Tokyo museums are found just about everywhere throughout the city as are shrines and temples, many of which are museums themselves or house museums. The GRUTT Pass provides one of the most economical ways to visit as many of these institutions as possible within a period of two months. Even if you are only visiting for a few days, it can be cost effective if you plan to pack in a few museum visits.
You can only purchase a GRUTT Pass between April 1 and January 31. It is then good for unlimited free visits to the nearly 70 participating institutions for a period of two months after you first use it. It is not only Tokyo museums that participate in the GRUTT Pass program, but also the city’s zoos and aquarium. The pass allows you entry into the prestigious Mori Art Museum, the city’s highest museum located on the 53rd floor of gleaming Roppongi Hills Tower. Entry into this museum also provides you access to Tokyo City View, one of the several observatories in the city and from where you can enjoy heart stopping panoramic views of the city and Tokyo Bay from more than 820 feet above.
You can fill a few days enjoying the museums and attractions in beautiful Ueno Park. Here is the Tokyo National Museum—the oldest (dating to 1872) in Japan. More than 100,000 treasures can be viewed in this venerable institution. Its Japanese Gallery (Honkan) showcases the broad spectrum of Japanese art over the centuries dating as far back as 10,000 before the Christian Era. Included in this exhibit hall, which is a designated national Cultural Property, are Buddhist and Shinto sacred art, sculpture, pottery and ceramics, and calligraphy. You can learn about the ancient Art of the Tea Ceremony and see exquisite lacquer work. There are examples of the elaborate makeup and clothing worn by Noh (ancient classical music drama) and Kabuki (ancient classical dance drama) performers. If you’re on a family vacation with children, they will be especially fascinated by the clothing and military armor, including their legendary katana swords of samurai warriors. Other Tokyo National Museum galleries include the Toyokan (Asia) Gallery, with arts and artifacts from China and Korea, India and Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Egypt, and Greece.
In addition to the Tokyo National Museum, the country’s largest museum, Ueno Park is home to the National Museum of Western Art, the National Museum of Nature and Science, the Ueno Zoo, and more than 1,000 cherry trees that make this a prime destination for viewing the cherry blossoms during the months of March and April.
There are numerous other Tokyo museums to enjoy. Around the Imperial Palace area, there is the National Museum of Modern Art as well as several other art and crafts museums. In Odaiba, you can visit the Museum of Maritime Science and the Odaiba Marine Park. In fact, you will find that every district and every ward in the city boasts at least one notable museum. If you venture as far as Yokohama, you can enjoy the Silk Museum, chronicling this port’s prominence in the silk trade beginning with the landing of Commodore Perry in 1853. This year is important in the country’s history, as it marked the end of Japan’s self-enforced isolation and opened the country to Western influence and the modern era.