On July 9, Miraikan in Odaiba celebrated its anniversary and the admission ticket was free, so we decided to go and check the museum.

Odaiba is famous for being a sort of entertainment island, so you probably wouldn’t imagine anything else but malls, parks for recreational activities and so on on the island, yet Odaiba is full of things to do. And they’re generally family friendly too.

The Miraikan is the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation and hosts both permanent and temporary displays, and it’s particularly aimed at getting children to know how science works. The ticket for the permanent exhibition is around 600 yen, however there are days throughout the year when it opens for free to all or some age groups.

Geo-Cosmos and Geo-Prism

In between the two permanent exhibitions floor is the Geo-Cosmos, a globe made with LED lights to simulate what’s happening to Earth in terms of climate. You can see weather changes, clouds moving as if you were looking at our planet. And the best thing is that those images are real, and come from satellites’ pics and video every day.

At spots around the Oval bridge between the third and fifth floor are panels where you can check different states of the Earth using augmented reality (AR) technology.

Backward from the Future

To us, the time at Miraikan was funny and enjoyable, but also a moment to deeply think about our Earth and its future. As you enter the Backward from the Future display, you need to stamp a sort of postcard with one of the choices you’re given, among sustainable issues. Then, you’re into the game. You have to insert data from your postcard into the game system and draw the path that you think will make your postcard arrive successfully 50 years in the future. Of course the path is disseminate with positives and negatives – the more positive things your postcard will pass through, the more chances it’ll have to arrive at destination. Otherwise, your message to the future won’t be delivered. Once you’ve followed your postcard, you can visualise the Earth of the future and get insights on what we can do now to try and leave a ‘healthy’ Earth to the future generations.

Songs of ANAGURA

This exhibition is about spatial technology and the use (bad or good) that we can make of it. The point is that technologies like position tracking can be used for good and help you, but if you misuse them or if they end up in the wrong hands, then it’ll be a huge problem. It’s the story of a catastrophic event and of the five researchers who tried their best to prevent (or at least develop ways to mitigate) the worst by creating five different devices. Then, 1000 years passed and the devices are still on, forgotten, but there to teach you some important lessons (full story of Anagura is here). The whole exhibition is interactive and you’ll share experiences with others (like music or songs being played), although you can do it anonymously.

A Hands-On Model of the Internet

This is the spot where you can visualise what happens to a message you sent through the internet. White and black balls are used to simulate how information moves around the network before reaching destination.

Space and Disasters

Walking to the fifth floor on the Oval bridge, the first thing you’ll see are pictures of astronauts (some with signature) and a model of the ISS you can enter into. You’ll also find JAXA’s launchers’s reproductions.

There are also exhibitions about life sciences, particle accelerators and how curiosity for scientific discoveries has shaped the way we think about the world.

A whole area is about disasters: what we can do to mitigate their effects, why they happen and how we can survive. There’s also a timer that counts how much has passed since the last earthquake, and reproductions of seismographers.

How to arrive

Closest stations are Tokyo International Cruise Terminal Station or Telecom Center Station on the Yurikamome. Miraikan is also within walking distance from Odaiba most famous attractions.