- 2 min read

Tokyo's Strangest Museum

Move over Robot Cafe, this is Tokyo's weirdest site

Tokyo is known for being the global leader in everything weird; robot cabarets, cosplay and bunny cafes are among the long line of weird attractions that serve to bewilder all those who cross their path. However, perhaps the most grotesque, distinctive and down right strange site Tokyo has to offer is the Meguro Parasite Museum. Yes. You read that correctly, this is the world's only museum completely dedicated to parasites.

Established in 1953 from the funds of a doctor who was passionate about raising parasitical awareness, the museum exhibits around 300 specimens and related material. The museum is admission free, however donations are appreciated and go a long way to supporting a Tokyo icon that relies purely on private funding.

From the outside the museum looks unremarkable, set on the bottom two floors of an apartment building in suburban Tokyo. However inside is a world away from any normal apartment block. The walls and floors are whitewashed in the way of a science laboratory, whilst over 300 parasites are preserved in capsuled formalin.

The bottom floor is relatively tame, maybe they deliberately save the best until last or maybe they let visitors warm up a little bit before unleashing their most repulsive exhibits. Either way, the bottom floor serves primarily to educate those about the hideous infections that one can contract unknowingly.

The second floor is home to the museums crowning jewel, an 8.8m tapeworm that was extracted from the body of a 40 year old Yokohama man. The museum even supplies an 8.8m piece of rope so one can fully appreciate the unfurled size of this monster. There are several other interactive exhibits in which people are permitted to peer into the parasitic world with the aid of microscopes and magnifying glasses.

Although the signage is nearly exclusively in Japanese, it shouldn’t be a turn-off for those not proficient in the language; seeing a giant parasite burst through a turtle's head is universally repulsive.

Located a 15 minute walk from JR Meguro Station, the museum isn't enormous and most of the content can be covered in less than an hour. A gift shop operates on the second floor selling all kinds of souvenirs whilst lockers are available to rent on the bottom floor from ¥100.

How to get there

From Shibuya- JR Yamanote Line for Shinagawa --> Meguro Station 5 minutes ¥160

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