Tokyo Fuji Art Museum
Photo: Tokyo Fuji Art Museum

Free museum days at Tokyo museums – updated

Tokyo is a city of museums; make the most of your visit with these discount and free museum days in the city

By Tabea Greuner
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Entrance to Tokyo’s popular museums can be expensive, but fortunately, some of the leading institutions like The National Museum of Modern ArtTokyo Metropolitan Art Museum and the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum offer free museum days or discount deals throughout the year. If browsing through a Japanese website proves to be a pain, we’re here to help with our complete guide to the best free museum days and discount deals across Tokyo. Buckle up for a cultural day out in the metropolis!

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To prevent the spread of coronavirus, the museums in this list are implementing these safety measures:

- Your temperature will be checked on entry. Anyone with a fever of 37.5 degrees Celsius and cold-like symptoms will be turned away.
- Wear a mask at all times, cover your mouth when coughing, and disinfect your hands regularly.
- When asked, provide the museum with your contact information, which will be used to track possible coronavirus infections.
- People who have travelled to a place with a high coronavirus infection rate in the past two weeks should refrain from visiting the museum.
- Keep a safe distance from other visitors at all times.

RECOMMENDED: Best day trips from Tokyo

Free museum days

Tokyo National Museum
Tokyo National Museum
Photo: Tokyo National Museum

Tokyo National Museum

Museums Ueno

If you have just one day to devote to museum-going in Tokyo and are interested in Japanese art and artefacts, this is the place to visit. Japan’s oldest and largest museum houses over 110,000 items.

Past the ornate gateway, there’s a wide courtyard and pond surrounded by three main buildings. Directly in front is the Honkan (main gallery, dating from 1938), which displays the permanent collection of Japanese arts and antiquities. The 25 rooms regularly rotate their exhibitions of paintings, ceramics, swords, kimonos, sculptures and the like.

The Toyokan building to the right features five floors of artworks from other parts of Asia. The Gallery of Horyu-ji Treasures, on the other hand, houses some of Japanese Buddhism’s most important and ancient artefacts from the seventh-century Horyu-ji temple in Nara.

FREE on May 18, the third Monday of September plus November 3

FREE general admission for high school students or younger, and people aged 70 or older

9.30am-5pm (Tue-Thu, Sun); 9.30am-9pm (Fri-Sat), closed Mon

Note: due to Covid-19, tickets have to be purchased in advance.

国立近代美術館
国立近代美術館
Photo: The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

Art Takebashi

This is an alternative-history MoMA, one consisting mostly of Japanese art from the turn of the 20th century and onwards. Noteworthy features of the permanent collection are portraits by early Japanese modernist Ryusei Kishida and wartime paintings. The 1969 building, designed by Yoshiro Taniguchi (father of architect Yoshio Taniguchi) was renovated in 2001. Its location next to the moat and walls of the Imperial Palace makes it a prime stop for viewing springtime cherry blossoms and autumn foliage. Nearby is the Crafts Gallery, an impressive 1910 European-style brick building, once the base for the legions of guards who patrolled the Imperial Palace.

FREE on May 18

FREE general admission for high school students or younger, and people aged 65 or older

10am-5pm (Tue-Thu, Sun); 10am-8pm (Fri-Sat), closed Mon

Note: due to Covid-19, tickets have to be purchased in advance.

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National Museum of Emerging Science & Innovation
National Museum of Emerging Science & Innovation
Photo: National Museum of Emerging Science & Innovation

National Museum of Emerging Science & Innovation

Museums Aomi

Upon entering, you'll be greeted by a huge globe 6.5m (22ft) in diameter above the lobby, with 851,000 LEDs on its surface showing real-time global climatic changes. The museum holds interactive displays on robots, genetic discoveries, space and astronomy and, perhaps most bizarre of all, a model using springs and ball bearings to explain the operating principle of the internet. There are ample explanations in English, and a good gift shop.

FREE on Jul 9

FREE on May 5 for children aged 18 or younger

FREE on Sep 20 (2021) for people aged 65 or older

FREE on Sat for children aged 18 or younger

10am-5pm, closed Tue, Dec 28-Jan 1

Note: due to Covid-19, tickets have to be purchased in advance.

Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum - PR shot
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum - PR shot
Photo: Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum

Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum

Art Ueno

Designed by Maekawa Kunio, this art museum in Ueno park with an exposed brick facade was largely constructed underground to remain unobtrusive, with limited success. Temporary shows in the main hall feature everything from traditional Japanese art to art nouveau.

Enjoy discounted admission during the family day, every third Saturday and following Sunday of the month, where families with children (under 18 y.o.) get half off the regular admission fee for special and thematic exhibitions. During Silver Day (every third Wednesday of the month), visitors aged 65 or older have free admission to special and thematic exhibitions.  

FREE on the third Wednesday of the month for people aged 65 or older

FREE general admission for junior high school students and younger

9.30am-5.30pm (until 8pm on Fridays during Special Exhibitions), closed every 1st and 3rd Mon

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 古代オリエント博物館
 古代オリエント博物館
古代オリエント博物館

The Ancient Orient Museum

Museums History Ikebukuro

This museum is actually just two rooms displaying a small collection of objects from ancient Egypt. Some of them are replicas, but still good enough for getting a sense for this mystical and fascinating culture. Occasionally, the exhibitions aren't related to ancient Egypt at all, so make sure to check the website beforehand. 

FREE on Saturday and Sunday for elementary and junior high school students

10am-4.30pm daily

Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum, Tokyo | Time Out Tokyo
Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum, Tokyo | Time Out Tokyo
Photo: Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum, Tokyo

Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum, Tokyo

Art Marunouchi

When it was originally built, the Mitsubishi Ichigokan was the first western-style office building in the Marunouchi area. Completed in 1894, the building was designed by British architect Josiah Conder on an invitation from the Japanese government, still newly formed after Japan’s opening to the West. At the time it bustled with activity, containing, among other things, the banking division of the Mitsubishi Company. By 1968, however, it had become dilapidated and was demolished. In 2010, after more than 40 years of silence, the Mitsubishi Ichigokan was reborn on the same site as a major new museum, rebuilt according to Conder’s original plans.

¥1,200 entrance fee after 5pm on the second Wednesday of every month (10am-9pm); this special ticket has to be purchased in advance (in Japanese only)

10am-6pm, Fri and 2nd Wed 10am-9pm, closed Mon, Nov 24-25 (2020), Dec 31-Jan1

Note: due to Covid-19, tickets can be purchased in advance (in Japanese only).

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Tokyo Fuji Art Museum
Tokyo Fuji Art Museum
Photo: Tokyo Fuji Art Museum

Tokyo Fuji Art Museum

Attractions Hachioji

Located next to Hachioji's Soka University, the Fuji Museum opened in 1983 and boasts a huge, sprawling collection that must have cost a fortune to put together. Then again, the museum was founded by Soka Gakkai president Daisaku Ikeda and relies on the organisation's bottomless coffers for support.

FREE on your birthday

FREE on Sat for junior high school and primary school students

FREE for preschool children and younger

10am-5pm, closed Mon

Edo-Tokyo Museum
Edo-Tokyo Museum
Photo: Edo-Tokyo Museum

Edo-Tokyo Museum

Museums Ryogoku

This large museum’s outlandish architectural style may not appeal to everyone, but the building houses the city’s best collection of displays dealing with the history of Tokyo. Highlights include large-scale reconstructions of Nihonbashi bridge and a kabuki theatre, as well as detailed models of quarters of the city at different eras. Exhibits outline lifestyles and show how disasters, natural and man-made, altered the city’s landscape. The English labelling is good.

FREE general admission for primary school students and younger

9.30am-5.30pm, closed Mon

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Printing Museum Tokyo
Printing Museum Tokyo
Photo: Printing Museum Tokyo

Printing Museum

Museums Bunkyo

Dedicated to the history and techniques of printing while displaying an interesting collection of vintage posters, flyers, books and more, this museum is located inside the Toppan Printing company's headquarters. It also hosts a virtual reality theatre, gift shop, library and restaurant.

FREE on May 5 and Nov 3

FREE general admission for junior high school students and younger, as well as people aged 70 and older

10am-6pm, closed Mon

Note: due to Covid-19, tickets have to be purchased in advance (in Japanese only).

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