The Mori Building Digital Art Museum: teamLab Borderless is billed as the world’s first digital art museum, and was unveiled in Odaiba on June 21st, 2018 to much fanfare.
The digital art collective teamLab—an interdisciplinary group consisting of artists, scientists, and more—has had multiple exhibitions around and beyond Japan over the past few years. Despite its Japanese roots, it was only in 2018 that teamLab finally launched permanent (or, at least, long-term) installations in Japan. Better late than never, we suppose.
The Mori Building Digital Art Museum is unlike any museum that you’ve ever seen. This 10,000 square meter space uses 520 computers and 470 projectors to create an experience that will stimulate all five senses. There’s no set course for enjoying this digital art museum, so just let your curiosity and imagination wander, and pick any path to start.
June 2020 update: Tickets may only be available through the official Borderless website for a while, as access remains restricted due to COVID-19 prevention measures. This article was written before the pandemic, so some information/tips may no longer apply. Take care, stay safe!
What is the Mori Building Digital Art Museum: teamLab Borderless like?
You can’t step into the same museum twice. The art is dynamic and constantly in motion. In just a few minutes, you can experience a change of scenery—a burst of purple flowers here, a shower of sunflowers there—even while standing in the same spot. Step back into that same flower forest a little later, and you’ll find that the seasons have changed.
The museum isn’t called “Borderless” for nothing—the art moves freely. Walking down hallways, you might find yourself with interesting company, as a lively procession of performers joins you only to fade as you reach your destination.
Pro tip: Toyosu Fish Market is just a few train stops away from Borderless—see how to visit the new Tsukiji in Tokyo on the same day.
The Mori Building Digital Art Museum’s stunning installations make the perfect backdrop for #aesthetic shots. The two most popular installations are the Crystal World and the Forest of Resonating Lamps. The former is a room full of mirrors and dazzling, colorful LEDs (fun fact: you can change the colors with the teamLab app). In the latter, you can marvel at the lanterns and their ever-changing colors.
While taking photos and videos is part of the experience, and is actually something that teamLab encourages, don’t just visit for the Instagram potential. You’re highly encouraged to experience the art in ways other than clicking away on your smartphone. After all, it’s been said that all art is an immersive experience, and you can truly feel that for yourself here. For one, you’ll find that some art projections react to touch.
Mori Digital Art Museum offerings for kids
But wait—there’s more! The Athletics Forest is practically a digital art playground. Kids, and adults who are kids at heart, can create planets—or a black hole—with every bounce on the Multi-Jumping Universe trampoline, slide down a “fruit field”, or try bouldering in a “forest of light”. Note that you must have appropriate footwear here (see our tips below for more info).
Kids who prefer something more subdued can check out the Sketch Aquarium. The museum provides paper and crayons for kids to doodle and color. They can then have their drawings scanned to become part of a digital aquarium.
Chill out in the Mori Digital Art Museum’s En Tea House
Finally, after all that walking and playing, you might want to bask in the tranquility of En Tea House. We weren’t kidding when we said that this digital art museum is an experience for all the senses. In this dim, quiet space, you can unwind with a cup of tea—they recommend the yuzu green tea—for ¥500. Watch digital flowers bloom in your cup, their petals scattering every so often.
In sum, Mori Building Digital Art Museum: teamLab Borderless is a unique, memorable experience for all ages, as well as an easy gateway into art appreciation for Millennials and Gen Z-ers.
Other digital art offerings in Tokyo
If the experience left you eager for more, visit teamLab Planets, just a few stations away. Access is via a 1-minute walk from Shin-Toyosu Station, or a 10-minute walk from Toyosu Station.
A semi-permanent (until autumn 2020) version of a popular exhibit held in summer 2016, teamLab Planets features a few similar installations to those at teamLab Borderless (e.g. Crystal World or Crystal Universe), but also has unique ones such as a digital koi pond that will require visitors to wade through water.
There’s also the brand-new teamLab Acorn Forest in Saitama, which makes a great day trip.
Also, forget any misconceptions you may have about art being boring and stuffy. Check out our mega-guide to Tokyo’s art galleries and museums. They may not have digital art, but they can still offer an immersive experience nonetheless.
Ticket prices for the Mori Building Digital Art Museum: teamLab Borderless
An adult ticket costs ¥3,200, children get in for ¥1,000, and disabled persons can get tickets for ¥1,600. Tickets are also available for purchase online—we recommend buying tickets in advance, as on-site entrance tickets may run out (or not be sold at all, if online tickets sell out).
Tips and reminders for visiting teamLab Borderless
- teamLab recommends visiting after 15:00 to avoid the crowd. However, wait times can vary from day to day; we got in line before opening—on a weekend, at that—and found the line to be quick-moving.
- Children under junior high school age must be accompanied by an adult aged 20 or over.
- Stow bulky belongings in lockers (100-yen refundable deposit required).
- Download the teamLab app beforehand. Alternatively, the museum has free wifi, so you can scan a QR code at the entrance to download the app.
- Heels, slippers, and open-toed sandals are not allowed in the Athletics Forest. Wear or bring appropriate footwear, or rent shoes (subject to availability) for an additional fee.
- Some rooms have mirrors on the floor, so you might want to think twice about wearing short skirts or dresses. (You can borrow wrap-around skirts for free.)
- Take lots of photos and videos, but immerse yourself in the experience as well.
- Give yourself about two or three hours, at least, to enjoy the museum.
- New: If you are happy to do a quick zoom around the museum just before it shuts on the weekend, you can get a slightly discounted Night Pass ticket for ¥2,900 from the official website, which allows entry after 6pm.
This post was first published in September, 2018. Last updated in June, 2020. While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change.