10 Museums You Can Visit for Free If You’re on a Budget

Exploring Japan's museums need not break the bank.

Photo courtesy of official museum website


Visiting museums is an absolute must while traveling. Not only do you get to add a cultural element to your trip, you also walk away with new discoveries and stories to share once you are back home. Japan doesn't fall short in this category. This favorite travel destination has countless museums for both locals and tourists to enjoy. The best part? Some of them offer free admission! Just check out 10 of them that we list below.


Hakata Traditional Craft and Design Museum


Photo courtesy of official museum website


Photo courtesy of official museum website


If arts and crafts is your thing, this well-known museum in Fukuoka will wow you with its wide range of traditional handicrafts on display. Among them are the famous “Hakata Ori” (woven textile) and “Hakata Ningyo” (dolls). The museum aims to bring people closer to and educated them about the artisanal traditions and knowledge of Fukuoka and Hakata.


The Hakata Traditional Craft and Design Museum is located at 6-1 Kamikawabata-machi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka, and is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. except Wednesdays. It is a 5-minute walk from Gion and Nakasu-Kawabata stations. You can contact them at +81-92-409-5450 or visit their website.


World Bags & Luggage Museum


Photo courtesy of official museum website

Bag lovers will appreciate the extensive collection at the World Bags & Luggage Museum, where they don't just showcase rare pieces but also tell their history. There are approximately 550 items on display, sourced from over 50 countries. You can find everything from satchels to backpacks, clutch bags to brief cases, and steamer trunks to portmanteaus made from all sorts of materials.


The World Bags & Luggage Museum is located at 1-8-10 Taito-ku, Komagata, Tokyo, and is open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. except Sundays and holidays. It is approximately 50 meters from the A1 Exit of the Asakusa Station. You can contact them at +81-3-3847-5680 or visit their website.


Origami Kaikan


Photo courtesy of official museum website


This well-loved spot will bring much color to your life, thanks to its rich collection showcasing the talents and skills of traditional origami artists. Visit Origami Kaikan to marvel at their exquisite origami display, shop origami goods, watch the paper dyeing process, and attend origami workshops (for a fee). This could be a therapeutic break from your packed itinerary.


Origami Kaikan is located at 1-7-14 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku,Tokyo, and is open 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. except Sundays, national holidays, summer vacation, and yearend/New Year holidays. It is a seven-minute walk from the Ochanomizu Station of JR Chuo Line/Sobu Line. You can contact them at +81-3-3811-4025 or visit their website.

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Museum of Yebisu Beer


Photo courtesy of official museum website


Photo courtesy of official museum website


Fancy a drink? How about learning the history of Yebisu beer? Their museum will tell you the story of the development of this famous Japanese product. You can also, for a fee, sample their different brands at their tasting salon. Plus, there is a shop where they offer exclusive merchandise that you cannot find elsewhere.


The Museum of Yebisu Beer is located at the Yebisu Garden Place, 4-20-1 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, and is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. except Mondays. It's behind the Mitsukoshi department store at Yebisu Garden Place. You can contact them at +81-3-5423-7255 or visit their website.


Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum


Photo courtesy of official museum website


Photo courtesy of official museum website


This museum, named after the Father of Instant Ramen, delves deep into the history of instant noodles. It also highlights innovation and discovery in its different exhibitions and attractions, including the Chicken Ramen Factory, the Magical Table where you can answer quizzes about instant noodles, and the Instant Noodles Tunnel. There is also a shop and a tasting room where visitors can purchase exclusive items.


The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum is located at 8-25 Masumi-cho, Ikeda-shi, Osaka, and is open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. except Tuesdays. It is within walking distance of Ikeda Station on the Hankyu-Takarazuka Line. You can contact them at +81-72-752-3484 or visit their website.


Intermediatheque


Photo courtesy of official museum website


Photo courtesy of official museum website


The cutting-edge intermediatheque, jointly operated by the Japan Post and the University Museum, the University of Tokyo (UMUT), exhibits historical scientific specimens collected by the university since its foundation in 1877. The displays span three centuries of discoveries that were used for education and research, and covers a wide range of disciplines, including geography, archeology, mathematics, anatomy biology, and modern art, to name a few.


Intermediatheque is located on the JP Tower/Kitte Floors 2 & 3, 2-7-2 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, and is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. except Mondays. The JP Tower/Kitte building is immediately south of Tokyo Station on the Marunouchi side. You can contact them at +81-3-5777-8600 or visit their website.


Suginami Animation Museum


Photo courtesy of official museum website


Photo courtesy of official museum website


You can't really talk about Japan without talking about animation. At the Suginami Animation Museum, you can learn more about the history and production of anime. Aside from the pieces on display, there is a wall where renowned animators' autographs and illustrations can be seen, a recreation of famous directors' desks, and stations where you can try your hand at digital production.

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The Suginami Animation Museum is located at 3-29-5 Suginami, Kamiogi, Tokyo and is open 10 a.m. from 6 p.m. except Mondays. It is a 20-minute walk from the closest station, the JR Ogikubo station. You can contact them at +81-3-3396-1510 or visit their website.


Sumo Museum


Photo courtesy of official museum website


Photo courtesy of official museum website


Fascinated by the art and sport of sumo wresting? The Sumo Museum, opened in September 1954, preserves the history and heritage of Japan's national sport. The venue is quite small, but it displays important items related to sumo, like woodblock prints and ceremonial aprons, and offers a wealth of information for visitors. It also serves as a research center where they continue to study sumo and its importance to Japanese culture. 


The Sumo Museum is located at 1-3-28 Yoko-ami Sumida-ku, Tokyo, and is open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. except Saturdays, Sundays, and national holidays. It is a one-minute walk from the JR Sobu Line, Ryogoku Station and is on the first floor of The Ryogoku Kokugikan (sumo stadium). You can contact them at +81-3-3622-0366 or visit their website.


Currency Museum Bank of Japan


Photo courtesy of official museum website


This museum, opened in November 1985, offers a vast collection of antiquated Japanese money, as well as some unusual currencies from around the world. Aside from finding out the materials used for these currencies, visitors also get insight on how people have used money throughout their lives and throughout history.


The Currency Museum Bank of Japan is located at Bank of Japan Annex Building, 1-3-1 Nihonbashi-Hongokucho, Chuo-ku Tokyo, and is open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m except Mondays and New Year holidays. It is a one-minute walk from the Mitsukoshimae Station on the Hanzomon Line (Exit B1). You can contact them at +81-3-3277-3037 or visit their website.


Japan Stationery Museum


Photo courtesy of official museum website


Photo courtesy of official museum website


This quaint museum houses an unexpectedly varied collection of writing materials and tools, as well as antique stationery from all over the world. If you're into calligraphy, their calligraphy paraphernalia on display may interest you a great deal. They also have Egyptian papyrus, grass pens, antique fountain pens, abacuses, and old typewriters, to name a few.


The Japan Stationery Museum is located at 1-1-15 Yanagibashi, Taito City, Tokyo, and is open 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. except Saturdays and Sundays. It is a five-minute walk from the East Exit of Asakusabashi Station on the JR Sobu Line, or Exit A1 of Asakusabashi Station on the Toei Asakusa Subway Line. You can contact them at +81-3-3861-4905 or visit their website.

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