Here are 6 of Japan’s wackiest museums
WHILE many of Japan’s art galleries exhibit works from some of the most revered artists in the world, others are more… wacky.
If traveling to Japan, it’s worth popping into some of these more niche offerings.
The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum
Momofoku Ando was the man who invented the concept of the instant noodle in the ‘50s, and it has since evolved to become a basic form of our noodle consumption. This museum, located in Osaka, is where visitors can learn about the history and development of instant noodles.
Hands-on participation is encouraged at various stations where visitors can learn to make ramen noodles from scratch or create their own cup noodle masterpiece.
If you don’t want to travel too far out of Tokyo, the Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum is a gallery-cum-amusement park where you can enjoy the varieties of ramen from each state at pop-up noodle shops.
Snoopy Museum Tokyo
For the first time in the world, Charlie Brown’s iconic pet dog has an entire museum dedicated to it. The recently opened museum is a tribute to the work of late artist Charles M. Schulz, the man responsible for the Peanuts comic strip.
Visitors can witness original cartoons, animation art, and large-scale works featuring lovable characters like Woodstock. New exhibitions will be introduced every six months.
There’s also a café in the museum premises, and it features a large blue table to symbolize Linus’ famous blue blanket.
Takao Trick Art Museum
Trick art museums display art with fascinating optical illusions, and Japan has a few of those. The most known of the trick museums is the one in Takao, where illusions are created using objects that really exist.
For example, a two-dimensional painting can produce a mind-bending effect where its subject is protruding out of the picture. In another instance, a painting could look like its picture is shifting when viewed from different angles.
Most visitors can be seen taking photos with the exhibits, something’s that’s not just allowed, but encouraged.
Meguro Parasitological Museum
This small museum in Tokyo is a private research facility exhibiting over 300 parasite specimens. The museum was founded in 1953 by local doctor Kamegai Satoru who was concerned about the number of parasites he encountered due to unsanitary post-war conditions.
The first floor is a display of parasites accompanied by educational videos, while the second floor shows parasite lifecycles and the symptoms they cause in the case of human infection.
One of the things you’re likely to witness is an 8.8m-long tapeworm found in the body of a 40-year-old Yokohama man. Not one for the faint-hearted.
This museum within Ikejiri Institute of Design is a magical realm where row after row of snow globes are displayed. Needless to say, it’s the only permanent snow globe exhibit in the world.
The globes are filled with all kinds of things, from miniature dolls and buildings, to flowers and dolphins. There are also large ones on display, filled with sculptures of candy houses and kittens.
Workshops are conducted regularly, where participants can learn to make their own globe.
Tobacco & Salt Museum
It may sound like an unlikely common theme, but tobacco and salt were once items that were monopolized by the Japan government.
This museum collects and conducts research about tobacco and salt, their roles in Japanese history and culture, as well as changes in the tobacco industry after it was privatized. Some of the items on display include old cigarette cartons, meerschaum pipes, and even a crystalline salt cylinder matching the size of a small whale.
Exhibitions are sometimes held, and the one currently running highlights the roles of netsuke and sagemono, both kimono accessories once used to carry tobacco.