by Bryce Marley
Tokyo is a city filled with fascinating galleries, museums and historical sites, however today we're taking a look at a very unique museum out on Odaiba: Mirikan, the national museum of emerging sciences and innovation!
Located on Odaiba, right in the heart of Tokyo Bay, nestled amongst the contemporary buildings, onsen theme park and shopping of the island, is Mirikan, Japan's museum celebrating and educating everyone on future technologies, innovation and science that will help make life better.
And the best news, everything is available in English!
The Miraikan was opened as a place where anyone can come and learn and understand about the many things happening in the world today, from a technological and scientific point of view. The museum is set up in a way that encourages conversation about what is being presented, and to show us what is possible in the future with the way science today is working.
The museum opened in July 2001, and since opening, has had the goal of deepening the understanding of science and technology to fulfill Japan's aim of becoming a scientifically and technologically creative nation in the world.
In addition to the public exhibitions and shows that the Miraikan have, they also have extensive research and discovery facilities all working on new technologies and innovations.
Let's take a look at the permanent offerings.
Spanning over 6 floors, the museum dedicates several spaces to varying aspects of science and technology.
What Japlanning love about the Miraikan is how all the highly interactive exhibits are presented in many languages, and shows all kinds of examples of how cutting edge science, technology and people are connected. The Miraikan has exhibits about everything in the realm of science and technology, from IT to robots, all the way to space exploration -- they cover it all, in an amazingly interactive way that is an absolute joy for children, and just as fun for adults.
Throughout the permanent exhibitions you will have all your senses used. From seeing the amazing history, and future of robotics, with hands on items to try, and you can catch ASIMO, Honda's humanoid robot, in action (Note: these shows are popular, be sure to check out showtimes when you arrive), to being surrounded by the world of spatial information science. Here you will enter a section and interact with screens and show you just how the processing of data on the actual space and movement of people works as information. It's colourful, loud, musical and fun, you won't even realise how much you are learning.
There is even an hands on model of the internet, where you can see, in a visual manner, what is happening when messages are transmitted between computers.
Further up in the museum there is a focus on all frontiers. Earth, the universe and solar system are looked at and how space exploration works, and where the future of it is headed. There is also a fascinating space all about climate that shows us how what we do affects our earth and more.
Visible at the front end of floors 1-5 is the spectacular globe, the Geo Cosmos, which is a large LED 360 screen depicting earth, which, throughout the day, features presentations on the links between life and the earth environment. The other amazing part of the Geo Cosmos is the showing of real time weather patterns, ocean temperatures and vegetation cover for the entire world.
One of the biggest features of the Miraikan is the dome theatre, which everyone gets 1 admission to with their day ticket.
In the dome theatre, which is a planetarium that is located on the top of the museum, which actually hangs out of the side of the building, The show BIRTHDAY - What links me to the universe is shown, and gives you a great idea of how we are all connected throughout the universe, as well as a spectacular 360 presentation of the universe. Just remember to pick up a language headset for your preferred language before attending the show.
Beyond the permanent exhibitions, they also have temporary showcases that are usually admitted for an additional fee. Most recently they have an extensive expo on the classic TV show, Thunberbirds, and the technology that was depicted in the show. Please note that the temporary exhibitions are typically held in Japanese only.
On the ground floor be sure to check out the open space below the Geo Comos, where you will find the most comfortable lounges to lay down and gaze at the earth above.
Getting to the Miraikan is easy from anywhere in Tokyo.
Get to the Shiodome Station on the Yamanote Line and take the Yurikamome Train line to Telecom Center Station, and its just a short 4-minute walk. Alternately you can take the Rinkai Line to Tokyo Teleport Station, from there it is a 15 minute walk.
If you happen to be Odaiba already, there is a free bus service called the Bay Shuttle. Jump on and get off at National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation stop. The Bay Shuttle runs daily from 11am to 8pm, and busses arrive every 17-20 minutes.
The Miraikan is open daily from 10:00am till 5:00pm, and is closed on Tuesdays and from 28 Dec - 1 Jan, and admission is 600 yen per person.
The Miraikan is a great museum to check out in Tokyo that is unique to Japan, and truly an amazing place to learn and have fun getting hands-on with most of the exhibitions. You can easily spend a whole day here with the amount of interactive displays and varying aspects of science and technology on show. The museum also has a burger joint, cafe and gift shop, so you can stay full and hydrated and pick up some great unique souvenirs you won't find anywhere else.