Visiting the teamLab Borderless digital art museum in Tokyo is like swallowing a rainbow and riding on a unicorn through the forest at midnight. Yes people, it really is that amazing. Visiting teamLab Borderless is something you absolutely have to do on your trip to Tokyo.
So what is teamLab Borderless?
Well, it’s a set of digital art installations created by the collaborative art team, teamLab. The art is literally borderless, it moves from room to room and changes all the time. This creates an immersible 3D world full of color and sounds and you can find yourself wandering around for hours in the 10,000 square meter world. The guys at teamLab encourages you to play and explore with the art and share it on your social media channels.
How do you book tickets for teamLab Borderless?
Best is to book from their website or the other verified vendors they mention on there, such as Lawson, etc. Be wary of third-party sales as they are very strict in checking your tickets before you can enter. It’s also a good idea to print your ticket as some people have trouble getting their phones to scan at the museum. The attendants kept saying ‘Display on brightest mode!’ If you can’t get your phone to scan you will have to find a way to print the ticket there (I didn’t see any printing shops).
Ticket price: 3200yen
How to get to teamLab Borderless
Access: teamLab Borderless is located in Palette Town, Odaiba, Tokyo. The easiest way to get there is to take the train to Aomi station on the Yurikamome line. You can connect to the Yurikamome line at Shinbashi station via the Yamamote JR, Ginza Metro or Asakusa Metro lines. I really enjoyed the train ride as you get an amazing view of Tokyo Bay. You can even spot the life-sized Gundam model from the train. Walk straight out of the train station and enter through the Toyota museum to get to teamLab Borderless.
Note: Make sure you have the right location – teamLab Planets is in Toyosu and the MORI Building art museum is in Roppongi. You want to go to teamLab Borderless in Odaiba.
Times: 10am-7pm weekdays; 10am-9pm Saturday and Sunday. The EN Teahouse opens at 11am.
A few tips to help you plan your visit to teamLab Borderless
Buy tickets beforehand
teamLab Borderless is fast becoming one of the most popular things to do for tourists and locals in Tokyo. This means you need to be quick about booking your tickets. You can only print your tickets or download the QR code from 00h00 on the day of your reservation.
Wear closed shoes
Open shoes like sandals and high heels are not allowed in the Athletic Forest room and the teamLab Borderless website urges visitors to wear closed shoes as the display area is dark and the floor uneven in some places.
The colorful art will move all over you, so if you wear a plain white t-shirt or dress you can take pretty cool photos.
Take a small bag
They don’t allow big bags inside the display areas and have lockers on the premises where you can store your bag. It’s best just to go with only your camera or phone because even in some rooms, like the Forest of Resonating Lamps, you have to wear your bag in front of you, which looks pretty awkward on photos.
Set out enough time in your day
You need to set out at least two to three hours of your day to explore all the digital art and rooms.
If you’re sensitive to flashing lights
I would not recommend this if you are sensitive to bright and flashing lights. Unfortunately.
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What to see
You will get lost – that is the whole idea. In the introduction to the digital art, while you are waiting in-line, teamLab encourages you to explore with no maps or directions on purpose. You will have to feel along the wall for curtains hiding secret rooms – if there is not a queue to point them out for you. Don’t worry, this happens often, there’s almost always queues so you won’t miss a room. Just go Japanese and wait (patiently) for your turn to enter.
First you step into the Forest of Flowers. Everything around you will be moving and changing colors. I managed to spot the Peacock and the Tiger digital art pieces in front of me on the floor. It’s an overwhelmingly pleasant attack on the senses and not like any type of art exhibition I’ve seen before. Because the art keeps on moving it’s quite difficult to get a proper photo. It’s easier to make a video of what you see.
I stumbled into a room with what looked like moving black and white brush strokes.
I found the Crystal World next. It’s a room full of mirrors and flashing LED lights and you really can’t make out top from bottom. It is SO cool. If you have the teamLab Borderless app on your phone you can change the color of the lights.
While walking through the hallways and searching for more rooms, a bunch of butterflies flutters overhead and some eerie looking rabbits are walking over you.
There’s the amazing Universe of Water Particles that really looks like a waterfall.
If you’re getting tired of exploring, try to find the room with the beanbags. When I was there the ‘Rolling black waves’ was tumbling around the room. They look like something from a traditional Japanese woodblock painting.
‘The Nest’ is a bit scary. You step onto a huge trampoline suspended in mid-air at an angle. The butterflies caught up with me again in this room.
Finally, I found the instafamous Forest of Resonating Lamps. The moment you step in the illusion begins. Hundreds of real lamps hang from the ceiling, flashing different colors and reflecting in the mirrors, making you think up is down and down is up. The staff do police here – don’t touch and don’t put anything down on the mirror floor to take a photo. They’ll usher you out of there so quickly you won’t even know what happened.
Memory of topography is next. It’s darker in here and they encourage you to move through the installed props while lights flash a story of the seasons across the room. Beware, the floor is very uneven.
The Athletic Forest has some activities for kids (and adults) and is quite fun to explore.
I visited EN Teahouse last. The entrance is hidden before the Athletic Forest. You can order a few different types of matcha. I had a cold matcha with yuzu. As soon as they place the bowl in front of you, a flower begins to bloom in it (don’t drink immediately). I really enjoyed the way the flowers played around you while you have your tea.
I think I might have missed two rooms (the Grid Room) as they were undergoing maintenance on the day I visited.
A visit to teamLab Borderless in Tokyo is a must. Even if you don’t like traditional art museums, this cannot be compared to that. It’s all digital, immersible, and helps you escape the real world even if only for a short time. You can wander around in this place for hours.
Let me know in the comments of you’ve been here. What did you think of teamLab Borderless?