Grutt Pass: The Ultimate Cheapo Deal for Museum Enthusiasts

Selena Hoy

Museums. You love them or you hate them, but even if it is the former no cheapo likes those admission fees! Luckily Tokyo’s museums have a little ‘cheat’ that gives you access to most major museums for just 2,000 yen! The ‘cheat’ I am talking about is the Grutt Pass (or Grutto Pass). This little 2,000-yen passbook gives you free entry or significant discounts on Tokyo’s most prominent museums, zoos and aquariums.

Most of these attractions tend to charge on average 600-800 yen entry fee per adult, so you can make your investment back in as little as three visits. The overall value of the pass however exceeds almost 30,000 yen in total that you can use up over a period of two months.

From the always popular Tokyo Edo Museum to the pandas of Ueno Zoo and the ocean creatures of Tokyo Sea Life Park it is hard to resist such a deal.

grutt pass
Photo by IQRemix used under CC

Where to get a Grutt Pass and need-to-knows

You can purchase the pass at any of the participating museums as well as major convenience stores. The tourist information centers in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, Ueno Park and Asakusa also sell the Grutt Pass and will gladly help you in English.


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The pass is valid for two months from the day you first use it, so no worries about having to plan things out in a short period of time. Although a day spent hopping from museum to museum might be a nice challenge.

Something you have to take into account is that the pass is non-refundable and cannot be used with any other discounts. Each ticket can only be used once since they remove the ticket stub upon entry. On the other hand it is transferable, so if you are not particularly interested in one museum but you know someone who is, feel free to share. The booklet must remain intact though, so do not detach any of the ticket stubs yourself!

Learn from an accomplished artist about Japanese woodblock prints - ukiyo-e. On this half-day tour experience, you'll gain insights into the history of the art form click here for details
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For families with children, it might not be worth buying a pass for them too since museums usually have discounted or no admission for little ones anyways.

grutto museum
Photo by David McKelvey used under CC

Participating major museums

The following museums have participated for several years in a row now, but they might choose to revise their participation. If there are any museums you are particularly looking into, feel free so ask the staff or check out their website in advance.

And for those cheapo calculators out there, we added the regular adult price in brackets for each of the museums.

National Science Museum
Free entry – permanent exhibitions (620 yen)
100 yen discount (special exhibitions)



National Museum of Western Art
Free entry – permanent exhibitions (430 yen)
Discount for special exhibitions

Tokyo National Museum
80 yen discount – permanent collection (620 yen)
100 yen discount – special exhibitions

Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum
Discount for special exhibitions

Ueno Royal Museum
Discount for special exhibitions



National Museum of Modern Art
Free entry (varies)

Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography
Only free entry for select exhibits

Meguro Museum of Art
Free entry (varies but about 1,000 yen)

Mori Art Museum & Tokyo City View
300 yen discount – entry to Museum and Tokyo City View (varies but 1,800 yen plus)

Edo Tokyo Museum
Edo Tokyo Museum | Photo by Grigoris Miliaresis

Edo-Tokyo Museum
Free entry – permanent exhibitions (600 yen)
Discount for special exhibitions

Edo Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum
Free entry (400 yen)

Other participating facilities

grutto pass
See these fellas at Tama Zoo | Photo by Gideon Davidson used under CC

Tokyo Sea Life Park
Free entry (700 yen)

Tama Zoological Park
Free entry (600 yen)

Inokashira Park Zoo
Free entry (400 yen)

Ueno Zoo
Free entry (600 yen)

A sample day out with the Grutt Pass

This one-day tour idea focuses on museums that allow free entry with the pass, and with a bit of planning and some itchy feet, you should be able to squeeze in 4-5 museums during the opening hours. Bring a bento or some snacks if you like – there are lots of places along the way to enjoy a picnic.

1. Japanese Sword Museum

Fascinated by all things katana? Get your samurai and sword fix at the Japanese Sword Museum. (Admission saved: 1,000 yen)

In the neighborhood: The closest subway station, Sangubashi, is adjacent to Yoyogi Park. As the museum doesn’t open until 10, show up early and have a stroll, grab a bench, have some breakfast.

www.touken.or.jp/english/index.html

2. National Museum of Modern Art

momat
Photo by Banzai Hiroaki used under CC

This large museum features both domestic and international pieces of modern art, such as Hishida Shunso’s Nihonga paintings. The pass covers the permanent exhibits only. (Admission saved: 420 yen)

In the neighborhood: The Imperial Palace is across the street; the grounds are a lovely place for a walk, a picnic, and for crane-spotting (check the moat).

www.momat.go.jp/english

3. Shitamachi Museum

Edo period blacksmith shop in Shitamachi Museum
Photo by Scott Vachalek used under CC

Shitamachi literally means “downtown”, and this museum shows glimpses of old low-lying Tokyo, before the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and WWII carpet bombing flattened much of the old capital. (Admission saved: 300 yen)

In the neighborhood: sprawling Ueno Park is another prime place for a wander, or check out the old black market at Ameyoko, which is a great spot for street food, bargains on bulk dried fruit, beans, and fell-off-the-truck tracksuits, and dingy little beer and yakitori shacks decorated with paper lanterns that look like they’ve been there since the Showa period.

www.taitocity.net/taito/shitamachi/sitamachi_english/shitamachi_english.html

4. Asakura Museum of Sculpture

See the work of Japanese master sculptor Fumio Asakura, including bronze busts of many iconic Japanese historical figures. The museum is set in his former residence and studio, designed by the artist himself, and built around a Japanese garden. (Admission saved: 500 yen)

In the neighborhood: Soak in the Buddhist ambiance at Tennoji and Yanaka cemetery, directly between the museum and Nippori Station.

www.taitocity.net/zaidan/asakura

5. Amuse Museum

amuse museum
Photo by NelC used under CC

At the Amuse Museum in Asakusa, the main focus of the six-story space is textile arts, especially as related to the Japanese peasantry. There are also some nice ukiyo-e (wood block) prints on display here, and workshops, including tea ceremony in English and indigo dyeing, are held onsite. Up top is a rooftop garden with views of Sensoji and the Sky Tree. (Admission saved: 1080 yen)

In the neighborhood: The museum is situated right next to the raucous Sensoji (temple precinct); if you fancy dinner, try one of the 100% pure soba places that the area is known for (basic noodle sets start around 700 yen).

www.amusemuseum.com/english/index.html

6. BONUS: Edo-Tokyo Museum

If you’re hitting the museums on a Saturday, The Edo-Tokyo Museum has extended hours until 7:30p.m. The pass gets you admission to the permanent exhibits, which showcase the history, culture, and lifestyle of Edo-era people and the conversion from Edo to Tokyo. (Admission saved: 600 yen).

www.tokyocheapo.com/entertainment/edo-tokyo-museum-time-travel-birth-metropolis

Of course, there are endless combinations and lots of niche museums to scratch your particular itch—like the Basho Museum, the Paper Museum, botanical gardens, museums devoted to music, accessories, print art, science, etc. With the Grutt Pass, you could visit a museum a day for two months and still have some to spare!

This post was originally published on Sep 16, 2014. Last update: Nov 1, 2016 by Bjorn.

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6 Responses to “Grutt Pass: The Ultimate Cheapo Deal for Museum Enthusiasts”

  1. Where does one get these tickets?

    • Gilles Poitras

      Any museum that takes them.

    • Selena

      Yes, as Giles said, any participating museum sells them! There are also a few other places like bookstores and tourist info centers that have them. You can click on the link in the introduction for more information.

    • Thank you guys, for your responses.

  2. Gilles Poitras

    Glad to see the pass posted about here. Whenever I visit Tokyo I hit museums as part of my explorations and the pass plays for itself rather quickly. I recommend folks also check out the gift shops of museums in Tokyo, many have books in English which they publish and these make great gifts. Also Japanese art books are not as expensive as they are in the US so the range of gift possibilities is large.

    • Selena

      Thanks for your input and suggestions, Giles! Yes, museum shops are a great source for English language niche Japanese art books! Great tip.


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