(Image by Dushan Hanuska via https://www.flickr.com/photos/hanuska/5181210515/)
Nestled in the heart of Tokyo, far from the typical tourist hotspots, lies an extraordinary institution that challenges the boundaries of conventional museums. The Meguro Parasitical Museum, an unconventional and slightly eerie attraction, offers visitors a rare opportunity to explore the world of parasites. As you step inside, you’ll find yourself on a fascinating journey into a realm that’s usually hidden from view. In this article, we will delve into the intriguing world of the Meguro Parasitical Museum, detailing its history, exhibits, and the unforgettable experience it offers to those curious enough to venture inside.
A Museum Like No Other
(Image by Guilhem Vellut via https://www.flickr.com/photos/o_0/9046597260/)
The Meguro Parasitical Museum, often simply referred to as the “Parasite Museum,” is a place where science, curiosity, and a touch of the macabre converge. Founded by Dr. Satoru Kamegai, this museum is a testament to his dedication to educating the public about parasitology, a field of science dedicated to the study of parasites and their impact on both humans and animals.
The museum’s mission is clear: to shed light on these often-misunderstood creatures, showcasing their remarkable adaptations, lifecycles, and their sometimes gruesome but always intriguing coexistence with their hosts. It’s a place where visitors can learn while being simultaneously entertained and slightly unnerved.
The Fascinating History
The Meguro Parasitical Museum opened its doors in 1953 and has been drawing visitors from around the world ever since. Dr. Kamegai’s vision was to create a space where people could explore the world of parasites, demystifying these often-feared organisms and highlighting their significance in the natural world.
The museum’s collection began with Dr. Kamegai’s personal specimens but has since grown to include over 60,000 parasite specimens, making it one of the largest parasite collections in the world. The dedication of Dr. Kamegai and subsequent curators has turned this museum into a hub for parasitology enthusiasts, researchers, and curious tourists.
(Image by Guilhem Vellut via https://www.flickr.com/photos/o_0/9044378445/)
One of the standout features of the Meguro Parasitical Museum is its extensive collection of parasites. The exhibits range from preserved specimens in glass jars to detailed models and interactive displays that explain the complex relationships between parasites and their hosts.
Visitors can expect to see a staggering variety of parasites, including tapeworms, nematodes, flukes, and even parasitic insects. The museum doesn’t shy away from showcasing the sometimes gruesome aspects of parasitic life cycles, such as how certain parasites can manipulate the behaviour of their hosts.
One particularly famous exhibit is a 29-foot-long tapeworm extracted from a human host – a spine-tingling reminder of the hidden dangers that parasites can pose. There are also interactive displays where visitors can learn about parasites’ impact on ecosystems and public health.
The Parasite Zoo
A unique feature of the Meguro Parasitical Museum is its “Parasite Zoo,” where live host animals infected with parasites are on display. This section of the museum offers an opportunity to witness the parasitic relationships in action.
You can observe live crickets, fish, and other creatures as they play host to various parasites. The museum provides detailed explanations of these relationships, shedding light on the coevolution and survival strategies employed by parasites.
The museum staff is knowledgeable and eager to answer questions, making it an educational experience for visitors of all ages. It’s a chance to see first-hand how parasites have adapted to their hosts and the fascinating ways in which they have evolved over time.
A Unique and Thought-Provoking Experience
A visit to the Meguro Parasitical Museum is unlike any other museum experience you’ll encounter. It challenges preconceived notions about parasites and presents them as a vital part of our natural world. The displays are both informative and unsettling, leaving a lasting impression that encourages further exploration into the field of parasitology.
The Meguro Parasitical Museum is not your typical tourist attraction, but it’s precisely its offbeat and educational nature that makes it a must-visit destination for the curious traveller. If you’re seeking an unconventional journey into the world of science and the bizarre, the Meguro Parasitical Museum awaits with its doors wide open, ready to unravel the mysteries of parasites.
Meguro Parasitological Museum
Meguro City, Tokyo 153-0064
Approx. 12 mins walk from Meguro Station via JR Yamanote Line, Namboku Line, Mita Line, and Meguro Line
10am to 5pm
Closed on Mondays, Tuesdays, and New Year’s holidays