On my most recent trip to Japan, a friend and I were finally able to visit teamLab Borderless in Tokyo. This is a stunning virtual art exhibition you’ve likely seen on Instagram more than once due to its popularity.
There is something for all ages at teamLab Borderless. If you spend enough time there, you can get amazing photos. Or, if you want to forego the stunning Instagram shots, you can live in the moment and experience a magical immersive experience.
Although I had already seen a ton of pictures of the exhibits online, I nevertheless still found myself in utter awe at times or surprised by an exhibit I didn’t know about. Here’s some of the highlights of my visit and tips to help you get the most out of your trip to teamLab Borderless.
These are some of the notable exhibits and areas:
Flutter of Butterflies Beyond Borders, Floating Nest – Lie down or sit down on a giant net in the dark while images fly all over the walls and music plays. It felt like an electronic version of stargazing!
Wander through the Crystal World – This exhibit took my breath away. Long strands of LED lights hang from the ceiling, making the exhibit feel like walking into a gorgeous crystal chandelier. You’re walking inside a light show while majestic music plays. People can manipulate the light show is by choosing different settings on an electronic screen next to the exhibit. Tip: the floor is a mirror, so dress accordingly since a short skirt would show your underwear in the reflection.
Athletics Forest – Next to a kids’ area, the athletics forest allows you or often kids to play around in the exhibits. Be sure to check out the Aerial Climbing through a Flock of Colored Birds or the Weightless Forest of Resonating Life. Tip: if you and/or your kids plan on doing more than just looking at the athletics area, wear tennis shoes. The athletics forest is no place for high heels or flip flops!
Future Park – Next to the Athletics Forest, Future Park is a series of exhibits geared towards children. It includes areas for coloring, a fun virtual fruit slicing game, and many more fun and interactive exhibits. I’m not sure if it technically fell in future park or another zone, but one of my favorite exhibits resembled giant glowing balloons.
Universe of water particles on a rock where people gather – This big room is another place you see a lot on Instagram. Graphics on the wall keep changing, and optically it looks like water is flowing onto a “rock” against the wall where people sit or stand and pose for pictures.
The Forest of Resonating Lamps – This was the exhibit I was most anxious to see. It’s so popular that you have to wait in a really long line–I think we waited over an hour. Small groups are allowed in the exhibit for two minutes and then need to exit the room, so bring your camera A-game.
En Tea House
If you want a break from exploring, have some fresh tea and green tea ice cream at the teamLab Borderless tea house to see amazing optical illusions that are tied to your drink and ice cream. This experience is not included in the cost of admission: for a drink and ice cream it’s approximately 1200 yen, including tax. The cost it is really worth it as an excuse to relax and for a relaxing unique experience. You can learn more here.
I recommend carving out a good portion of your day if you want to get the most out of your visit. We went early, but we weren’t in line before teamLab Borderless opened, so we had to wait in line outside for at least 45 minutes.
Be aware, teamLab Borderless does feel crowded at times and there are a lot of people roaming around. But it’s to be expected since it’s a hot attraction.
Despite the fact that they control how fast people go into the exhibit and only sell a limited amount of tickets, you can explore the exhibits for as long as you want. My friend and I walked around and took pictures at a leisurely pace. You can wander all over, since there isn’t a set order to the exhibits, and you will probably find yourself backtracking a lot to make sure you haven’t missed any exhibits.
The facility is huge–10,000 square meters, and has art that forms “one borderless world.” In the words of teamLab Borderless:
People lose themselves in the artwork world. The borderless works transform according to the presence of people, and as we immerse and meld ourselves into this unified world, we explore a continuity among people, as well as a new relationship that transcends the boundaries between people and the world.teamLab Borderless Website
I was staying in Akihabara, Tokyo, and took two trains to reach Aomi Station in Odaiba, Tokyo, which is also called Palette Town. It took about an hour by train from Akihabara. Thankfully, teamLab Borderless is a close walk from the train station.
Aside from its Japan locations, teamLab has locations in Shanghai and Singapore, and upcoming temporary exhibits elsewhere, so don’t despair if you’re not getting to Japan yet.
Tickets are 3200 Yen for adults, 1000 Yen for children, and 1600 Yen for Disabled Persons (a person who has a disability certificate and one accompanying person). Tickets can sell out, so I recommend buying online before your visit. As mentioned earlier, you can also pay extra to experience En Tea House.
Nearby Things to Do
After you’re done with teamLab Borderless, there are other nearby attractions. There’s a giant ferris wheel, Megaweb Toyota City Showcase, and more. JNTO has a good summary of some of the nearby attractions and hotels.
Eri and I went to Venus Fort, a nearby shopping center modeled after 17th-Century Europe. Although it is compared to Caesar’s Palace in Vegas, it actually reminded me of the Venetian Hotel in Vegas. The stores encompass things like home decor, fashion, and gifts, and there are restaurants. We ate lunch together, where I tried beef tongue and torero for the first time. Later we got sugary drinks for a refreshing dessert.
Overall, teamLab Borderless was as stunning and magical as Instagrammers make it look. All the electronic art and exhibits were amazing to experience, and I definitely recommend people to visit if they want to experience a new world for a few hours.
Recap of Tips:
I’ve read of some people having good luck going early so that they can skip the line for the Forest of Resonating Lamps and get better photos.
Be careful of wearing skirts since a couple exhibits have mirrors on the floor.
Buy tickets in advance online.
Plan accordingly for the exhibit you’re only allowed to spend two minutes in.
Set enough time aside to really explore and appreciate the exhibits.