Located in the heart of the Tokyo metropolis, Minato City is known for its many sightseeing attractions—among them Tokyo Tower, Zojoji Temple, and the Roppongi district. In this article, we present three more attractions that have recently opened to the public. They provide a rich variety of experiences for families, couples, friends—or even on your own— so be sure to head out and get in on the fun once the pandemic subsides.
Minato City Local History Museum
The Minato City Local History Museum opened its doors in November 2018 to educate locals and visitors about the history, culture, and natural features of the city. Located just a minute’s walk from Shirokanedai Station, it is housed in what was originally built as The Institute of Public Health in 1938, a national organization dedicated to studying the health of Japanese citizens. The building has since been renovated and preserved, and is worth seeing in its own right, as it is a beautiful structure that has been used as a set for television dramas and more.
The permanent exhibits at the museum provide a wide range of information on the Minato area along Tokyo Bay, starting with ancient times and culminating in the modern era. They make ample use of digital technology, including touchscreens and projection mapping, making learning an experience for the senses as well as the mind. The modern history of Minato City as a critical center for the development of Tokyo is particularly fascinating, with exhibits that are sure to engage the curiosity not only of history buffs, but of anyone who wants to know more about the story of Japan’s capital.
There are all kinds of fun experiences for visitors to enjoy here in addition to the museum’s permanent exhibits. Special Exhibition events (requiring a separate admission fee) are held seasonally, and parts of the building—including the old auditorium and president’s room from when it was the Institute of Public Health—are open to the public free of charge. There is also a museum shop and café for those who want to shop or relax.
Note: Parts of the museum may be closed due to pandemic restrictions. Visit the official museum website for the latest information.
Minato Science Museum
The Minato Science Museum opened in June 2020 as a place to encourage cutting-edge science communication in the region. It is the perfect place for families with kids to enjoy an outing.
The theme of the permanent exhibition on the first floor is “discover and explore the science that lives in the city.” There are four experiential display areas (Nature, City, Sea, and Human) where visitors can discover the science that lies all around them in everyday life. The Minato Quest Map, which is part of the permanent exhibition, shows the geography of Minato City on a huge screen, with exciting digital mapping features that provide information on the area’s natural features, topography, infrastructure, transportation, and more.
On the second floor is a planetarium equipped with a cutting-edge Orpheus optical projection system and an extensive daily program of fun content, aimed at everyone from preschool children and school-age kids to high-school students and couples. The best thing to do is check the schedule in advance so you can pick a showing aimed at the right age group for your visit.
Minato City Center for Traditional Culture
The Minato City Center for Traditional Culture takes you back to the old days of Tokyo before the modern era, when the streets of the capital were lined with wooden buildings.
The building, formerly known as the Former Kyodo Kaikan Hall, was originally built in 1936 as a kenban office used to give geisha their assignments in the Shibaura entertainment district. The kenban simultaneously served as pleasure quarters, a restaurant, and a gathering place for patrons, where geisha received their guests and entertainment expenses were tallied. The last wooden kenban in Tokyo, the Minato City Center for Traditional Culture, is a priceless treasure of the era that captures the festive atmosphere of the old Shibaura district.
The Tokyo government gifted the Former Kyodo Kaikan Hall to Minato City in April 2009, and on October 27 of that year, it was officially designated as an important tangible cultural property of the city. The center hosts numerous projects and events designed to popularize and pass on traditional culture, making use of the historically rich wooden structure to help bolster tourism in the region.
Note: The center may have special hours during the pandemic. Check the official website for the latest information.
Minato is home to many more exciting attractions and sightseeing spots. Watch the short video below to find out more!
[ Minato City Local History Museum ]
Address: 4-6-2, Shirokanedai, Minato-ku, Tokyo (inside Yukashi no Mori)
Hours: 9:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M. (9:00 A.M. – 8:00 P.M. on Saturdays)
Note: Visitors must enter the permanent and special exhibitions at least 30 minutes prior to close.
Closed: Third Thursday of the month (or the Wednesday before when the third Thursday is a public holiday), New Year holidays (December 29–January 3), other occasional closures
Admission: Adults ¥300, Children (6–17) ¥100
Note: Special Exhibitions require a separate admission fee
[ Minato Science Museum ]
Address: 3-6-9 Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Hours: 9:00 A.M. – 8:00 P.M. (enter at least 30 minutes prior to the last planetarium show at 7:00 PM)
Closed: Second Monday of the month (or the following day when the second Monday is a public holiday), New Year holidays (December 29–January 3), other occasional closures
Admission: Free (planetarium tickets are ¥600 for adults and ¥100 for children 6–17)
[ Minato City Center for Traditional Culture ]
Address: 1-11-5 Shibaura, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Hours: 10:00 A.M. – 9:00 P.M.
Closed: December 29–January 3, other occasional closures
Note: Facility information is current as of March 15, 2021. Please check the official websites for updates.