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Museums Off the Beaten Path

Japan is home to a number of world-class museums listed in every guide book. But the country’s less-known facilities, dedicated to everything from the horseshoe crab to traditional Japanese toys, noodles, robots, and even parasites, are also well worth a visit. These articles, exploring some of Japan’s more obscure and unusual museums, are for both Japan-based readers and anyone planning a trip to Japan!

Giants Roam Fukui at Prefectural Dinosaur MuseumJulian Ryall

Fukui Prefecture, on the Japan Sea coast, is home to Japan’s leading museum focused on dinosaurs. Some 80% of the dinosaur fossils discovered in Japan come from Fukui, and this prefectural facility has attracted national—and even global—attention since opening in 2000. With millions of satisfied visitors to date, the museum offers a full day’s worth of fun to dino-loving kids and adults alike.

A North Korean Spy Ship in Yokohama: The Japan Coast Guard MuseumJulian Ryall

The Japan Coast Guard museum displays the day-to-day operations of the JCG, although the incident it was opened to showcase—the sinking of a North Korean espionage boat—resembles a spy thriller more than real life.

Money Through the Ages: A Walk Through Japan’s Currency MuseumJulian Ryall

Money—always a popular subject—is front and center at the Currency Museum, a Bank of Japan facility located near Tokyo Station. Here historically important currency samples from Japan and across East Asia are on display, along with every paper note ever issued by the Bank of Japan. Get your hands on some money with this museum’s interactive displays!

Parasites on Parade: A Tokyo Museum Showcases Our Repulsive CompanionsJulian Ryall

The Meguro Parasitological Museum is a Tokyo institution focused on the science of parasites. It’s the place to go to learn about tiny skin-dwelling organisms, 9-meter tapeworms, and everything in between.

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