Kōrakuen & Akihabara

Most history museums in Japan skirt the issue of WWII or focus on the burden of the common people. Not so here: Yūshū-kan begins with Japan's samurai tradition and ends with its defeat in WWII. It is also unapologetic and has been known to boil the blood of some visitors with its particular view of history.

There are also some emotionally harrowing exhibits, such as the messages (translated into English) of kamikaze pilots written to their families before their final missions. In the lobby is a locomotive that ran along the Burma Railroad.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Kōrakuen & Akihabara attractions

1. Yasukuni-jinja

0.08 MILES

Literally ‘For the Peace of the Country Shrine’, Yasukuni is the memorial shrine to Japan’s war dead, around 2.5 million souls. First built in 1869, it is…

2. Mizuma Art Gallery

0.24 MILES

Run by longtime Tokyo art-world figure Sueo Mizuma, Mizuma Art Gallery represents some of Japan's more successful contemporary artists, such as Aida…

3. Tayasu-mon

0.35 MILES

Dating from 1635, the northern gate to Kitanomaru-kōen was once part of Edo-jō and is designated as a national important cultural asset.

4. Chidori-ga-fuchi

0.35 MILES

This section of the moat surrounding the Imperial Palace is one of the city's most popular hanami (cherry blossom viewing) spots. There's a 700m-long…

5. Tokyo Dai-jingū

0.37 MILES

This is the Tokyo branch of Ise-jingū, Japan's mother shrine in Mie Prefecture. Credited with establishing the Shintō wedding ritual, Tokyo Dai-jingū is a…

6. National Shōwa Memorial Museum

0.44 MILES

This museum of WWII-era Tokyo gives a sense of everyday life for the common people: how they ate, slept, dressed, studied, prepared for war and endured…

7. Kitanomaru-kōen

0.51 MILES

This large park north of the Imperial Palace is home to noteworthy museums as well as the Nippon Budōkan concert hall. The gate at the park’s northern end…

8. Crafts Gallery

0.55 MILES

This red-brick building, an annex of MOMAT, stages excellent changing exhibitions of mingei (folk crafts): ceramics, lacquerware, bamboo, textiles, dolls…