I recently went to the NHK museum of broadcasting and I was quite surprised it was pretty interesting. The museum doesn’t seem to be very famous as I have never seen it on any websites or in any guide books about Tokyo but I really recommend visiting if you’d like to learn about the history of television in Tokyo (and besides, it’s actually FREE!). The museum has information leaflets in English and also some of the information posted about the artifacts are also in English. I was surprised by the volume of equipment on exhibition – the vast majority of it consists of TV cameras, microphones, radios and television sets ranging from the earliest models from the 20’s right up to the 90’s. Some of the exhibits are also quite interactive – some of the cameras are set up to a TV monitor so you can see how you would turn out on TV, but one exhibit that stood out was a live camera which has been set up in front of the Tokyo Tower – you can control the camera yourself and play around with zooming or rotating the camera. The museum is also home to some costumes used in some of the NHK dramas and some posters used for promotion. There is even a small section dedicated to autographs of famous people and I was very happy to find Gackt’s autograph there! Probably the neatest thing about the museum is the top floor which is home to the ‘program library’ – you can use the computer terminal here and watch any NHK program out of an archive of literally thousands of individual titles, and the best thing is… it’s free! The only problem, and it can be quite a major one if you don’t know Japanese, is that most of the menu is written in kanji. The library does have instructions in English, but in the video archives there are not many English language videos. Lastly as to be expected, there is also the NHK Giftshop, but I didn’t see any merchandise worthy of mentioning.
By the way, the museum also happens to be conveniently located near the Tokyo Tower so if you have enough time, you can head to the tower from there. For more information about the museum check out the official site: NHK Museum Access Information