Mapping out an agenda can be a challenge if you want to drink in all the sights and sounds of Japan’s metropolis. Tokyo is a vast web of museums, from the ancient and traditional to the ultra-modern. The Marunouchi area alone, near Tokyo Station, is home to four popular private museums where you can catch a glimpse of Japan’s rich history and culture.
Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum
This museum is a replica of the original structure of Maranouchi’s first office building in 1894, designed by British architect Josiah Conder. It was destroyed in 1968 but was rebuilt and opened to the public in 2010. Mitsubishi Ichigokan offers 20 rooms of exhibition space and concentrates on Western art from the 1800s. The museum’s strategic location makes it easy for people to visit during their lunch break. It takes only 45 minutes to explore each gallery. International exhibits are often displayed throughout the year.
The museum is located at 2-6-2 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku. Admission fees vary per exhibit. Hours are 10am-8pm, from Tuesday to Saturday, and up to 6pm on Sundays.
Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum | kubotake
Bridgestone Museum of Art
Impressionist art has had a large influence on Tokyo. The Bridgestone Corporation private art collection of Shojiro Ishibashi, the founder of Bridgestone Tires, was opened in 1952. It houses mostly contemporary and Impressionist paintings, as well as Japanese art from the Meiji Period. Special exhibits are displayed three or four times in the year.
The museum is located at Bridgestone Building 1F & 2F, 1-10-1 Kyobashi, Chuo-ku. Admission is 800 Yen for adults. Hours are 10am-8pm, from Tuesday to Saturday, and up to 6pm on Sundays.
Bridgestone Museum of Art | david.orban
Mitsui Memorial Museum
The Mitsui Memorial Museum houses an assortment of Japanese traditional art gathered by the Mitsui family over 300 years. Some artifacts even date as far back as the Edo Period. Collections include national treasures, tea utensils, and an international stamp collection of over 130,000 stamps.
You can visit this museum at Mitsui Main Building, 2-1-1 Nihonbashi Muromachi, Chuo-ku. Admission is 1000 Yen. Hours are 10am-5pm, Tuesdays to Sundays.
Mitsui Memorial Museum| kawanet
Idemitsu Museum of Arts
This museum houses the private collection of Sazo Idemitsu, the founder of Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd. It focuses on East Asian antique ceramic art and Japanese paintings. Temporary exhibits are mounted six or seven times per year. Idemitsu Museum of Arts is situated right next to the Imperial Theatre.
The museum is located at the Teigeki Building 9F, 3-1-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku. Hours are 10am–5pm, Tuesdays to Sundays. It closes at 7pm on Fridays.
Idemitsu Museum of Arts | CLF
Lonely Planet Japan, 12th Edition
Tokyo Things to Do