‘Take me somewhere really Tokyo-esque that I wouldn’t go to on my own,’ I said to my friend Jonelle who lives in Tokyo on my first day in Japan. I admit, I was expecting her to take me some old school neighbourhood full of little shops and restaurants so I was a bit surprised, when she muttered the words ‘Trick Art Museum’ and ushered me onto the monorail to Odaiba, one of the newest parts of Tokyo.
But 20 minutes later when I was sitting on the floor pretending to ride a tiger surrounding by giggling Japanese folk, I realised she’d fulfilled the deal in spades. The Tokyo Trick Art Museum was one of THE most Tokyo things I could possibly do! It’s bonkers.
What the Heck is a Trick Art Museum?
The idea of the Tokyo Trick Art Museum is simple – the pictures are painted so that if you position yourself in a certain way and your friendly companion takes a picture of you, it looks as if you’re living in the painting.
At first, in my normal self-conscious British way I was just sort of standing smiling in the pictures, but then when I realised everyone around me was getting VERY into it, giggling madly as they contorted themselves into various positions with expressions of fear, horror or glee (depending what the painting required) I decided to just go with it and have some fun.
There are about 20 paintings to ‘play in’ laid out in four/five rooms and, depending on how many pictures you take you’ll probably spend 30-60 minutes here.
Admittedly, some of the scenarios were made for shorter, thinner, bendier people than me – I quickly decided that trying to fit my boobs through the body hole in one mermaid painting had the potential to turn into some kind of emergency requiring the fire brigade and cutting equipment so I skipped that one, and the slight grimace in the picture below was because my knees were not bent at a happy angle, but overall a truly brilliant time was had by all.
The museum costs $1000 yen which you pay to the vending machine outside so, like much of Tokyo, you’ll need cash.
You’re let in a few people at a time and the guides explain what’s going on. Don’t panic if this first speech is completely in Japanese (it was for us as Jonelle speaks fluent Japanese and had chatted to the staff and so I guess they thought I must understand too), you don’t need to know any Japanese to have fun – just check the pictures at the side of each painting which gives you clues of where to stand to get the desired effect.
I admit though this one isn’t exactly how you’re supposed to stand – I just quite fancied having wings!
I think my favourite was probably the wine glass in which you’re trapped by the evil vampire – that one immediately went onto Instagram. They do however regularly switch up the exhibits – some of them were different from when Jonelle had last been here so expect some surprises.
Where is The Tokyo Trick Art Museum?
It’s on the 4th floor of the Decks building in Odaiba. This one of two adjacent mega malls (the other one is known as Aqua City) that are packed with shops and other things to do and between these and the nearby onsen, the futuristic Maraikan, National Museum of Emerging Science and Technology (which includes my favourite exhibit the super cute Paro the Robot Therapy Seal), a big wheel, a fake beach and more you can easily spend an entire day in this part of Tokyo.
Even if you don’t leave the Decks building itself you could amuse yourself for half a day or more in here – making the Trick Art Museum and everything around it the perfect thing to do on a rainy day in Tokyo.
Start by wandering around the little mall of shops just before the museum selling all sorts of quirky Japanese souvenirs.
Then pick up lunch or some snacks at the Odaiba Takoyaki Museum which gives you the chance to sample the fried octopus balls that are the speciality of Osaka, a town about 2.5 hours away from Tokyo by bullet train. Different stalls from the city have stands here – including one that adds wine to their recipe.
Should your holiday to Japan not be complete without taking home a giant red fluffy octopus ball that’s okay too – there’s an entire shop of them here!.
Decks is also home to three other major attractions – the Tokyo outlet of Madame Tussauds, the Legoland Discovery Centre and the virtual-reality theme park Joyopolis but they were a bit too international for me to try on this trip (plus, I’d have had to acquire a child from somewhere as a weird rule says that adults can’t go to Legoland here solo, they must have a child in tow).
There’s also a haunted house here which Jonelle described as one of the most disturbing things she’s ever done – and not necessarily in a good way!
If you’re here at night you’ll also be treated to their Yakei illuminations display
Lastly, don’t miss the sight of the Statue of Liberty that’s just outside. She arrived in 1998 as part of a celebration of Japan’s ties to France (the original statue in New York harbour was a gift to the American’s from the French) but people liked her and so she’s still here. She’s about a seventh of the size of the New York version, but a handy trick of perspective makes her look far bigger than she is from the right angle. Seems they’re rather good at Trick Art of all sorts in this part of Tokyo
How To Get There.
The easiest way to get to the Tokyo Trip Art Museum from central Tokyo is to jump on the Yarikamome monorail line from Shidome station and get off at Odaiba-Kaihinkoen.. The Museum opens at 11am each day and stays open until 9pm – with the last entry at 8.30pm.
♥ Read More: Looking for things to do before The Trick Art Museum opens – check out our guide to early morning Tokyo ♥
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