Meguro Parasitological Museum

The Meguro Parasitological Museum is a place I have been absolutely OBSESSED with for a number of years now. I dreamed of going someday ever since I knew that it existed... and I'm happy to report that I have now BEEN THERE!! I stepped foot in this holy land for parasite enthusiasts!! And it was absolutely amazing.

The Meguro Parasitological Museum is a small, two-story building in Meguro Ward, Tokyo, housing over 60,000 specimens of various parasites. Running entirely off of donations and merchandise since admission is free, the museum also offers educational activities and publishes research papers. On the first floor, there are specimens and all sorts of movies and information about various types of parasites. The second floor, however, is then dedicated to specifically creatures that can parasitize humans!! This museum (in its old location, I believe) is also featured in a music video by one of my favorite artists, Jun Togawa, for her song Konchuugun! You can see the museum in this video here from 1:26 onward!
I absolutely could not believe that I finally got to go when I visited Japan in March. It was everything I wanted it to be!! Contrary to my slight worries, I was not grossed out at all, even though there were some very yucky things on display inside!! They have coin lockers inside so that you don't have to carry your bag around the museum, which is pretty small, but packed with information and all sorts of real parasites!!

I should also mention before I get started that the walk there was absolutely lovely. We took the train to Meguro Station and made the ~15 minute walk across the Meguro River. The neighborhood is very pleasant and it was a lovely change of pace from Akihabara. After exploring the museum we were quite tired (there was a steep slope on the road, though I can't remember which way it goes, haha) so we jumped on the bus on the way back to Meguro Station.

When we first entered the museum, there was a big sign that said to take a photo with your phone camera's flash on. When you did that, your photo showed secret text about the lifestyles of parasites!! It was really cool!! There was so much to see inside the museum itself. They had interactive touch screens with text in both Japanese and English that made consuming all the information very easy. And there were so, so many real samples of so many different things...!!
In addition to all of the amazing samples - some over 100 years old!! - they had wax models of parasites, and a huge collection of archived research notes from the founder of the museum and many other scientists who have contributed to the research done in the building.

And, of course, I can't talk about the Meguro Parasitological Museum without the two things I was the most excited about!! I did indeed get to see the nearly 30 foot long tapeworm!! It was amazing!! It was as tall as me and folded over several times!! Because of health and safety reasons, I wasn't able to play with the rope that lets you imagine how long it is - you can see it to the left of the tapeworm in this image, though! The very thin end is the tapeworm's head!

Aaaaaaand I did get my parasite keychain!!! I got to pick which one I wanted out of three that they had at the time. I picked this guy because I thought he looked silly being curled into a loop - the other ones were more like flat squiggles, which was not as visually interesting. I have yet to put him on anything, though!! I'm not sure where I want him...
Finally getting to visit the museum after all these years was a dream come true!! I honestly would love to go back a second time if (when!!) I get to Japan again! You can see the museum's website right here - they have an English homepage too!

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