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A Decidely Non Creepy Visit To The Meguro Parasitological Museum

How disappointingly bad this museum was is the only thing scary about it.

By 2 min read 3

Meguro Parasitological Museum bills itself as the world’s only museum dedicated solely to parasites. It was opened in 1953 by Kamegai Satoru, a doctor who was much moved by parasitic diseases affecting Japanese people in poor post ­war sanitary conditions.

I had already read much about this museum and hence, the excitement was palpable. I had visions in my head of Hollywood movies where lab technicians working examining parasitic samples while all around them weird and deadly creatures would silently crawl out of their glass jars.

worms

The museum can be reached after following a circuitous route, about fifteen minutes on foot, starting from the Meguro Station. There are hardly any directions to the place and the illustrated map outside the station can lead you everywhere but the museum itself.

As I entered the first floor, I was instantly disappointed. The space was rather small and contrary to my belief that a livelier parasite culture awaited me all the specimens were safely ensconced in identical glass jars.

Another disappointment was the almost complete lack of English language explanation for what I was seeing. Contrary to other popular Tokyo hotspots which helps foreigners with good English translations, the Meguro Parasitological Museum falls short. The detailed explanations on parasites are mostly in Japanese with only few cases featured English labels.

The sole exhibit which stands out and adds some spice to the otherwise lack of variety is a 29 ft tapeworm that was once removed from the body of a Yokohama resident. It makes you shiver for a moment, to think that such a thing can exist inside your body. There is a ribbon display beside the exhibit to give the audience a feel of how long 29 ft. actually is.

tapeworm

There are certain historical literature samples on display which gives an insight into scientific exchanges that the founders of the museum engaged in. It’s just a couple of floors and can easily be covered in less than half an hour. There’s a small store selling merchandise such as t­-shirts and hand bags.

I left the place feeling rather incomplete. Granted that there are no admission fees, but the museum could still do a lot more to enhance its appeal. Failing which, it isn’t worth much a visit unless you are in the neighborhood and just happen to lose your way and bump into the place.

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  • Not impressed with this post says:

    First of all, it’s a free museum. Expecting a free museum to be like Hollywood is just setting yourself up for a disappointment. I went to this museum last month and had a great time.

    This museum runs on donations (and judging from this cynical article – I’m sure you didn’t even bother), so if you want a fancy, high-quality museum, go to one that actually charges people. There are plenty in Tokyo. Take your pick.

    But don’t hate on a free museum that runs on donations, just for fun.

    • Deepayan Bhadra says:

      Thank you for your feedback. I am aware that this is a museum that runs on donations and there is a genuine history associated with the place. It is just one point of view being expressed here. I believe that everyone may not agree with it. I sincerely apologize if this post offended you. And I truly appreciate your honest feedback.

  • Tintinaujapon says:

    I quite enjoyed the place when I visited nearly ten years ago, but that says more about me than the museum perhaps. The huge tapeworm is definitely the centrepiece of the museum, but there are plenty of other hideous pickled parasites and photos of what their effects on their hosts were. The most curious thing about the museum some time ago was that it was apparently, at that time, a ‘date’ site for teenage couples, requiring the purchase of matching parasites in plastic.

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