Visit some of Tokyo’s top museums for free


Staff Writer

Museums sometimes get the unfair reputation of being a bit boring, which is one reason why International Museum Day could exceed your expectations.

In Japan this year, International Museum Day, which is usually held around May 18, includes a two-week long string of events at Ueno-area museums. Designed to help the public appreciate and understand the role of museums, the attractions include free entry to various institutions as well as guided tours, scheduled lectures and other benefits.

Ueno is a hub of Tokyo’s major cultural facilities and four of its museums — Tokyo National Museum, National Museum of Nature and Science, The National Museum of Western Art and Shitamachi Museum — will offer free entrance on May 18 to some of their galleries. They have also organized various guided tours and other events.

The National Museum of Western Art will give a free lecture on how to enjoy viewing art, while the National Museum of Nature and Science has scheduled a tour of historical architecture around Ueno Park, which was built during the Meiji and Showa eras. Even the Ueno Zoological Garden is joining in on May 17 with a family tour that will show visitors around the zoo as the guide explains the nature and environment of its animals.

As a special for study-abroad students, a lesson on how to dress in yukata (light, cotton kimono) on May 16 will help get them ready for a Japanese summer, while an essay contest themed “My favorite place or thing at museums of Ueno Park” will give them a chance to win prizes.

Ueno Museum Week takes place at various museums around Ueno. For more information, visit www.ueno-mw.com.