Yushukan
Military MuseumsHistory Museums
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
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The area

Address
Neighborhood: Yotsuya / Iidabashi
Yotsuya and Iidabashi are areas that developed around the outer moat of the Imperial palace. Nearby in Kagurazaka, there is an old red-light district with a photogenic feel evocative of the ambiance of old Tokyo. Narrow paths with stone paving remain to this day, and there are long-standing restaurants with geishas and quaint old cafes in townhouse buildings.
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles168 reviews
Excellent
61
Very good
68
Average
25
Poor
3
Terrible
11

wadla
Adelaide, Australia112 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019 • Solo
I found this museum very cool. Like some of the other reviews say some of the Japanese perspective of how and why they went to war was interesting just make sure you come here with an open mind. There was enough English info to keep me interested just don’t expect for all of the exhibits to have english
Written December 16, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Luluzz
Auckland Region, New Zealand93 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2019 • Couples
We spent a great few hours here. One of us loves war history and the other tolerates it but really appreciated the ink stamps you can make in most rooms :-P

Most of the exhibits, particularly the large pieces, were really impressive and obviously well preserved and maintained. Note you can photograph most of the big exhibits but not the small ones. The building is impressive and everything is presented well.

The museum has a bit of a reputation of being blasé or gung ho about Japan’s war history / war crimes. We only saw a little bit of this and generally found it an interesting perspective. We were aware before
we went that war crimes weren’t covered
much, but we didn’t feel that the museum “venerated” war criminals.

The only parts we found a bit icky were how the suicide planes and boats were just woven into everything else as if they were an ordinary part of war and history...the suicide weapons have always struck me as a unique, stand out aspect of history and should have been presented as such. Also, the firebombing of Tokyo was mentioned but kind of “in passing” - it seemed strange that not more coverage was given to the virtual destruction of the city we were standing in.

The main theme of the modern history sections is that Japan first was powerless to resist being drawn out of isolation, then had to struggle to be a great power to overcome unfair disadvantages. This seemed a bit of an oversimplification of a complex and multifaceted period of history.

The sections on the wars with China suffered a little from a lack of content on the Chinese leaders and military, almost like they weren’t worthy of discussion.

The discussion about the outbreak of war in China in the 1930s was a mixture of rationalising and explaining aggression, blaming the Chinese at times, and one or
two conspicuous admissions of Japanese warmongering.

There was interesting coverage of the decision to go to war with the Western Powers in 1941. It was far more balanced and nuanced than what Western museums portray, although it certainly pushed things in suggesting the Americans were being unreasonable negotiators.

The big exhibition hall where photos are
encouraged is a must-see.

Overall it’s a great place to visit for any history fan. And we recommend buying the special stamp book from the bookshop - it was very cheap and a great souvenir.
Written October 28, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

mme8771
New York City, NY161 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2018 • Solo
As a self-described WW2 nerd, I've visited many countries, museums and battlefields connected to the war from Darwin, Australia; Pearl Harbor; Germany; and Normandy among others. I've never felt as conflicted as I did after leaving this museum.

First, the layout is a bit confusing. If you are interested in general Japanese military history, start upstairs. If it's just WW2 you're looking for, that is all on the bottom floor. At the beginning of the WW2 section, they give you quite a bit of history on what led Japan to enter the war and they do a good job of explaining the US oil embargo which was the essential spark--a piece of history most US schools don't teach or don't focus on. From there, the exhibition is in chronological order (for the most part) and gives you a good sense of the progression of the war. There are interesting artifacts, a couple of planes and several naval models.

What I had trouble with was the tone of some of the exhibits and the absolute omission of anything "bad" the Japanese did. There was a definite pride when talking about the success of the attack on Pearl Harbor. There was no mention of the atrocities POWs suffered at the hands of the Japanese. They did talk about the poor conditions Japanese POWs had to suffer through. These are just a few things that I noticed.
Yes, history is told from the victor's perspective, but something about the tone here really disturbed me. Very different than if you visit museums in Germany or Austria that focus on WW2.

Note that there is a lot of reading for explanation and a lot of the artifacts don't have English descriptions.
Written May 5, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Pindoctor_John
Leeds, UK31 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2018 • Couples
An amazing collection used to support the most egregious historical revisionism with outright propaganda. I feel soiled after visiting.

All the war dead were ‘martyrs’ including the ‘unjustly convicted’ Class A criminals.

There was no Nanjing Massacre (aka the Rape of Nanking). The well-disciplined Japanese soldiers only killed soldiers dressed in civilian clothing.

The Burma-Thailand Railway was a glorious feat of civil engineering (no mention that more than 100,000 slave labourers and Allied POWs were worked to death in appalling conditions to build it)

The US cleverly manipulated Japan into attacking Pearl Harbor, so as to give them a pretext to enter the war.

DEFINITELY no mention of comfort women.

It’s not representative of the country or of its official view of the past, but the fact that it exists at all makes my skin crawl.

I’d have included photos of some of the more egregious stuff, but there’s a convenient no photography policy throughout most of the museum.
Written November 24, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Janus M
4 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2020 • Couples
The positive thing is that it is quite beautiful, many objects and artefacts and indeed well displayed.

The negative is, that this is the kind of museum you see in dictatorships. The portray of Japan's troublesome past including genocide, murder of millions of innoct civilians and including almost praising war criminals are really worrysome.

This is exactly the kind of propaganda museums you find in fascist regimes.
It's a disgrace that a country like Japan has a museum like this and obviously a lot of Japanese buy into this museums narrative.

It's basically not a museum in fact.
Written July 28, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

martin576
London, UK19 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2017 • Couples
So - a museum that relates Japan's military history of the last few hundred years...

The Nanking massacre ? Never happened apparently. It was all lies and foreign propaganda. Yes - really !
You know that the Japanese set such progressive ideals of racial equality in the early 20th century that they inspired African and South East Asian countries to rise up against their colonial oppressors. Huh ? You didn't know that ?

These are among the stories and captions that accompany the exhibits.
I am not making this up.
What about stories of prisoners of war ? They have a steam engine in the main foyer that was at the opening of the Burma railway in WW2. That is the only reference to the Burma railway in the whole building. No mention of who built it, allied prisoners, background story... Nothing. How shameful is that. How shameful.....
Oh - sorry, there is an extensive exhibit of POW's - its about thousands of brave Japanese people who were interned in concentration camps by the Russians after the war.
You know that Japan was forced into attacking Pearl Harbour and into waging war against USA ? they had no other option.
Iwo Jima, WW2 - the Americans could have just left it alone and bypassed it. Instead they had to kill all the Japanese soldiers on there for no valid reason....
The nuclear bombs dropped on Japan ? Just a very small mention and even that only states that the Americans deliberately ignored all of Japan's efforts at peace negotiation.
Nothing. Nothing is or was ever the fault of the Japanese. Nothing. No responsibility for anything. Nothing. It was always other countries and governments doing bad things to Japan that unfortunately had to be responded to by brave and noble warriors.
Just shameful.
Written May 5, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Canucktraveler
Peterborough, Canada21 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2023 • Family
My husband and son are interested in military history, so we decided to visit the Japan war museum (Yushukan) while on vacation in Tokyo. We should have figured out something was not right when we first entered the museum where a train locomotive used in the Thai-Burma Railway was displayed, and there was no mention of the thousands of forced labourers who died during its construction in its description. I also thought it was strange that there was a sign that stated, “no lecturing or explaining.” However, I figured out the reason for this sign as soon as we got to the area of the museum on Japan’s modern military history and WWII. It seems that Japan liberated Manchuria and Korea. The displays also stated that the reason Japan invaded and occupied countries in Southeast Asia is to become less reliant on resources from the West by seeking these resources from neighbouring countries. The Rape of Nanjing is labeled as the Nanking incidence, and the signage implied that the atrocities committed by the Japanese Imperial Army was the punishment of fleeing Chinese soldiers disguised as civilians. At this point, I became so upset that we left the museum.

Please do not go to this place as it may be construed as your support for these appalling viewpoints. Is this how Japan still thinks of its role in WWII?
Written June 3, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Superfootix
South Africa36 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2016 • Friends
I graded 2: 4 for the museum : practical, well organised, translated 70% in English and with some original items.
But 1 on content. Because when you go to such museum that depicts war and history, you first have to have a kind of neutral approach and you also need to remember sacrifices you forced and try to avoid them.
My feeling after 2+ hours of visit is that Japan did not condemn dark periods, consider China and Korea as problems and their territories and justify millions of death (not even mentionned) by a need of ressources such as oil...
on top of that they consider they were supported by local populations which is a pure travesty when you know that Japanese are hated in all Asian countries except Taiwan maybe.

Finally nothing shows regret or remorse even for their own population.

A parallel would be a us museum for south American freedom funded by cia... nobody would ever thought of such an idea.

So go if you want to understand Japan nationalism and you can cope with this. Museum is great
Written November 29, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

PerthJon
Perth55 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2016 • Family
So why would why I rate this museum as terrible yet recommend you must visit? Simply because this museum is carefully orchestrated to paint Japan as a victim that was forced into the second world war that it did not want. Probably not a view shared by the rest of the world. Sorry Japan....love your country but this place does you no favours. So visit and walk out a little angry and confused!
Written May 5, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Audrius S
Uji, Japan2 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2017 • Friends
While I have no complaints regarding the exhibits some of which are priceless (I am writing this review after 3 years and I still remember the last letters of a young Japanese soldier convinced he was about to die for the right cause). However, it is unbelievable there is still a museum which whitewashes horrendous war crimes committed by the Imperial Japanese Army and which tells the history of Japanese imperialism from the outdated Messianistic perspective. However, it is still worth being visited and even paid for, so that one can understand the discourse of uyoku dantai in Japan.
Written September 19, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Yushukan, Chiyoda

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