Drum Museum
Asakusa: Museum
Drum Museum: Asakusa
Asakusa / Museum
Open 10am-5pm. Closed Mondays, Tuesdays.
Admission: adults Y500; students Y150
Average visit time: 20-40 minutes

By far the noisiest museum we've been to in Tokyo, Asakusa's Drum Museum is also one of the most interactive. Hundreds of percussion instruments of all shapes and sizes are on display here, many of them waiting to be banged on by visitors - just look for the color-coded musical-note icons next to each exhibit.

Among the many playable drums, some visitor favorites include a set of steel drums from the Caribbean and a rather gigantic taiko drum from northern Japan.. Listening stations are also scattered throughout the exhibit area, and you can enjoy samples of drumming from around the world, assuming that the drumming from around the room isn't too intense.

Besides drums, the extremely diverse collection here features beautifully decorated chimes and gongs, rough-hewn mbiras and xylophones, and some exotic specimens like the Andean chajcha - an instrument traditionally made from dried goat hooves that produces the sound of wind and rain when shaken.

The array of instruments on display changes once or twice a year, as the museum's collection is much larger than its available display area. Some but not all of the instruments are labeled in English, and there's a small English-language handout describing the collection.

The drum museum is run by a long-established retailer that sells taiko drums, flutes, mikoshi shrines and other festival gear. Their main shop is a few blocks away, but there's a smaller shop on the ground floor of the museum building that sells cymbals, drumsticks and other musical gear, T-shirts and traditional festival clothing, and CDs and DVDs of taiko drumming.

Taito-ku, Nishi-Asakusa 2-1-1.
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