Generally off most people's radars, Akishima City reveals Tokyo's penchant for turning out surprises. A fascinating look at both Japanese and European furniture, home to the only find of an ancient oceangoing giant whale and a world renowned marble sculptor means that the city is well worth a visit. Here is an introduction to the museums and galleries of Akishima and how to reach them.

Akishima Ensis Museum

The little location that is Akishima Ensis Museum is an education centre with a local heritage exhibition space. Its extraordinary claim to fame is the giant life-sized replica fossil of the Akishima whale displayed inside. The only known specimen known to humankind, the whale fossil was discovered accidentally by a father and son out for a walk in 1961. The whale is an amazing reminder of the ocean geography that once dominated this area millions of years ago.

An 8-minute walk from either Akishima or Nakagami stations on the JR Ome Line.

Junkyu Muto Sculpture Museum

With works created by artist Junkyu Muto, the Junkyu Muto Sculpture Museum is an incredible fusion of nature and human artistry. Scores of Muto's sculptures have achieved permanent installation in many places around the world, including Vatican City, and the sense of peace his creations encourage harmonise well with the natural surroundings here. What's more, this extraordinary location boasts free admission making it a must-visit location in the city.

A 7-minute walk from Akishima Station on the JR Ome Line.

Kaguno Museum

A time slip of interior design, the Kaguno Museum is one of Tokyo's more elegantly curious museums. Exhibiting both Japanese and European furniture from the early 20th century, the museum's collection is home to over 1800 items with about ten percent on display at any one time. The museum's hands-on corner allows visitors the chance to learn more about what is involved in creating furniture while the budget-friendly admission fee of only JPY200 makes any visit an easy one.

A 5-minute walk from the North Exit of Nakagami Station on the JR Ome Line.