Stay for the Ads - Ad Museum Tokyo

The only ad you CAN'T skip!

By Nicole Lee    - 4 min read

If you are in Tokyo, you already know, you cannot avoid advertisement; they are absolutely everywhere you look! For some people, it might be a bit overwhelming or even annoying.

But what if I told you, there a place......in Tokyo.....

That is.....

ABSOLUTELY 100% filled with ads!

Interior of Ad Museum Tokyo
Interior of Ad Museum Tokyo
interior of the museum
interior of the museum

This is Ad Museum Tokyo. It is the one and only museum in Japan that is dedicated to advertisements and marketing.

I found this place while walking around, through this poster, one day at Yoyogi station:

How I found out about this museum
How I found out about this museum

I am very glad that I decided to go because this place absolutely changed the way I look at advertisements!

The museum is not only an archive of numerous excellent and classic advertisements from Japan and all across the world, but it also introduces its visitors to the history of advertising and marketing in Japan, dating back to the Edo period.

A beautiful ad from the Showa period
A beautiful ad from the Showa period

If you don't know Japanese, fear not! The exhibition and collection in the museum are displayed in both English and Japanese!

If you don't really enjoy reading long bits of text, also fear not! Much of the content in the museum is also displayed in video or animation format on interactive monitors.

The museum allows its visitor to look at advertisement after advertisement, not only as a mean to promote, but as a piece of design, historical artifact, or perhaps even art. If you strip away the agenda of any advertisement, it's actually a piece of media which can be motiving, entertaining, inspiring, or thought-provoking with a lot of efforts ideas, concepts and thought put into the making of it, and there's also a lot to learn from them. The possibility of ads is endless.

So next time when again you find yourself annoyed by the overwhelming amount of ads at your local train station, try not to see them as ads, but as pieces of design.

Favourite quote from the museum
Favourite quote from the museum

Oh, by the way, from now until the 16th of March, there will be a special exhibition in the museum: The One Show, displaying award-winning media designs and advertisements from all across the world. Spanning product design, the printed ad, digital projects, televised ads, short film, and more.

Special exhibition - One Show
Special exhibition - One Show

This is one of my many favorite pieces in the exhibition of texting and driving PSA! I found it very amusing! In the age of digital media, who says printed ads can't still be interesting!!

Cowboy ad
Cowboy ad

I did not take lots of photos like I usually do, but, if you are going there I highly recommend that you make sure you have enough memory on your phone or camera, because the design of the museum and the library itself is very stylish and modern, so it makes for a great location for some cool Instagram pictures!

Speaking of Instagram-able photo spots, while you're at Shiodome, be sure to also check out The Ghibli Clock designed by Hayao Miyazaki!!! You can also see the Tokyo Tower from there. It is only a 3-minute walk from Ad Museum Tokyo. Also, make sure to be there at the right time to catch the moving clock performance! (the schedule might be subject to change, so be sure to check before you go!)

Ghibli Clock
Ghibli Clock
Schedule for the Ghibli Clock showcase
Schedule for the Ghibli Clock showcase

Getting there

Ad Museum Tokyo is only a 3-minute walk from Shiodome Station or 7 minutes from Shimbashi Station. It is located inside Caretta Shiodome, a shopping mall, B1 (library) and B2 (entrance/main floor) floor.

For the Ghibli clock, it's located at the Nittele Tower (headquarters of Nippon Television), just beside Shiodome Station on the Yurikamome Line.

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Nicole Lee

Nicole Lee @tinlong.lee

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Kim B 7 months ago
I know a few people who are in Japan as marketing students right now - I'll have to tell them about this place!