If you are in Tokyo with kids and keeping to a tight budget, Tokyo Fire Museum is a place you would not want to miss. Conveniently located right above Yotsuya-Sanchome station (just 3 stops from Shinjuku Station via Tokyo Metro), entry to Tokyo Fire Museum is FREE and it can easily keep the kids occupied for half a day!
Our Tokyo apartment was located near Shinjuku-Gyoen station, which was just 1 stop away from Yotsuya-Sanchome station, and we decided to walk there. Since we were there during autumn foliage season, Shinjuku-Gyoen was actually our main destination for the day. We kept Tokyo Fire Museum as our wet-weather plan, which we had to put into action when it rained on the morning we planned to visit Shinjuku-Gyoen. (Click here for our itinerary.)
The moment we reached there, the boys grabbed the brochure and started their stamp rally. If you saw our post on Mother Farm, you would know that our boys LOVE stamp rallies.
After collecting their stamp, they spotted the helicopter hanging from the ceiling in the foyer and went crazy!
Without further hesitation, we went on our tour around Tokyo Fire Museum, starting from the basement. We took the staircase which went around the tall ladder from the fire engine in the basement.
In the basement, there were several fire engines on display. Real fire engines that were super retro.
Sadly they were all behind barriers and we couldn’t like hop on the fire engines. It would have been 10x more cool if we were allowed to go up to take photos. But we weren’t.
So we just stood around and admired the old-school fire engines that were amazingly well-maintained.
There was an effort to include fire engines from various fire station in Tokyo.
While the real fire engines were out of bounds, there was a little fire engine kiddy ride where the kids could hop on. There were some buttons for the kids to press to activate the siren and lights.
And there was also an ambulance that we could climb into.
We spotted a kids costume section with 3 different types of firemen uniforms for the kids to dress up in.
If you are still unsure of how to match the helmets to the coats, maybe the figurines at the side would help?
The kids chose one set of uniform each and dressed up accordingly. KAWAII!!
Oops, I think the helmet may have been a bit too big for the almost 3 year old MY.
Moving on moving on… That was just the basement. We went on to the next level where we first came across some photos of actual fire-fighting scenes. These were real stuff – not movies or dramas. I have new-found admiration for firemen.
This led to an exhibit with moving toys to show how a fire rescue operation took place in a kids-friendly manner.
And there was also a cartoon theatre next to it.
The exhibits were very engaging for the kids and we were stuck here for a pretty long time. Little MY wanted to watch the toys fire-fighting scene over and over again!
When we finally moved on, we reached a make-shift home where the kids could learn about basic home safety.
At each danger zone, there was a button they could press and a cartoon picture of the possible hazard was shown.
It was extremely relatable and even without knowledge of Japanese, the kids could recognize the dangers. They were guilty of many of them! Like jumping on sofas and playing with fans. -_-
Moving on, we came to a huge techy-looking board called ‘response system’. Not quite sure what it did.
Next, we came to a life-size fire engine. Or at least part of it.
Unlike the ones in the basement that were off-limits, this one was available for the kids to climb on to take photos. And there were costumes by the side for them to dress up again.
Besides driving the fire engine in firemen costumes, there were also some fire-fighting equipment that the kids could play with. However they were too heavy for my boys.
So we just made do with admiring the glass display of equipment.
Then came everyone’s favourite part of the museum – the helicopter flight simulator!
The simulator brought the boys across the skies of Tokyo City (spot Tokyo Tower!) and to fight a fire.
We had to drag the boys out of the simulator by telling them there were other people waiting to play with it. Before leaving the level, we checked out the uniform of the…. firemen band? I have heard of army (military) band and police band but not sure I have head of firemen band??
So we completed our tour of modern day fire-fighting and moved on to the next level which kind of brought us back in time. To a time where there were no fire engines and horses were used in fire-fighting efforts.
We saw some pretty cool and old-school fire-fighting equipment.
I found it puzzling that there was a fire-fighting horse carriage and a fire-fighting motorcycle side by side. Were these two from the same era? I would think motorcycles came way after horses?
Anyway just to give us an idea of how those old-school fire-fighting equipment worked, there was a model of a fire-fighting scene from that era.
There were even uniforms from the past on display!
We were brought further and further back in time. From the costumes on display, it seemed we have entered the samurai era.
And again, there were intricate models showing us how people fought fires without any fancy equipment.
Using sheer manpower by rushing to the river to gather water to put out the fires.
I just love these tiny models. You can just sense the chaos and panic through each figurine. Such fine details!
Before we knew it, we were back to reality where there was a room screening an animation and fire-engine toys for the kids to play with.
We bummed there to let the kids play to their hearts content. Not that we were in any hurry to go anywhere since it was still raining.
We checked out the top floor which was actually an observatory and on clear days, you should be able to see Tokyo Tower. But we were there on a rainy day so there was no view whatsoever. I also spotted a sign that indicated a nursing room.
Tokyo Fire Museum is a great wet-weather plan. We were there the entire morning and after the rain stopped, we resumed our tour of Shinjuku Gyoen which was nearby.
I was amazed by how much there was to see and do considering the museum was FREE. The boys particularly loved the helicopter flight simulator and dressing up. I enjoyed checking out the retro fire engines and elaborate displays which gave visitors a good sense of how fire-fighting in Tokyo evolved over time.
I recommend dropping by Tokyo Fire Museum if you are visiting Shinjuku area with kids!
Information on Tokyo Fire Museum:
Getting There: Tokyo Fire Museum is located directly above Yostsuya-Sanchome station (Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line). If using JR Pass, the nearest JR station is Yotsuya Station which is 1km away.
Opening Hours: 0930 – 1700 (Tue – Sun)
- Closed on Mondays
- Closed on the day after public holidays.
- Closed on 1 Sept, 1 Oct and 17 Jan.
- Closed during year-end from 28 Dec to 4 Jan.
Official Website: Homepage
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