teamLab Borderless Tokyo: A Complete Visitor's Guide

Sunday, 4 November 2018

        If you ever find yourself in Tokyo, Japan, the teamLab Borderless exhibit is a must see. I've been to a number of digital art museums similar to this, but I think I had one of the best experiences at this one.  If you enjoy art museums, interactive exhibits, or just beautiful lights in general, I highly recommend you go to teamLab Borderless. With that being said, I wanted to share with you my experience and some tips so that you can also have the best experience! Whether you've just added this to your travel wish-list, or you are already planning on going, this will be worth your read!

A bit about teamLab Borderless

        Taken from their website, "teamLab Borderless is a group of artworks that form one borderless world. Artworks move out of rooms, communicate with other works, influence, and sometimes intermingle with each other with no boundaries". teamLab uses digital technology to create dynamic, interactive, and breathtakingly beautiful exhibits. There are a number of different exhibits around the world, varying in theme.

Buying Tickets

        It's not surprising that teamLab's exhibits are wildly popular. Although you don't need to buy tickets in advance, I highly recommend you do so. Most days will be sold out and chances are you won't be able to buy tickets the day of. I bought my tickets a few weeks in advance, and already there were a lot of days that were sold out. I can't stress it enough, but buy in advance!! You can buy them online here. Adult ticket costs JPY 3,200 and kids are JPY 1000 (about $37CAD and $11.50CAD, respectively). Make sure you buy the correct date because you can't change or cancel it!

How To Get There

teamLab Borderless is located in the MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM, in Odaiba Palette Town, 1-3-8 Aomi, Koto-ku, Tokyo, Japan.

Directions:
If you are taking the public transit, you should either go to Tokyo Teleport Station (Rinkai Line), or Aomi Station (Yurikamome Line). From there, it's just a short 10 minute walk to the building. It's useful to use the large ferris wheel as a landmark! The building is right beside it.
Alternatively, you can just take a cab.

What to Expect When You Arrive

        When you arrive at the exhibit location, you will likely notice a few lines outside. Make sure you ask an employee which line you should go to (one is for people with tickets, one is for people wanting to buy). You don't want to accidentally be lining up for the wrong one! I would highly recommend you arrive early in the day because the later it is, the more crowded it will be. The hours are: Mon-Thurs 10:00-19:00; Fri-Sat 10:00-21:00; Sun & Holidays 10:00-20:00.

        If you have a large bag with you, you will be asked to put it away in a locker. They have a lot of coin lockers (you get your coin back after) in the building. However, unless necessary, I would avoid bringing large bags. That's just extra time you waste trying to look for an empty locker. Small bags are fine though!

        Cameras are more than welcome, so don't be afraid to bring out those big boys! (Should be obvious, but no tripods or anything too crazy)

How to Plan Your Route

         Once you step inside the exhibit, you might be a bit overwhelmed. Where should you go first? What path should I take? Well, there are 2 ways to go about it.  If you're here to just relax, wander around, and get lost, then all you need to do is follow your heart. Okay, but really. Just take whatever path you want. But be careful not to miss any! It's a large space and you might completely miss an installation without even realizing. I'll be listing out all the exhibits, so make sure you check them off as you go!

        On the other hand, if a main purpose of yours is to take amazing photos, then I recommend you hitting the popular rooms first, while it's not as crowded. Be strategic about it. If you go to a room and notice it's really crowded, I would just wait a bit. Chances are, people are coming and going that there may be that small window of emptiness.

        You might be wondering how long it takes to see the entire exhibit. Each person experiences things differently. I saw some people just sitting and relaxing, while others were in and out after a photo. In general, however, I would budget about 3-4 hours for this exhibit.

Exhibits

Crystal World

        This one is, arguably, the most popular and "Instagram-able" one. It's also my personal favourite. The Crystal World is an insane installation of endless strings of beautifully coloured LED lights. Honestly, I could get lost in here for hours.



Forest of Resonating Lamps

        An infinity mirror-style room filled with lamps. These lamps rhythmically glow and fade, emitting beautifully coloured light. This is also one of the most popular rooms. It also happens to be the only one with a time limit. There's usually quite a long line for this one, and each group of about 20-30 people get 1 minute to enjoy this room.



Universe of Water Particles on a Rock Where People Gather

        This popular "room" is designed to be a virtual three-dimensional space. You can stand on the rock and the water will move around you, as if you've affected its flow.


Forest of Flowers

        This large, colourful space is the first thing you will walk into when you enter the exhibition. Not a bad way to start off the adventure. You'll notice that the seasons change gradually as you move around this installation space. Flowers of all sorts will bloom and wither. Apparently, this installation is neither prerecorded or on loop. The visuals are created in real time by a computer program and thus no visual state will ever be the same. How cool is that?



Light Vortex

        When you step into this room, you'll feel like you walked into a night club (or at least that's how I felt). Using light lines, they create three-dimensional images and immerse you in a "cage" of lights.
This is one of the smaller rooms and tends to get crowded really fast so I would suggest you going here early!



Memory of Topography

        Unlike most of the installations, this isn't one of those open space areas where you can wander however you like. This one has an actual entry point and a single one-directional path to follow. This installation depicts a rural landscape. It transitions back and forth from a bright green rice field, to a matured golden coloured field.



Black Waves

        This was one of the more calming, almost meditative, rooms. The rhythmic movements of the waves, the relaxing musiceverything about this room was so beautifully soothing. There's even a few beanbags in the room to let you just sit and relax (and maybe take a nap...).


Weightless Forest of Resonating Life

        This is a fun, interactive room filled with large balloon-like floating objects. I would say this is more for fun, rather than visually appealing. A super popular room for kids!



        This concludes the list of installations that I took photos of (which I would also consider to be the more popular ones). There's definitely a lot more to see, so check out their website here if you want to see the full list. I highly recommend you getting familiar with them so you don't miss any!

        Hope this guide was helpful! Which installation would you want to see the most? :) And if you've already been, which one was your favourite! I'd love to know.

Love, Lena 









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