June is the rainy season in Tokyo, but also the season of beautiful Ajisai (hydrangea flowers).
Spend a rainy day in Ueno Park where you can enjoy the flowers on the way to some of the best museums in Tokyo. Or visit Ueno Zoo and have fun shopping for panda goods. Many shops in Ueno have cute panda-themed items. Maybe the sweetest items are panda cakes and cookies.
Tokyo National Museum
Visit this large museum for an introduction to Japan through art and archeological artifacts. On any day there are thousands of items on display from the permanent collection. The upcoming special exhibition is “JOMON: 10,000 Years of Prehistoric Art in Japan” (July 3 to September 2, 2018).
National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo
This is one of the largest comprehensive science museums in the country and a great place to visit with children. In the Japan Gallery here you can learn about the nature of Japan. (Please note that the museum will be closed for maintenance work June 25-29, 2018.) http://www.kahaku.go.jp
This is the oldest zoo in the country. Besides animals from all over the world you can also see a lot of Japanese animals. But the star of Ueno Zoo is giant panda baby Xian Xian, who just turned 1 this month. You can see the panda cub and also its parents Shin Shin and Ri Ri.
This small museum is located next to Shinobazu Pond. Inside you can get a glimpse at daily life in old Tokyo. A street shows what working people’s houses and shops looked like in the Edo Period, more than 150 years ago. Get a feel of what people liked back then, including old toys that children used to play with when Tokyo was called Edo.
National Museum of Western Art
The building itself is UNESCO World Heritage as one of the sites of “The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement”. Outside the entrance are sculptures by Rodin. The current special exhibition “Michelangelo and the Ideal Body” will be open until September 24, 2018. https://www.nmwa.go.jp/
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum
This museum hosts many special exhibitions. This month you can see “Masterpieces of French Landscape Paintings from the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow” (open until July 8, 2018) and the “Group Show of Contemporary Artists 2018” (open until July 1, 2018). http://www.tobikan.jp
Ueno Royal Museum
This museum also hosts changing exhibitions. Now you can see “The Miracle of M.C. Escher: Prints from The Israel Museum, Jerusalem” (open until July 29, 2018). http://www.ueno-mori.org
Have fun and don’t let the rainy weather stop you.