Let me tell you about a fascinating museum I had the good fortune to stumble across in Tokyo the other week. Intermediatheque is a natural history museum nestled out of sight on 2F and 3F of Kitte Marunouchi, the Japan Post Building.
Home to the natural artifacts amassed by The University of Tokyo since its foundation in 1877, the museum is the perfect place to lose yourself for a quiet afternoon. Intermediatheque is arranged in a gallery-style, with the high ceilings and open space providing the perfect backdrop to its colourful collection.
When I was little, I remember the fascination with which I explored the Natural History Museum in London. Intermediatheque has a similar atmosphere. There are exhibits covering biology, marine sciences, geology and anthropology, to name a few. There are cases of iridescent beetles, cabinets containing minerals from all over the world, tropical leaves dried and framed for posterity, and lots and lots of skeletons.
There are large animals like wales and giraffes, down to tiny creatures like mice and bats. The cases the artifacts are displayed in were the actual cases used when the items were being researched, and the museum has the air of an old-fashioned study. There are even deep chairs and down-at-heel sofas to sink into in certain rooms.
I suppose the museum could be seen as a little macabre, but there was a time when collecting skeletons and “natural specimens” was an important part of research, and I feel it is better to display the relics of this time, than to dispose of them.
The museum is only a one minute walk from the Marunouchi South Exit of Tokyo Station. The Kitte building is also very striking – the former head office of Tokyo Central Post Office, with a white edifice dating from 1931. Check it out if you find yourself near Tokyo Station with time to kill!
Open 11:00 – 18:00
(Open until 20:00 on Fridays and Saturdays)
Closed on Mondays (if Monday is a National Holiday, the museum is closed the following Tuesday) and year-end holidays. May close irregularly according to their website.
Admission: Free of charge