Miraikan: A Place of Learning and Innovation

The Importance of Science and Technology for the Japanese

Japan has been known throughout the world as pioneers of technology and innovation. However, in the last few decades, the younger generation of Japanese had started losing their interest towards science and technology. They have noticed, that statistically, research in Japan has severely declined. This could be affected by a variety of factors like financial support, material availability, resource affordability, and much more.

The Japanese government had realized the value of science and technology not only to the daily lives of people but also for their economy. This is why the Japanese government does what it can to encourage their youth to regain their love and interest for Science and Technology.

By Morio (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

Among the topics and industries that the Japanese government currently focuses on would be electronics, robotics, and automotive. They encourage young children to be interested in exploring not only the earth but also outside of it – creating reachable opportunities for seemingly ambitious roles like being an engineer, an astronaut, a doctor, and the like. On top of this, they also focus on certain sensitive topics like nuclear power which the country had been using since the 70s. They also started to dive into certain topics like biomedical research, usage of live organisms to treat existing diseases and ailments.

It is one of the projects of Prime Minister Abe to adopt what is called as the Science and Technology Basic Plan. This plan adds more budget to research facilities to boost up the research competence of institution in Japan and regain their place in the world standings. They also push for innovation and they actively involve the younger generation in innovation development activities.

Based on this plan, the status of science and technology in Japan is expected to improve in the next five years. This will then create a positive effect on the economy and, hopefully, policy-making in the future. There is also hope that the younger generation will be more involved in turning small ideas into bright innovations.

Miraikan Japan Guide

What is the Miraikan?

The Miraikan is known for its many names. Its official English name is the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation. Its official Japanese name is Nippon Kagaku Mirai-kan, or in short, it is known as the “Future Museum” or the “hall of the future”. This museum was established in 2001 by the Science and Technology Agency. The main purpose of this museum is to help the Japanese citizens get in touch with the developments in Science and Technology.

It is a family-friendly space that allows young children to be exposed to the wonders of science. It allows their young minds to understand the value of innovation to everyday life. It is through this that young children, together with their families, learn their importance in upholding the significance of science and technology.

There are four different themes in the Miraikan. These include the Life Science and Humans as the first theme, the Global Environment, and Frontiers as the second, Information Sciences and Technologies for Society as the third and Technology Innovations and the Future and the fourth. There are a variety of exhibits that feature all of these themes respectively creating a number of attractions inside the museum.

The museum boasts of demonstrations, interactive exhibits, and simulations which will help an individual use all his senses in learning and understanding new information. There are permanent exhibitions available inside the museum. There are also a number of rotating exhibits that vary the displays depending on the month’s topics, known as the Special Exhibition Zone.

What to do inside Miraikan?

The Miraikan building has a total of three main floors which are located in the 5th, 3rd, and 1st floors.

The First Floor

The first floor is known for the Geo-Cosmos exhibit. This is a gigantic display of a high-resolution globe that shows almost real-time presentations of different global data like temperature, weather patterns, and the like. This is a permanent exhibition that was built in 2010 but was significantly damaged by the Great Tohoku Earthquake in 2011. The good thing is that it was rebuilt in June of 2011 to continue serving visitors from all over the world.

The first floor also has what is called as the Special Exhibition Zone which contains varying exhibits on a regular basis. One of the most popular was ‘The World of Manga Experience Through Science’ in 2012. Another popular exhibit was the ‘Toilet– Human Waste & Earth’s Future’ in 2014. All of the exhibits in the Miraikan are valuable to everyday life. It gives a more detailed view of the daily experiences that normal individuals have and its impact on a larger scale. There is also a museum shop on this flor which is a place that sells souvenirs and books.

By Jason Ruck (I took this myself) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Third Floor

This floor contains what is known as the Geo-Palette which shows a new perspective on the earth’s map projection. This is known as the authagraph – a tool that translates 3-dimensional data into a 2-dimensional rectangle in the correct scale. What people don’t know is that the map representation of the globe is ABSOLUTELY WRONG and the Autha graph is the nearest translation there exists.

Other than this, there are art exhibits on this floor. This is where the Asimo robot demonstration can be found – an exhibit that teaches children about robots and the internet. There is also a lab in this floor where young visitors can create their own experiments and hands-on experiences.

The Fifth Floor

This floor contains more large-scale permanent exhibits. There is an exhibit that shows a scale model of the International Space Station giving young kids an insight of what it feels like to be an astronaut. There are also scale models of shuttles as well.  There is also a Lab section on this floor that gives exhibits on the Universe, the Earth, the Ocean and more. It teaches children how rainbows are created, the water cycle, and much more topics. It also teaches children about the latest news in technology and innovation. There are also exhibits showing the human body and the latest researches in the medical field.

Where is the Miraikan?

The Miraikan is located in Koto-Ku, Tokyo. It is a large building located in the Odaiba district of Tokyo. What is interesting about this place is that it is open everyone. The demonstrations are not only for young children but for adults as well. There is always something new to learn and experience and the Miraikan makes sure of that.

By 江戸村のとくぞう (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

On top of that, they have understood that the language barrier is a common issue and have decided to provide a new multilingual smartphone app that offers a tour of the entire museum in varied languages. This provides a translation for displays and labels.

Access to Miraikan

There are different ways to reach Miraikan but the best and easiest would be through the Yurikamome line or the Rinkai Line. When traveling through the Yurikamome line, it is best to go down at the Fune-no Kagakukan station or Telecom Center station. From this place, it takes a few minutes by walking to Miraikan. On the other hand, when going to the museum through the Rinkai line, it might be best to go down at the Telecom Center station and walk from there. Both lines are driverless and fully-automated transport service that takes individuals to different stations around the Metropolitan. For instance, people traveling from Shinjuku can take the metropolitan trains then travel about 20 minutes to Odaiba before reaching Miraikan.

Admission and fees to Miraikan

Entry to the Miraikan usually costs 620 yen for adult and 210 yen for student. During the weekends, entry to the museum is free for student. On the other hand, a separate charge of 300 yen is required for special exhibits and the Dome Theater.

The museum is also open throughout the year, even on National Holidays. However, they are closed on Tuesdays for maintenance works on the exhibits. The museum is also opened between 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Main Highlights of the Miraikan

Asimo Japan Miraikan

This robot, named ASIMO, is a humanoid robot which was developed by Honda in 2000. Its name is derived from the words ‘Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility’. This particular robot was developed with the goal of creating a walking robot. It has a height of 4 ft and weights roughly 54 kilograms. What is special about ASIMO is the fact that it can recognize movements in the surroundings, sounds, and even faces. It also has the ability to determine distance and direction, allowing it to balance itself while in motion.

Since it has the ability to recognize the sound, it also has the ability to face the direction of the sound. It can also respond by nodding and even providing verbal answers. There is a demonstration held in the Miraikan four times every day to show all the mobility capabilities of the robot.

Curiosity Field

This is an activity area in the Miraikan that allows young children to be hands-on in exploring the different concept. What is special about this is that it is free of charge. Through playing, young children can learn different ideas about physics. This is a good place to share ideas with family, meet new friends, and simply explore.  

Personal Mobility UNI-CUB simulations

Another mobility robot idea by Honda, the UNI-CUB is another transport idea that impresses and piques the interest of many people all over the world. The UNI-CUB is a personal transporter with a driving wheel and a trailing wheel. Many reviews indicate that this will be a new marvel in personal transport, people can use this indoors as long as they are barrier-free. For instance, a person can save time when traveling long distances inside the office and can simply move from one place to another in just minutes.

The good thing about this is that it is ergonomically designed to fit any height and weight. It is also designed to be portable by weighing only about 25 kilograms. It runs on lithium-ion batteries and travels at a speed of 6 kilometers per hour.

By Vanillase (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Do’s and Don’ts inside the Miraikan Science Museum in Japan


Most museums are not open late into the night and are usually just open until late in the afternoon. Because the museum is quite large for a single day trip, going for a visit early will save a lot of time. Also, this is to avoid the surge of visitors who prefer going out of their homes late in the afternoon. It is important to remember that there might be more people indoors during winter than when going to the museum during the months of April and May.

It is also helpful to ask the hotel or accommodation if there are complimentary tours or discounts available for Miraikan. Perhaps they can provide a shuttle or service to create ease in traveling around the city. It is also always more enjoyable to travel to museums with friends or a companion. This is to make the experience more fun. This also encourages conversation and an exchange of knowledge and information. It is best to take time when going to the museum.


Even if most of the displays are interactive, it is still best to stay in composure and avoid creating too much noise when going around the museum. Since it is a place for learning, it would be best to avoid creating distractions for other guests. On top of this, it is best to avoid eating snacks and taking in drinks inside the museums. This may do damage to some of the displays and exhibits. On top of that, it makes traveling to the museum quite bulky as well. It is easier to travel light since the museum is quite large. It is also important to remember to avoid going to the museum hungry because there might not be any restaurants or cafes inside.