A Cathedral to Progress: Miraikan A Cathedral to Progress: Miraikan

Miraikan - National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation


2018.08.07

NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR

A Cathedral to Progress: Miraikan

The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, or perhaps better known by its Japanese name, Miraikan (literally, “future museum”), opened in 2001 in a stunning building on Odaiba with the goal of connecting the public with cutting-edge research in science. The facility welcomes visitors to its permanent exhibits and temporary installations, but also houses research laboratories doing the actual work of pushing the technological envelope.

  • A Cathedral to Progress: Miraikan

    A Cathedral to Progress: Miraikan

    Floating in the Symbol Zone, the Geo-Cosmos greets visitors: its 10,362 OLED panels, fed with real-time data, combine to provide those in the hall with a chance to view our planet as it would look from space. The Geo-Cosmos is the showpiece of the Miraikan and makes concrete the idea of presenting the latest science and technology to laypeople.

    A Cathedral to Progress: Miraikan

    A Cathedral to Progress: Miraikan

    For some, the next stop will be the Personal Mobility UNI-CUB Station, a permanent collaboration with Honda, showcasing their personal transporter. The unit looks unassuming but is loaded with cutting edge tech harvested from the company’s AI and robotics projects. The UNI-CUB units are also available for a guided tour (700 yen, available in English or Japanese), which will whiz you through the Miraikan, showcasing the highlights.

    A Cathedral to Progress: Miraikan

    A Cathedral to Progress: Miraikan

    The Miraikan has three permanent exhibitions, "Explore the Frontiers," "Create Your Future," and "Discover the Earth" which house a number of installations. "Explore the Frontiers" focuses on physics and space and includes a model of the International Space Station and a mock Super-Kamiokande, the neutro observation facility in Gifu Prefecture. Also, in addition to the permanent exhibitions, there are special installations, which have included meditations on the end of the world ("The End of the World - 73 Questions We Must Answer" in 2012) and pop culture tie-ins ("Pokémon Lab: You do it! You discover!" in 2015). Check the schedule before going, as there are often special scientific workshops taking place, too.

    A Cathedral to Progress: Miraikan

    A Cathedral to Progress: Miraikan

    Honda’s ASIMO is—in robot years, at least—getting a bit long in the tooth, having recently celebrated its 18th birthday, but the android still impresses. Although Honda recently announced the end of the project, the news has not affected ASIMO, whose final residency at the Miraikan is not to be missed. ASIMO’s tech pops up throughout the Miraikan (including in the UNI-CUB units) and plush versions are available in the gift shop.

    A Cathedral to Progress: Miraikan

    A Cathedral to Progress: Miraikan

    Like the genetic code of Genghis Khan and the Borjigin, the advances made in the ASIMO program appear in nearly every humanoid robot that came after it. As part of the permanent "Create Your Future" exhibition's "Android: What is Human" installation, a coterie of the androids that followed in ASIMO’s awkward footsteps showcase bleeding-edge robotic tech.

    A Cathedral to Progress: Miraikan

    A Cathedral to Progress: Miraikan

    Admission tops out at a reasonable 620 yen for adults: an annual passport is available, as well, which pays for itself after a couple visits. Certain activities, like the Dome Theater, UNI-CUB, and some special exhibitions can charge an additional fee but Miraikan remains an affordable option in the city, befitting the project’s goal of bringing science and technology to the public.

    National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan)
    rating

    4.0

    1076 Reviews
    place
    Tokyo Koutou-ku Aomi 2-3-6
    phone
    0335709151
    opening-hour
    10:00-17:00 (Admission ticke…
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