Located in the very apt futuristic entertainment neighborhood of Odaiba is The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation. Also known as Miraikan, this family-friendly museum is dedicated to science, nature, technology, and the great mysteries of the universe.
Mixing futurism and science fiction with interactive and educational displays, the museum opened in 2001 with the vision to promote science communication, build global connections and inspire the population to ponder and discover solutions to global problems. There are plenty of attractions to entertain even the least science-minded of folk, while the museum also often runs panels, workshop classes and talks for those who want to dig a little deeper.
The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation has three zones, each one exploring a different facet of our relationship to science, nature and technology.
Discover Your Earth is all about planet earth. This zone is home to the museum’s iconic Geo-Cosmos; this LED globe projecting images in a real-time fashion. The weather patterns floating across the display come from images shot by weather satellites daily.
Explore the Frontiers is a zone that explores space, the solar system, earth, and how it all works together. In this zone, you’ll find exhibits like Mission Survival: 10 Billion, which looks at how earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and other natural disasters have shaped the earth, as well as more modern human-made impacts. Another noteworthy exhibit is the immersive International Space Station (ISS) display, where you can experience what it’s like being inside the ISS living quarters.
Create Your Future is a more philosophical zone; it investigates the questions of how humans can evolve while achieving sustainable prosperity. It poses to guests the questions ‘What type of future do you want?’ and ‘What does it mean to be human?’ It’s in this zone you’ll find the museum’s famous robot residents.
The museum’s 121-seat ‘Gaia’ Dome Theater screens immersive 3D moving images that explore science, the universe, and our place in it. If you want to know what’s screening, there’s a program schedule on the website. Entry into the dome costs an additional ¥300 for adults, and ¥100 children aged 18 and younger; reservations can be made online, or at the ticket counter.
One of the biggest reasons many folks visit The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation is to meet and interact with the museum’s robots and AI-powered displays.
ASIMO, the child-sized humanoid robot created by the team at Honda, makes regular daily appearances at 11 am, 1 pm, 2 pm, and 4 pm. The museum is also home to Otonaroid, a freakishly human-looking android who is on display all day long.
Things to do near Miraikan
In Odaiba, the home of the Miraikan, you’ll find plenty of other retail and entertainment attractions like shopping centers AQUA CiTY, Diver City, and DECKS. Both the teamLab museums; Planets and Borderless are in the area too. For sights, there’s always the Rainbow Bridge, the gigantic Gundam statue, and strangely a small scale replica of the Statue of Liberty.
Cheapo tip: Saving money
Chika Toku ticket holders receive discounted admission. For adults, admission costs ¥500. For guests under 18 years of age, it’s ¥160. There’s also free admission for those 18 and under on Saturdays.
Language and accessibility
Language: Most signage is bilingual Japanese and English, and some staff will be able to assist you with inquiries about the gallery in English.
Accessibility: The gallery is wheelchair accessible and suitable for those with mobility challenges. It has automatic doors, disability parking, ostomate restrooms, a wheelchair ramp, wheelchair-accessible elevator and bathrooms, and loan chairs too.
Nearby places and attractions
- Mori Building Digital Art Museum: teamLab Borderless
- Unicorn Gundam (giant robot)
- Spocha (indoor multisports and entertainment center)
Has wheelchair accessible toilets
- 326 m from Telecom-center Station
- 383 m from Tokyo International Cruise Terminal Station
- 0.7 km from Aomi Station