About National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan)
Japan, the most technologically advanced country in Asia, has truly embraced the wonders of Science and Technology. In fact, in November 1995, the Land of the Rising Sun enacted the Basic Law on Science and Technology with “the purpose to become a scientifically and technologically creative nation by promoting the advancement of science and technology.” The same law paved the way for the establishment of National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation nicknamed Miraikan.
Established in July of 2001 in Odaiba, Miraikan was opened to the public in the hopes that “it could become a place where we can understand the things happening in our world today from a scientific point of view, and have discussions while considering the future that awaits us.” To date, it remains as Japan’s most technologically advanced science museum that could compete globally in terms of groundbreaking scientific exhibitions.
Indeed, the moment that you enter Miraikan, your eyes would be filled with wonder. Regardless whether you love science or not, Miraikan is sure to awaken your technological interest or even the sleeping science-genius in you.
Mirakain has three permanent exhibitions that allow its guests to interact and understand science by using creative hands-on experiences. Starting with the Explore the Frontiers exhibit which will give you a glimpse of how the human race has always wanted to explore the frontiers beyond our solar system. You could see pieces of remnants and parts of satellites that were once orbiting the Earth. Miraikan even has the actual part of the main engine, LE-7A Engine (photo below), that was originally installed in Japan’s flagship rocket — H-IIA. The rocket that launched several geostationary satellites orbiting our planet in 2001 – 2007.
For aspiring astronauts, you could also experience walking into the life-sized section of International Space Station (ISS) which is the primary home, research, and observation station of astronauts. The replica will give you a glimpse of how humans live in outer space and it also has signatures and messages of astronauts who visited Miraikan over the years.
After exploring new frontiers, you could also Create Your Future, the second permanent exhibit of Miraikan. The exhibit focuses on several technological advancements that are making their way into our lives at an unbelievable pace. It showcases the advent of robotic engineering and how far it has developed in the 21st century. You could also see Honda’s humanoid robot, ASIMO (which stands for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility), in action alongside other robots that showcases artificial intelligence and mechanical prowess that could definitely help us envision robots and humans co-existing from hereon.
Last but definitely not the least, it is time to Discover Your Earth. The last exhibit is not just the focal point of Tsunagari Project, it also links the focal points of the Museum itself. It is composed of three tools that allow any guests to feel, explore and [re]create scenarios happening on Earth. Said tools which include the Geo-Cosmos (photo below), Geo-Scope, and Geo-Palette, use state-of-the-art visual technology that is based on actual satellite data and scientific predictions.
The Geo-Cosmos, being the highlight and centrepiece of the scientific exhibition, is actually the first “globe-like display” in the world that depicts high-resolution images and simulations through 10,000 organic LEDs showing the most realistic image of how our planet is seen from the outer space.
How to get to Miraikan
You could get to the science museum via Japan’s train system. The details are as follows:
Take the JR Yamanote, Shonan-Shinjuku, or Saikyo line at Shibuya Station to Osaki Station. From the Osaki Eki Station, switch lines to TWR Rinkai Line heading to Tokyo Teleport Station. Miraikan is just 5 to 10-minute walk away from Teleport Station.
Take the Yurikamome Line from Shimbashi Station heading to Odaiba Kaihin Koen. Upon arrival at Odaiba Kaihin Koen, you can ride the shuttle bus or walk towards Miraikan.
Take the Metro train from Higashi-Shinjuku to Shibuya. Then take the JR Yamanote, Shonan-Shinjuku, or Saikyo line at Shibuya Station to Osaki Station. From the Osaki Eki Station, switch lines to TWR Rinkai Line heading to Tokyo Teleport Station. Miraikan is just 5 to 10-minute walk away from Teleport Station.
Note: The train from Osaki Eki Station to Tokyo Teleport Station is not covered by JR Pass. If you wish to learn more about the perks of using a JR Pass, check out this link.
Tickets and hours of operation
The admission fee to Miraikan is JPY 620 for adults and JPY 210 for 18 years of age and below. If you are going in a group of 8 or more, the cost would be JPY 490 per adult and JPY 160 for those aged 18 and below.
The fee will cover the permanent exhibits. However, if you plan to enter the special exhibits, you would have to pay an extra fee.
Note that there are days that the admission to the Miraikan could be free. Please see the details for the free access dates this year (2018) below:
1. On Saturdays, for visitors aged 18 or younger
2. April 20-21, 2018, during the Science and Technology Week
3. Children’s Day (May 5, 2018) for visitors aged 18 or younger
4. Miraikan’s Anniversary (July 9, 2018)
5. Respect for the Aged Day(September 17, 2018) for visitors aged 65 and above
6. November 3, 2018, during the Education and Culture Week
Miraikan is open from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM. Note that the selling of tickets closes at 4:30 PM.
Here are some of the tips for travelers visiting Miraikan:
1. Download the Miraikan App (Miraikan Notebook) – The Miraikan Notebook is an app available for both Android and IOS users. You could use it as an audio guide and to also maximise the augmented reality-enabled exhibits in the Museum.
2. Buying tickets to Miraikan – As of date, tickets could only be bought in Miraikan. The queue could be longer depending on the day of your visit and be prepared to wait in line for at least 10 – 15 minutes. It is best to go there early to avoid the long queue.
3. You’d need half a day for Miraikan – Miraikan is a huge science museum and for you to fully experience all its exhibits first hand, make sure you allot at least half a day. Some exhibits inside the Museum could have a long queue.
4. ASIMO’s robot demonstration schedule – You could see ASIMO in these timeslots: 11:00-11:10, 13:00-13:10, 14:00-14:10, and 16:00-16:10.
5. Hungry? Head to the 5th Floor – The Museum has its own self-service restaurant where you could buy snacks or even have lunch.