Opened in June 2020, the Minato Science Museum is a hands-on learning facility based on the concept of "discovery and exploration of science that lives in the city. In addition to the permanent exhibition and planetarium, a wide variety of special exhibitions are held four times a year, and one of the attractions of the museum is the spring 2023 special exhibition "Big Book of Living Things: Let's Know, Let's Protect, First Step" held from March 15 to May 7. We visited the exhibition, which has many highlights, including paper craft models of animals and a hands-on exhibit where visitors can experience the height and weight of animals!
Characteristics of animals that can be seen by comparing their backs, weights, and palms.
Minato City Minato Science Museum is a 4-5 minute walk from Kamiyacho Station or Toranomon Hills Station. The entrance is located on the first floor of the joint building of the Japan Meteorological Agency and the Minato City Education Center, surrounded by greenery. Admission is free, and only the planetarium on the second floor requires a viewing fee.
The "Big Book of Wildlife" panel on the front invites you inside, where you are first greeted by "illustrations" of the animals. The giraffes, elephants, pandas, and polar bears are all life-size, and you can take pictures of them while comparing their backs. You can take pictures of the animals while comparing their statures. Giraffes are big after all. ......
Based on the concept of "If animals jumped out of picture books (......)," this special exhibition introduces a variety of animals from a perspective unique to the Minato Science Museum. Following the "back to back" contest, there is a "palm to palm" contest. Visitors can compare their own hands on the panel with the palms of the animals. Since you cannot usually see this part of the hand, you will be amazed to see what it looks like.
Then, we went to the weight comparison corner. In addition to an exhibit comparing one's own weight to that of an animal, there was also a quiz-style exhibit in which visitors could try lifting buckets of different weights and guess which animal weighed the same. The bucket lids were opened to reveal the correct animal. The correct answers were six different animals: meerkat, koala, nodding chubby sloth, Boreas toad, coconut-tailed armadillo, and Javan marmotid deer. This is a difficult question!
These comparison sections are one of the main attractions of the exhibition. By comparing the backs, weights, palms, etc. of yourself and the animals, and learning about the characteristics of each animal, you will feel closer to the animals.
It's like visiting a zoo! Take a closer look at the realistic paper crafts!
Then, we moved on to the paper craft models, another highlight of the exhibition. Paper craft models of rare and endangered animals such as Asian elephants, Sumatran tigers, and polar bears are displayed with explanatory panels. It is truly a zoo of paper crafts! The animals are made by paper craft artist Kei Gotoh, and the realism of their modeling is astonishing!
The paper craft models of the animals, which Goto actually visited the zoo and reproduced in great detail, can be observed from anywhere in 360 degrees, a feature that is only possible with paper craft models. There is also a quiz about each animal, so parents, children, and friends can have fun together. Why do these somewhat charming loons always stay still? For the answer, please visit the Minato Science Museum!
Other familiar and popular animals include giraffes, gorillas, and giant pandas. One of the goals of the zoo is to have visitors visit a real zoo by getting to know the animals through the paper craft models. Indeed, it might make you want to go to the zoo.
At the "Moving Paper Crafts" corner, which is open every day during the exhibition, visitors can make paper animals that move when placed on a slope. The process takes about 15 minutes, and 5-6 people can participate at one time. Under the guidance of the staff, let the animals you made race against each other!
In the planetarium on the second floor, in addition to regular programs, a special program "Ikimono Gatari" is now being shown in conjunction with the special exhibition. How did creatures on the earth evolve and increase in number? The program will explore the diversity of living creatures from the perspective of space. Also noteworthy is the live commentary by a commentator before the screening of the program, including a starry sky commentary on the day of the program.
Other features of the exhibition include an AR experience where visitors can take AR photos with various animals, and a participatory message corner where visitors can post messages and ideas for the future that they have written. Various events such as lectures and workshops are also held, and many children, from preschoolers to elementary and junior high school students, visit the Minato Science Museum during the exhibition period.
Permanent exhibition of hands-on participatory exhibits divided into four themes
Of course, if you have come all the way to the Minato Science Museum, you should not miss the permanent exhibition. Just below the planetarium is the area for the hands-on, interactive permanent exhibition. At the entrance, there is an autograph of former astronaut Mamoru Mohri, who visited the science museum at its opening.
At the center of the site is the "Minato-Quest Map," a large screen that imitates the topography of Minato-ku. There is a digital map mode that allows users to browse information on each spot in Minato Ward, and a research mode that guides users through scientific information on Minato Ward, allowing them to learn about Minato Ward as they play.
The permanent exhibition, where visitors can explore "science" in Minato Ward, is divided into four themes: "Nature," "Town," "Ocean," and "I." There are many hands-on exhibits that make full use of high-tech, such as a water flow simulator and a reflex test. Let's forget about the time and have fun!
The Minato City Minato Science Museum offers a wide range of special exhibitions, permanent exhibits, and a planetarium for children and adults to enjoy. Please check the official website below for more detailed information, including opening hours, how to access the museum, and planetarium admission fees. Why not visit the Minato Science Museum this Golden Week with your family and friends?