Cool Japan

We decided to become more adventurous and realized; outside of this beautiful city there must be some spots to visit.

This time that idea took us to Leiden and Volkenkunde Museum. We signed up for a fun instameet to discover the museum before opening hours.

They have just opened the expo “Cool Japan” and it is absolutely exquisite. If you love Japan or have no clue, you surely will be pleasantly surprised. It’s worth the trip if only it we’re just to meet Pepper the robot.


The expo was build together with Japanese insiders and they amassed pieces that I can’t even believe they got their hands on. For example there are original Studio Ghibli movie frames, Lady Gaga’s Hello Kitty heels & much more.


One of the most interesting things of this exposition is that what we perceive outside of Japan to be cool might actually not be as cool in Japan. The expo really focuses on showing you the rich history of Japan, its visual storytelling and its crazy excesses. It submerges you in a world that if your unfamiliar with might be an explosion of monsters, colors and madness. And if you are familiar: it will put a smile on your face.


The museum is more than just this expo. Its fully dedicated to ethnology (Volkenkunde) and is split up in different world-zones introducing you to the rich cultures that inhabit these places. We love the layout and the building itself too. To give you a glimpse: there is a gorgeous Inuit expo including a real life totem pole.

They also have a extra expo showing the fascination the Japanese had with the Dutch. Fun Fact: the Dutch were the first and only country who traded Silk with Japan. Their history goes back 500 years. To the point that many words in Japanese descend from Dutch. For example: koppu which comes from kop. Or the one we really known for: biirru which is bier.


Costs & how to get there:

  • Take the train from CS to Leiden CS. Return €18
  • The museum is a 5 min walk from the station. Adress: Steenstraat 1, 2312 BS Leiden
  • Entree fee €14. For more details have a look here.
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