TeamLab Borderless Tokyo: Ultimate Guide
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A magical mix of colour, light and sound, TeamLab Borderless in Tokyo is the world’s first Digital Art Museum. A. From a mesmerising crystal world to gushing digital waterfalls and an extraordinary lantern filled room, a visit to TeamLab Borderless is a Tokyo highlight. After an enchanting recent visit to this amazing digital art museum in Tokyo, we wanted to share our tips for making the most out of your visit and how to reserve TeamLab Borderless tickets!
What is TeamLab Borderless Digital Art Museum?
The TeamLab Borderless Digital Art Museum is a permanent digital art exhibition in the Mori Building in Odaiba, Tokyo. The museum is an audiovisual creation by the TeamLab art collective of animators, programmers, architects, mathematicians and designers.
The museum is a truly unique audio-visual experience unlike anything else in the world. Using more than 500 computers and 470 projectors in a specially designed space, the museum is a place to wander and explore in a fascinating immersive experience.
The stunning projections and clever use of specially designed rooms make it one of the best things to do in Tokyo and are definitely not to be missed.
The art museum was an instant hit when it opened and has quickly become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Tokyo. The exhibits were designed with Instagram in mind and, as a result, Team Borderless is a huge hit with Instagrammers!
How to reserve TeamLab Borderless tickets
TeamLab Borderless sells out almost every day so it’s essential to reserve tickets in advance. The digital art museum is one of the most popular attractions in Tokyo and gets extremely busy at peak times.
Tickets are reserved for a specific day but there are no assigned entry times – ticket holders can visit at any time during the museum opening hours.
Tips for Visiting Team Borderless – as tickets are not assigned by time during the museum can get uncomfortably busy at peak times. We highly recommend visiting the museum first thing in the morning or late afternoon. A weekday is ideal as the crowds are less.
We visited first thing in the morning when the museum opened. On arrival, it was relatively quiet but got extremely busy about one hour after opening. Luckily, we had the chance to enjoy the more popular exhibitions before it got too busy so it’s definitely worth getting up early!
How to get to TeamLab Borderless Digital Museum
The TeamLab Borderless Digital Art Museum is located in Odaiba, a man-made island in Tokyo Bay. It is easily reached using the metro.
The TeamLab Borderless Digital Art Museum is accessed via the Yurikamone Line which starts from Shimbashi Station.
Metro tickets: We recommend buying a metro card during your time in Tokyo. It saves both time and money!
- You can order a pre-paid pay-as-you-go metro card, called a Suica card, which allows travel throughout Tokyo – check prices here!
- Alternatively, you can get a 24hr/48h/72h Tokyo subway card if you’re planning a lot of subway travel in a short amount of time – check prices here!
TeamLab Borderless tip: if you start your journey from the Shimbashi end of the line, the train crosses the Rainbow Bridge to Odaiba and the journey is really scenic. The train ride out is really nice as you whizz across the bridge and the view of the Tokyo skyline is beautiful.
From Aomi station, it’s a short walk to the entrance of TeamLab Borderless. After exiting the station on the overpass take a right and walk through the Toyota showroom to the entrance to the TeamLab Borderless Digital Art Museum.
The entrance to TeamLab Borderless is under the giant Ferris wheel.
Tips for Visiting TeamLab Borderless
- Travel light: you can’t bring any large items into the museum. Items longer than 50cm must be checked into the lockers in the luggage room (Lockers cost 100Yen each). This includes strollers so we recommend bringing a carrier for younger children as you will be carrying them for at least 1 hour. The storage is coin operated and is super simple to use.
- Focus on the experience: the museum has become a magnet for Instagrammers and photographers seeking the iconic, colourful imagery that’s on offer at the Digital Museum. While you can get lots of cool photos here, it’s worth taking the time to enjoy each of the exhibits and not be obsessed with photos.
- Wear white clothes: we didn’t know this before visiting but if you wear white clothes the projected lights will make you look part of the exhibition. We saw some people wearing white and it looked really fun!
- Go early: the museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Tokyo and is a mecca for people seeking Instagram photos. If you visit during busy times you’ll be waiting around 20-30 minutes to enter each of the popular exhibits, such as the nest and the Forest of Floating Lamps.
- Have a plan: we recommend starting with the most popular exhibitions as you may have to queue.
- Mirrored floors: some of the exhibits have mirrored floors which are really cool and create an incredible effect. However, it’s one to note if you plan on wearing a skirt. The museum offers wrap skirts for this very scenario!
- Flashing lights and loud noises: some of the exhibits have flashing lights and loud noises on top of a dark room. This is worth noting for anyone who isn’t comfortable in these situations.
- Eat beforehand: you will spend at least two hours exploring the museum (possibly even more) and there is no food inside the museum.
- Wear flat shoes: some of the exhibits have soft floors where heels are not allowed.
- No tripods: the museum allows and actively encourages photos. However, tripods selfie sticks and flash photography are not allowed. We tried to take our small Gorillapod in an was asked to check it into a locker.
- Interactive: the entire exhibition is built to be touched. Make sure to touch the images on the walls, on the floor….most will react and change when you touch them.
The Exhibits: Planning your trip to Team Borderless
The digital art museum is set over two floors with visitors entering on the ground floor. There is no set path in the museum and instead, you are supposed to explore and make your own route through the exhibits.
Each of the exhibition rooms is worth spending time in as they are all incredible. However, some require queuing or are more enjoyable with fewer visitors. So we recommend visiting these as soon as you go in and then returning to the quieter exhibits when you’re finished.
Our route is a little haphazard but it saved us from queuing and meant we enjoyed our visit a lot more.
TeamLab Borderless tip: the museum is divided into 5 distinct sections: Borderless World, Athletics Forest, Future Park, Forest of Resonating Lamps, and EN Tea House
After entering, visitors emerge into the Borderless World area on the ground floor. After walking through the first room, the Forest of Flowers and People: Lost, Immersed and Reborn, the exit at the far side leads to one of the most iconic rooms of the art museum: the Universe of Water Particles on a Rock where People Gather.
1 | Universe of Water Particles on a Rock where People Gather
It’s a bit of a tongue twister but it does describe this room perfectly! It is one of the most visually impressive areas of the museum where you should head to immediately. The large room is dominated by the elevated area against the back wall which is illuminated spectacularly to resemble falling rain which transitions to falling leaves.
TeamLab Borderless tip: If you want to get a solo photo here be quick when you get in as the room quickly fills up.
After enjoying the rock, make your way to our favourite exhibit in the museum: the Forest of Resonating Lamps.
2 | Forest of Resonating Lamps
This is definitely our favourite exhibit in the digital art museum and it’s also the most popular by far! Go here directly from the Universe of Water Particles. To get there, take the left exit as you stand facing the rock at the universe of water particles. Turn right down the corridor and climb the stairs.
If you’re visiting during a quieter time the queue shouldn’t be too long. We went not long after opening and there was no queue at all.
The Forest of Resonating lamps is a mirrored room that is filled with hanging lamps that alternate soft colours as you move around. The effect is really spectacular and the room appears infinite while you’re standing in it.
TeamLab Borderless Tip: A limited number of people are allowed into the room at any one time. This means there are huge queues for this room at busier times.
Upon entering the mirrored room visitors have around 1-2 minutes to enjoy it before the door on the far side opens and the group are ushered out. Only 20 visitors are allowed in at one time so there’s lots of space to enjoy the room and take photos.
Photographing the Forest of Resonating Lamps
If you’re planning to take photos have your camera ready and set for low light. The lamps cycle through different colours so once you find your composition stay there and wait for the colours to change. The room takes on a totally different feeling as the colours change so you don’t need to move location.
For the best photos try to get down low. This way you’ll make the most of the mirrored floor and get lots of reflections of the lamps adding to the magical effect.
3 | Crystal World
After the Forest of Resonating Lamps head to the Crystal World, another extremely popular exhibit which is located nearby on the same floor. Crystal World is really trippy and surprisingly one of the best places for photos in the museum due to the incredible light produced by the hanging LED strands and the mirrored walls.
We had a lot of fun in Crystal World and our little guy, J, loved all the colours. The room appears to stretch to infinity and although it gets crowded you don’t really notice the people due to the lights.
TeamLab Borderless: the mirrored floor of Crystal World isn’t ideal for skirts and dresses! Elaine was very mindful of this when I was posing for pics!
4 | The Nest
The Nest is located on the second level and is worth allowing 20 to 30 mins to enjoy. While in the nest, vistors lie down on a suspended cargo net in a 360-degree projection room.
TeamLab Borderless tip: The Nest is one of the museum areas where footwear is not permitted. Small shoebags are available to hold your shoes so you can walk onto the cargo net to find an area to sit down and relax.
After visiting the most popular exhibits, wander through the rest of the museum at your own pace. The other exhibits include:
5 | The Athletics Forest
This is located on the second floor of TeamLab Borderless and it is one of the most fun exhibit rooms. If you have kids, this is the area where they can run free! From illuminated trampolines to whales swimming on the walls this area is great for kids. Baby J loved the whales swimming across the floor and the trampolines were lots of fun.
The Athletics Forest has some amazing activities for kids:
- A Sketch Aquarium where kids aquatic drawing are animated and projected onto the walls
- An interactive trampoline
- A climbing wall
- A climbing frame made from hanging swings
Team Borderless tip: if you are visiting with kids you might want to visit the Athletics Forest first.
6 | Weightless Forest of Resonating Life
At the back of the Athletics Forest is the forest of balloons or the Weightless Forest of Resonating Life. This area is filled with large internally lit balloons that you can move amongst and bounce. We’re not sure if it was designed for kids but we all loved it!
7 | Memory of Topography
This room is filled will rolling hills of lilies and really feels like you’re strolling through a meadow as the seasons change.
8 | Animals of Flowers Born in the Flower Forest
An interactive exhibit where animals are created by the interaction with visitors
9 | Flowers of the Forest and the People
This bright and colourful exhibit illustrates the changing seasons in the forest.
10 | EN Tea House
The tea house at TeamLab Borderless is very special. After being served your tea, flowers bloom infinitely as long as there is tea in the teacup. There is an additional charge of 500 yen and patrons have the choice between a cold brew green tea, yuzu green tea with, hot green tea, and hot green tea with chamomile latte.
TeamLab Borderless tip: the EN Tea Houe opens one hour after TeamLab Borderless opens
Aerial Climbing through a Flock of Colored Birds
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