Unko — yes, poop.
Japan’s Unko Museum opened on March 15, 2019 as a limited-time exhibition. Originally scheduled to close on July 15th after a decent 4-month run, its popularity has given it another two months! As of this writing, the museum will be in full swing until September 30th. If you’ll be in Japan before then, you’ve still got a chance to experience this… unique attraction.
In addition, a second museum has just opened on August 9th in Tokyo’s Odaiba Diver City! If you’re in the area to check out the lifesize Unicorn Gundam, you can easily stop on by.
I visited myself earlier last month and took photos of just about everything, so I hope you can get a good idea of the experience through this post, even if you can’t go in person!
The exhibit is located in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture. That’s about an hour train ride out of Tokyo (depending on your departure location). It’s pretty easy to get there, though, as Yokohama Station is a major station with a bunch of train and subway lines running to it, so you have options and it’s not a tough journey.
At Yokohama Station, take the East Exit and head right. The building you’re looking for is Asobuild — the museum is inside this larger building, as it isn’t a stand-alone museum. Asobuild is right behind the large post office you’ll see there, and has some eye-popping advertising on the outer wall of the building, so it isn’t too hard to find.
Here’s a handy Google Maps link that should help you get there!
The Unko Museum entrance is on the second floor — if you have a ticket. If you don’t, let’s get you one!
Tickets can be reserved in advance online. However, the site is in Japanese, you’ll have to create an account, and you might need a Japanese payment method.
Never fear, though — you can get day-of tickets in person, too! When you arrive at Asobuild, just head to the first floor and look for the reception desk. There may be a line, especially if you go on a busy day like a weekend or holiday, but you can hop right in.
The tickets are 1,600 yen per person and are single entry (no re-entry). Every ticket has a 1-hour window during which you’ll have to go line up on the second floor; there’s a chance that your window isn’t immediately after your purchase time, so be prepared to kill some time.
The entrance and exit aren’t clearly defined on any pamphlets or materials you may receive, so I’ve marked them on this layout map from the official website. There’s no set order to experiencing the attractions inside, and aside from the very first room, there’s no guide, so you can explore at your own pace.
I recommend heading around to the left and moving clockwise through all the rooms that encircle the center room, then stopping off there last. There are tables and such in this room, so it’s good spot to take a break, review your photos, and… play in a ball pit?
Upon entering, a guide will give you a brief overview of the experience, and you’ll get to watch a neat little video. Then you move right into the first room!
My Unko Maker
In this room is a row of brightly-colored, numbered toilets. The attendant will have everyone take a turn sitting down on one, so you get a chance to “make” your own poop.
When the experience is over, you stand up and find your own plastic unko in the toilet in a random, fun color! And yes, you get to keep it.
Before heading off into the rest of the museum, the attendant will give you a wooden dowel so you can tote your unko around for photos throughout the museum.
Moving clockwise, the first area you encounter includes a few photo spots perfect for taking some fun social media photos.
There’s a section with a bunch of colorful floating unko that you can stand behind…
Heading to the next room, take a peek through the unko-shaped window at the unko-shaped sweets table:
In the hallway to the next photo room, there’s actually a great photo spot with neon lights making out various unko-themed designs, including the word in different languages. The lighting is perfect for getting great photos!
And the last room of the Unstagenic area is… a restroom. Why wouldn’t it be? You can get socially-appropriate toilet selfies here!
Galaxy of Poo
The next attraction is a dark room with mirrors on both walls and a bunch of glowing unko decorations, like the famous Infinity Mirrors exhibit!
I unfortunately had a hard time taking a good photo in the room itself (not a great photography by any stretch of the imagination), so you’ll just have to experience it for yourself!
Unfortunately during our visit, the first exhibit in the unteractive area was closed with no explanation. With any luck it should be open again, but I’m unable to cover it here since it was simply shut down.
The second unteractive exhibit is a dim room with huge screen and a couple of microphones which you immediately understand the purpose of, because you can hear it almost anywhere in the museum! It’s your chance to shout “UNKO” at the top of your lungs, and better yet, compete while doing it!
The screen shows a growing pile of unko the better your scream is, and up to two people can play at once so you can challenge a friend for the loudest shout.
This section of the museum is the most museum-like part of the whole exhibition. Here, a variety of poop-related products from around the world are shown off with the country designated by flag, so it’s very easy to see how poop has become an entertainment item in different countries. No touching the displays, of course!
Do you recognize any of these products?
At the end of the exhibition space, there’s a wall of small toilet-shaped dry erase boards. Just tear off a piece of toilet paper and wipe one clean to draw your own unko art with the provided markers!
And finally, the main event.
In the center of the museum space is a wide open room with a “Crappy Arcade Game” corner you can line up and try your luck at (pooped-themed games only, of course), tables and chairs to take a break, and a big ol’ ball pit with a poo volcano that spews out plastic poop from time to time.
On the way out of the museum there’s a small gift shop with Unko Museum themed goods. I picked up a set of daifuku (marshmallows with chocolate in them) and a bottle of water that sounds less than appealing.
Less of a museum and more of an interactive exhibit made with Instagram in mind, don’t come expecting to learn much but just to have a good time. It was worth the trip, and I may head over to the Odaiba exhibit soon, too, to see what it has to offer!
Check out the official website of the Unko Museum, and be sure to stop by one of the locations if you’ll be in Japan this year!