Welcome to a realm where art meets technology, and imagination knows no bounds – Tokyo's teamLab universe. TeamLab, a groundbreaking art collective based in Tokyo, carved a niche for itself by seamlessly blending cutting-edge technology with artistic expression.
It's so much more than a gallery. Located on the unsuspecting eastern side of Tokyo, far from the touristy areas like Shinjuku or Shibuya, people meet here from everywhere in the world. It's a place where you can find an equal mix of expats, locals, and visitors, which tells you it's a delight for people of all backgrounds.
In this blog, we'll go through a comprehensive guide on everything you need to know before visiting teamLab Planets in Tokyo, including pricing, how to get there, and information about the exhibits.
What Is teamLab Planets Tokyo?
For the longest time, I turned my nose up when it came to digital art. Does this make me a snob? Probably, yes. However, teamLabs' interactive installations redefined what I knew about digital art.
teamLab Planets is an art installation that combines multimedia to create a heightened sensory experience. While walking through the exhibits, each one representing the landscape of planets beyond Earth, you will use your sense of sight, sound, smell, and touch.
The designers at teamLab set out for this very task: to give you an extraterrestrial experience on our planet. Picture yourself transported to a unique landscape of another planet. Perhaps you imagine swampy lagoons, towering dunes of red sand, or rocky boulders cold to the touch.
You'll be slogging through murky waters barefoot (yes, actual water with your actual feet), laying on the ground with airborne flower petals flying past your line of vision, and lying in a 360-degree mirrored room full of string lights.
When Is teamLab Open?
teamLab Tokyo is open from January through November, with a short break in December. Take note if you're spending the holiday season in Tokyo!
Business hours are from 9:00 am until 10:00 pm (22:00).
The only exception to these hours is when the museum reopens from December 31 until January 2, in which case the museum closes an hour early at 9:00 pm (21:00).
How Much Are Tickets to teamLabs
Prices are currently reflective of the information posted on the teamLabs website and are subject to change. Check the website for updates and changes. You can buy tickets here.
The conversion rates listed below are estimates and may fluctuate with market changes.
Adults 18 years and up: ¥3,800 (Approximately $26.23)
Junior high school students / High school students: ¥2,300 (Approximately $15.88)
ChildrenAges 4-12: ¥1,300 (Approximately $8.97)
3 years old and younger: Free
Disability discount: ¥1,900 (Approximately $13.11)
What to Know Before Visiting teamLab Planets
The typical rules don't apply to this museum. A visit to teamLab means you'll be walking through water and climbing on top of uneven surfaces. Plan your outfit and carry alongs accordingly!
1. Expect fully immersive exhibits
This isn't your typical look-at-some-paintings and have-a-coffee-in-the-cafe type of museum. It's a sensory experience, igniting your senses through an interplanetary journey on Earth. You'll visit rooms that mimic water planets (think Miller's planet from the movie Interstellar), and rooms with soft, cushiony ground that caves under your feet. Some rooms also have mirrors on the floor (a fair warning to those who love skirts).
I suggest comfortable pants that are easy to move around in, and easy to roll up to about knee height. A midi skirt or dress may also work, but you'll have to hold it in your hands.
The museum staff will offer out towels after the water exhibits.
2. You will get a locker for your personal belongings
You'll use your hands as well as your feet to move around the exhibits. Luckily, you'll get a numbered locker with a key where you can stow your things away. The lockers are limited in size, so it isn't possible to bring suitcases or oversized backpacks.
3. The exhibits are mostly indoor
The majority of exhibits are all inside of the building, though as you traverse through the different planet rooms, you'll find yourself outside for a moment. Set atop a small hill are egg-like shapes that glow iridescent from mysterious internal lights.
These are absolutely worth checking out, but keep in mind that all your personal belongings (i.e. coats, scarves, and hats during cold months) will be stored in a locker.
4. Arrive for your timeslot early
Upon arrival, you'll see a long line snaking in the front of the building.
This happens because when you book a ticket, you also book a timeslot. All the people assigned to that specific time will queue in front of the building and enter at the same time.
If you're more than a few minutes late, it's possible you won't get into the exhibit, especially if the following time slot is booked full.
5. There are changing rooms
Wear what you'd like, but heed my above message about the experiential rooms, each containing unique elements that you can interact with. This is what makes teamLab super fun and unique, but not always practical.
If you have clothes or shoes on that don't work well, you can use one of the changing rooms to switch them out for something more comfortable.
6. Plan your transportation
I mentioned above that teamLab Planets is located on the eastern side of Tokyo, far from the touristy crowds. Luckily, you have a few transportation options:
Subway: teamLab is located less than a minute's walk from Shin-Toyosu station on the Yurikamome line, and a 10-minute walk from the Toyosu station on the Tokyo Metro Yurakucho line.
Car/Taxi: teamLab is located close to Ginza, a mega shopping area! It's only a 10-minute drive, though cabs in Tokyo aren't cheap.
Bike Share: Tokyo has two options for bike sharing: Docomo and Hello Cycling. Both have apps where you can reserve bikes based on the pick-up spot nearest to you.
7. Plan to eat before you go
teamLab offers vegan ramen onsite at Ramen UZU, a restaurant from Kyoto. Here you can enjoy an umami-flavored Japanese delicacy while calligraphy brush strokes swirl on the screen walls and ceiling.
Because teamLab Planets usually fills up their timeslots quickly, I found tickets for the last 30 minutes of the day. By the time I arrived, it was well past nightfall and most places businesses nearby were closed.
The restaurant options in this area are limited, so if you find yourself in a similar position, I suggest having a meal ahead of time.
Alternatively, Japanese convenience stores have an excellent selection of snacks that you can bring (just remember to keep them in your locker until the end of the exhibit.)