*** The museum will close in August 2022, and a new teamLab museum will reopen at a city-center location in Tokyo sometime in 2023***
We started our Japan trip with a visit to the teamLab Borderless, officially known as the Mori Building Digital Art Museum. It is an interactive and immersive multisensory digital art museum located in the Odaiba district in Tokyo. Apparently, it is the first digital art museum in the world. In 2019 teamLab Borderless broke Guinness World Record for the world’s most visited museum receiving a record-breaking 2,198,284 visitors in a year!
Any more reasons for visiting? What about it being the most Instagramable place in Tokyo? Did I catch your interest, huh?
This place would probably not be as popular as it is if not for selfies and social media. It was funny to see every single person with a phone or a camera posing and clicking pictures. It was insane! The museum was fantastic. Let’s say it like that, I am not a massive fan of art, especially modern one, but this place blew my mind off and left my jaw hanging.
I first heard about it when I was casually browsing social media and got intrigued. If it were not because we ran there right after our ten-hour flight and my starving boyfriend dragged me out, I would have spent way more time there. I’m surprised he didn’t lose his mind with the number of pictures I was taking 🙂
In total, I think we stayed there 4-5h, but I could have easily spent there the whole day. The museum encourages visitors to wander around and discover the place by themselves with all their senses. There is no general direction where anyone should go, and artworks move around the room and intermingle with the visitors and other artworks. Each room is different, fantastic, and awe-inspiring; you might think you already saw everything, but then turn a corner and discover a new unexplored universe.
The museum spreads over 10,000 square meters of space. It uses 520 computers and 470 projectors to transform rooms into an unforgettable experience using animated graphics, colors, and lights. The museum seems endless hence its name: Borderless. Every time I stepped into the room, I thought I was already before; I had trouble recognizing it. Different flowers, different seasons, different colors, everything constantly moved around.
If you are worried huge crowds would hinder your experience, you couldn’t be more wrong. The artworks react and respond to human presence and behaviors; thus, the company of others actually enhances the experience for all who are in the room.
There are many different themes hidden all around the place. For the most popular ones, you might have to queue for a while.
In our case, we had to wait for 50 minutes in the Forest of Resonating Lamps, and the queue to Floating Nest was 1-1.5h long. Because of that, we decided to skip the nest.
Since our last visit, I have read, they added 25 new exciting installations, so I would definitely visit again, given a chance!
Forest of resonating lamps
It is one of the most popular installations. People are let in 30 at the time, and only for a minute! The lamps change colors when approached and go from different shades of orange to blues. Even though you will most probably only experience one color when inside, you will have plenty of time to see it while waiting outside.
For me, it was one of the best displays. The biggest challenge was the time limit; we went in, and I felt only a couple of seconds passed by, and we had to leave it again. On the other hand, it was hilarious and entertaining to observe people taking pictures inside while waiting outside and looking through the Venetian mirror. So even though the queue was long, we weren’t bored at all.
I loved this room so much I had to be forcefully dragged out from it 🙂 The LED lights looked like crystal rain, and their reflection in the mirror made this room look endless! It took some patience to take a picture without anyone in the frame, but this room is stunning even without pictures!
Memory Of Topography
We walked through the pond with continuously changing scenery depicting different times of the year, trying to catch digital insects flying around. As we moved, airflow changed and blew the rice plants or scattered flower petals in different directions.
The light show was terrific, with the light changing, moving, and blinking all the time. Adding to that mirrors and smoke and we had an unforgettable experience!
Weightless Forest of Resonating Life
It was a room filled with balloons! In all colors and sizes 🙂 I can’t count how many times I got hit with one.
Above mentioned installations were my favorite, but there were so many equally marvelous ones I haven’t had a chance to describe. The only thing I can say right now is to encourage you to go and explore the place yourself. You will not be disappointed.
- If you are a girl, don’t wear a skirt. There were many rooms with mirrors on the floor.
- Take comfy, flat shoes. First of all, you are not allowed to wear heels (also slippers and open toes shoes) in some rooms. Secondly, you will wander a lot, trust me 🙂 You can rent some appropriate footwear, but they might run out of supply.
- Store bags in the lockers. They are at the entrance, cost 100 yen of a refundable deposit. The places are sometimes narrow and crowded, and staff will suggest you leave the backpack.
- They say that there is less crowd after 15.00, but I wouldn’t trust that too much xD It was super packed, but I could still find a nice spot even with that many people.
- Wear white or light-colored clothing if you want to blend well with the installation. White reflects the colors way better and helps in creating a perfect photo.
- Touch everything. When you touch the walls or stomp on the images on the floor, they react. I’ve spent quite some time chasing frogs and salamanders. It was so much fun!
- Download app. When you have an app, you can change the colors and behavior of lights in some rooms.
- Buy tickets online beforehand. If they are sold out, they will not sell any at the location. So if you have a tight schedule, book ahead of time.
- Tripods and flashes and not permitted, so if you want a nice picture, grab a very patient friend or a boyfriend 🙂