The whimsical world of teamLab Planets: How to plan your visit to the popular museum in Japan

The whimsical world of teamLab Planets: How to plan your visit to the popular museum in Japan
PHOTO: Wego Travel

Step inside teamLab Planets, where art meets technology meets humans.?

Their immersive installations come alive and shape-shift with presence, touches, and movements. At once playful and thought-provoking, the exhibitions at teamLab Planets invite you to create your own artistic interpretations through sensory experience.?

Here, you'll walk through water, encounter singing eggs, and be transported into a floral universe — all the while, you might also feel nudged to ponder about the relationship between the artworks and their audience.

Operating time

teamLab Planets is open Monday to Sunday, from 9am?to 10pm.

Please note that some installations and even the entire venue itself may be closed at certain dates. For more complete information, check out the official website of teamLab Planets.

Best time to visit

Pretty much any time of the year is a great time to visit. Some installations do have seasonal features, keeping things fresh even for returning visitors. This spring, from March 1?to April 30, teamLab Planets will unveil cherry blossom themes on two of their artworks (more on this below!). You may want to time your visit to coincide with this special, limited-time exhibition.

The popular attraction draws crowds all year- and all day-long. You can opt for mornings and after sundowns at 6pm?or later when crowds are relatively thinner.

The venue has a luggage storage facility, making it the perfect drop-by to squeeze into your itinerary right from or before the airport.

What to expect

There are two main sections at teamLab Planets: Water section and Garden section. You can start from either, but insiders recommend starting with the Water section to get the most out of your time here.

This is not an exhaustive list of all the exhibitions you'll find here, because we think it's more fun to discover them yourself!?

So, here are some highlights that will convince you to put teamLab Planets on your Tokyo itinerary:

Water area

As the name suggests, there are some attractions in this section where you will be expected to brace up to knee-length water. That said, you won't be soaked all the time as "water" refers more to the fluid nature of the installations, how they move and change with ease and engagement.

Shorts will be provided if you'd like to change beforehand. If you wish to skip the Water section or are unwilling to bare your legs, you can opt out of this zone and enjoy the Garden section instead. There will be towels provided after each section where your feet are submerged.

Waterfall of Light Particles at the Top of an Incline

Your journey starts with scaling a watery incline path toward a waterfall atop, giving you the first glimpse at light and water interaction that will play out through some of your later encounters.?

The climb is moderately challenging, and as you get closer to the top, you’ll get to observe the waterfall’s dazzling motion and the sound of the rushing water.

Pro tip: The water level here only grazes your ankle, but if you’d like to skip this part for any reason, let the staff nearby know and they will guide you to the next area.

Drawing on the Water Surface Created by the Dance of Koi and People

According to the team, this section is a favourite among younger visitors and you can immediately see why?— wading through warm water chasing colorful koi certainly is fun! Even better, touching the swishing fish will turn them into bursts of flowers.?

The flowers change every season and this coming March, the venue has announced that the koi swimming on the water's surface will scatter into cherry blossoms in spring. The cherry blossoms feature will be on view from March 1?to April 30. Now, that's a good reason to schedule your visit!

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsRNptTOniw[/embed]

Pro tip: Keep in mind that the pool is about knee-deep for most adults. If you're visiting with young kids, you may want to prepare a change of clothes.

Ephemeral Solidified Light

Adjoining the koi pond is a smaller room that can feel more intimate. The cooler water temperature also reflects the different personality of the room compared to the warm koi pond.?

Hold out your hand towards the dripping water and have it play out a coordinated magic of light and liquid that will light up the whole room.

Pro tip: The small room is located in a corner, toward the end of the koi pond room. The entryway may be unassuming and a little hard to spot. Simply move your way across and toward the corner of the koi pond to reach it.

The Infinite Crystal Universe

This one is certainly tailor-made for Instagram. In person it’s a fascinating walk through curtains of shimmering lights, but the visual is rendered even more magical through a screen.

Try pointing your camera or phone towards the mirrored floor and wall, as it will give off the effect of peering into a kaleidoscope.

Pro tip: There are three?connected rooms in the Infinite Crystal Universe section, where you can marvel at the crystalline installations and take more gorgeous pictures hopefully with less crowd. One of these rooms contains an iPad that even allows you to play with the light display, which can also be done through a special app (iOS and Play Store).

While there is no discernible sign pointing out directions to these rooms, Japanese and English speaking staff are ready to guide you through them; just ask them where to go next.

Floating in the Falling Universe of Flowers

A planetarium of flowers where you can lie down and feel as if — just like the title?— you're floating in a universe of blooms.

For a limited time in spring, from March 1?until April 30, this installation will feature cherry blossoms falling and filling the entire space. Check out a preview here!

Pro tip: Lying underneath the digital flower shower may put you into a soothing, trance-like state. Expect an almost-hypnotizing effect, so take it easy when you get up!

Expanding Three-dimensional Existence in Transforming Space

This tactile playroom is filled with colorful spheres that change colors when touched, exemplifying the fluid nature of exhibitions in the water section.

Anytime you touch one of the spheres, not only will that change the colour of that specific sphere but it will also transform the tone of the room and the other spheres.

You and your fellow visitors thus essentially "collaborate" to create an ever-changing colour palette of the installation.

Pro tip: According to the team, the spheres can transform into nine?different hues and the room into three?(blue, red, green)?— a total of 12 colors. Go ahead, touch as many spheres as you can, and see if you can capture the entire combination.

Garden area

The Garden section encompasses the outdoor pieces, including the curving bench and the fiery pillar you may have noticed outside.?

Here are some other Garden area highlights inside the venue.

Moss Garden of Resonating Microcosms

The gentle fog that envelops this expanse of moss evokes a misty morning in a Japanese zen garden. Try touching one of the silvery eggs and it’ll "sing", emitting a soft echoing noise. Come sundown, the ovoids then become illuminated with colorful lights.?

The Moss Garden is the only exhibition in a semi-outdoor setting and remains open even if it’s raining (umbrellas are available on site!)

Pro tip: As mentioned, the installation looks different at different times of the day, so it’s a good reason to schedule your visit well to catch the different incarnations of the eggs.

Floating Flower Garden

Just like the Infinite Crystal Universe, the mirrored surroundings give it a reflective pond-quality that makes you feel as if you're sandwiched between beds of flowers.

The living orchids retract when the room is empty and gently descend when they sense presence underneath. The orchids?— creatures that can live without soil — continue to grow and bloom in the room, even when they appear to be suspended mid-air.

Pro tip: You can carry a piece of teamLab Planets home in the form of orchids or sculptures at the flower shop out front, as all flowers sold at the shop come from this exact room!

Additional facilities

The venue has a vegan ramen shop, gift shop and flower shop.

How to get there

By bus

The venue is about a three-minute walk from Shin-Toyosu Station bus stop, You can take 都05-2 bus that runs from Tokyo Station, passes through Ginza & Tsukiji Outer Market, and get off here. Tokyo’s bus fare typically costs about 210 yen (S$1.90), regardless of distance.

By train

teamLab Planets is right in front of Yurikamome Monorail line Shin-Toyosu Station stop. There are a number of transportation options connected to this line, for example the Keikyu line if you're coming from the airport.

Coming from Haneda Airport? It takes only about a 15 to 20-minute car ride, but you can also easily take trains from the airport and stop at Shin-Toyosu Station.

Tickets

Prices vary by age, with free entry for children under the age of three?and a discounted rate for visitors with disabilities.

Until February

All days

Adults (18 Years and above): JPY 3,800
Junior high school / High school:?JPY 2,300
Children (Ages 4-12): JPY 1,300
Under 3 years of age: Free
Disability discount: JPY 1,900

From March

Monday – Friday

Adults (18 Years and above): JPY 3,800
Junior high school / High school: JPY 2,800
Children (Ages 4-12): JPY 1,500
Under 3 years of age: Free
Disability discount: JPY 1,900

Weekends, Holidays, Special Periods

Adults (18 Years and above): JPY 4,200
Junior high school / High school:?JPY 2,800
Children (Ages 4-12): JPY 1,500
Under 3 years of age: Free
Disability discount: JPY 2,100

You can purchase the tickets onsite or through their website.

Where to stay & nearby attractions

teamLab Planets is located in the heart of Toyosu and there's no lack of great accommodation options nearby. In fact, there's one Hotel JAL City Tokyo Toyosu, just a five-minute-walk away from the venue.

You'll find Ginza nearby, a popular shopping area dotted with luxury boutiques and department stores.

Also close by is Tsukiji Outer Market, where you can sample fresh seafood and market produce, or get scrumptious snacks to bring back home. Don't miss out on seeing the famous Unicorn Gundam Statue as well as other attractions and exhibitions around Odaiba.

ALSO READ:?Top 7 must-visit coastal getaways in Vietnam: Popular destinations and lesser-known gems

This article was first published in Wego.

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