go shopping in Ginza, then try to check out this museum to experience "art that links to the future".

※Photo shows the Tabaimo Exhibition that will be held from April 26th (Fri) to June 2nd (Sun), 2019

5. Pola Museum Annex (Ginza)

Pola Ginza Bldg. 3F, 1-7-7 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo

So, what do you think of these five museums that will let you experience such beautiful and high-quality art that you won’t believe admission to these spots is actually free? Try to visit them when you go sightseeing in Tokyo.

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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