Founded in 1861, the Miyamoto-Unosuke company specializes in the manufacture, sales, repairs, and rentals of traditional Japanese drums and mikoshi, the ornate palanquin used in Shinto festivals. Their excellent quality has attracted a great deal of praise as well as an illustrious clientele of shrines, Buddhist temples, the Kabuki-za theater, and even the Imperial Household Agency’s music department.
In 1988, the company opened its huge collection of drums to the public, located on the fourth floor of its headquarters building in Nishi-Asakusa. The first of its kind in history, the Drum Museum exhibits approximately 800 drums from around the world, including the largest collection of wadaiko or Japanese drums, some dating back centuries, as well as an archive containing over 3,000 books and documents.
As diverse and amazing as the collection is the museum is relatively small-scale, crammed into one spacious hall. But it’s more than just its permanent exhibit. Be sure to check out the object labels; if it has a quaver symbol (♪) on it, it means that you are welcome to not only touch the item but also try your hand at playing.
The main Miyamoto-Unosuke store on the first floor is also worth a look, having another exhibit room upstairs where the signature drums and mikoshi palanquins are on display.
Know Before You Go
The museum can be accessed from Asakusa station (5-10 minutes away, depending on the exit) or Tawaramachi station on Ginza Line. It’s open from Wednesday to Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm.
Admission is 500 yen for adults and 150 yen for children; buy tickets at the counter on the first floor (inside the drum store), then proceed to the elevator at the back. While photography is allowed inside except for the items in glass cases, video recording is not.