Continuing on with the theme of unique museums, here are some quite interesting, and even unexpected, museums in Japan.
1. Sendai Kaleidoscope Art Museum, Miyagi
The art of the kaleidoscope is relatively young having been invented a Scottish physicist in 1916 but are a popular souvenir in Japan with small ones often wrapped in Japanese silk. This museum exhibits unusual kaleidoscopes, holds master classes, and offers kaleidoscopes and related items at their souvenir shop.
Open 930-530pm daily. Admission is JPY900.
Located in the Akiu Onsen area, the museum can be reached by bus in 50 minutes from Sendai Station.
2. Kyotomangekyo Museum, Kyoto
Another museum dedicated to kaleidoscopes is the Kyoto Mangekyo with its collection of 250 unique kaleidoscopes created by Japanese and overseas craftspeople with 50 on display at a time.
Open 10-6pm, closed on Tuesday. Admission is JPY500 .
A 3-minute walk from Exit 3-1 & 3-2 of Karasuma Oike Station on the Subway Karasuma Line.
3. Matsunaga Footwear Museum, Hiroshima
The Matsunaga Shoe Museum has a large collection of traditional Japanese shoes, old European shoes and even sports shoes belonging to famous athletes. In total, there are about 13,000 pairs in the museum's collection! In addition to shoes, one section of the museum is dedicated to a folk toys. In particular, a rich collection of Kachina Indian dolls depicting deities is on display.
Open Friday-Sunday and public holidays from 10-4pm. Admission is JPY300.
Next to Matsunaga Station on the JR Sanyo Line.
4. Fukuyama Auto & Clock Museum, Hiroshima
This curiously collected museum exhibits antique clocks as well as cars, buses, motorcycles and other means of transport. The museum also features the first television receivers.
Open 9-6pm daily. Admission is JPY300-900.
A 12-minute walk from Fukuyama Station on the JR Sanyo Line.
5. Omiya Bonsai Art Museum, Saitama
The art of growing miniature trees, called 'bonsai', which came from China, has gained great popularity in Japan since the 7th century. The museum exhibits magnificent examples of this art.
Open 930-430pm (between Nov-Feb until 4pm), closed Thursday. Admission is JPY310.
A 5-minute walk from the East Exit of Toro Station on the JR Utsonomiya Line.
6. Museum of Stone Faces, Saitama
This unique museum contains an amazing 1700 or so stones and rock formations with many of them featuring faces with a variety of expressions.
Open 10-5pm, closed Tuesday. Admission is JPY400.
A 13-minute walk from Kagemori Station on the Chichibu Main Line.
7. Ooarai Marlin Museum, Ibaraki
Marlin is a type of large long-nosed fish with a taste similar to tuna and often used to prepare cold snacks. In the Marlin Museum you can get acquainted with its species and fishing equipment. There is a restaurant at the museum, although not all the dishes on offer are from this fish.
Open 10-6pm, closed Wednesday and Thursday.
A 7-minute walk from Ooarai Station on the (Kashima Rinkai RailLine.
8. National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka
The museum represents the cultures of the whole world. In its voluminous collection there are costumes of the peoples of the world, folk objects, masks and so on.
Open 10-5pm, closed Wednesday. Admission is JPY580.
A 12-minute walk from Bampakukinen-koen Station on the Osaka Monorail Line.
9. Ome Kimono Museum, Tokyo
In this museum you can see a collection of five hundred ancient kimonos. Next to the museum there is a park with 25,000 plum trees that make for a magnificent view during the blooming season!
Open 10-4pm, Fri-Sun. Admission is JPY800. Closed from December to February.
A 15-minute walk from Hinatawada Station on the JR Ome Line.
10. Hamamatsu City Museum of Musical Instruments, Shizuoka
This unique museum displays ancient and modern musical instruments from all over the world.
Open 930-5pm, closed Wednesday. Admission is JPY400.
A 10-minute walk from Hamamatsu Station on the Tokaido Main Line.