Small Worlds Tokyo

Small Worlds Tokyo

2,700 JPY


4.3/5 Pros

  • Very large scale modeling landscape
  • Eight very differently themed areas
  • Admission with transport ticket available Cons

  • Quite a quality gap to Miniatur Wunderland

I always feel a but of guilty and bad already before I visit scale modeling landscapes somewhere. I am a huge fan of Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg, Germany. Even though I have been to places which invested a lot of effort into their exhibition, they typically are just not even really competitive against the place, which is since years the best rated tourist attraction in my home country. Another place which might have run into the same faith is Small Worlds in Tokyo, which I visited with my wife in October 2023. Here is my review.


Small Worlds Tokyo – Location & Admission

Small Worlds is located in Ariake on the islands of Tokyo. The area is rather well known as a lot of venues of the 2020/2021 Olympic Summer Games have been erected in that area. The easiest way to get to the scale model exhibition is taking the Yurikamome LIne to Ariake-tennis-no-mori and have a short walk. The area is rather commercial, so that you can surely also make it by car, if you feel like that. The Ariake Colosseumis across the street, the corresponding bus stop serves  a few bus lines as well.

Small Worlds Tokyo is opening daily from 9:00 1o 19:00. Admission is 2,700 JPY, roughly 16.50 EUR. For a small surcharge, you get a day ticket for the Yurikamore Line – which is quite handy if you visit other sights along its route like the Toyosu Fish Market.


Small Worlds Tokyo – The Visit

If you enter Small Worlds, you feel that the exihibition spreads over two floors. In fact, however, most of the models are on the upper floors (there are some levels in it, see below), while the lower floor features the restaurant and just a very few of the exhibits. Nonetheless, with roughly 8,000 square metres, the scale model exhibition is one of the largest of the world. There are also trains and other moving vehicles, but Small Worlds rather cocentrates on the display of landscapes and areas. Apart from buttons / sensors you can use to illuminate somthing or make something move, visitors may  do some sort of scavenger hunt for dinosaur model figures. They are typically close to a letter. Combining them leads to a key word.

The first area you see when you enter the main exhibition level is Space Center. The futuristic science fiction world comes with star ships, colonies on other planets and similar items. Some of them are really huge, which finally also leads to a very impressing effect. Small Worlds Tokyo also tries to tell stories. You see that they have visited Miniatur Wunderland (there are even picture proofs later…) and learned from that. However, they just cannot get that close to the genius entrepreneurship, creativity and ironic touch of the Germans. This does not mean at all that this place is bad. They do a great job – and especially this first area is indeed entertaining.

A Global Village and and Average Airport

The pictures you see here are taken from the Global Village, which is some sort of potpourri of different global styles and places. If you know some of the places which feel represented in the model landscape, their setting might feel a bit of confusing. Nonetheless, I feel that, especially if you have never travel to places like the Mediterranean, you will enjoy this part of your visit. Overall, Small Worlds states a total of eight sections.

I have to say that the same argument likely applies for the Small Worlds’ version of Kansai Airport. It is somehow nice (and, by the way, the place which makes it most obvious that they tried to copy the Germans…). But everything is just one or two notches worse than Knuffingen Airport in Hamburg. For example, there isless plane and other vehicle movement. Or: the gaps in the runway for the starting and landing mechanism are wider. However, if you have never seen the Hamburg “original”, you will be impressed and have a great time. A really great feature by this Tokyo place is the “business lounge”-alike cafe area, which would allow you to relax and watch the model airport’s traffic… If only the safety rails at the edge of the lounge were not just a bit too high for that.

Much More To See… Not Only the Evangelion Hangar

After this impressive part of your visit (which overall takes some 90 minutes to two hours at least), you are also running to the more characteristic models of the museum. For example, there are various diorama show boxes, which show small scenes from a certain ages life. Higher than the remaining exhibition is the Evangelion Hangar and Evangelion TOKYO-III, which is likely a treat for manga fans. Thereafter, you have the chance to see a few employees at work. Small exhibits also illustrate the history of the place and the evolution of it.


Small Worlds Tokyo – Services

At the exit of Small Worlds Tokyo, there is a typical souvenir store. However, they also have some rather unique items. For a nominal fee, you may buy into Small Worlds: A scale model figure of you is created and put somewhere into the landscape… A really nice idea. The lower level restaurant felt to be very popular among visitors.


Small Worlds Tokyo – My View

The review might sound harsh and too negative. That is of course not the case. I am sure Japanese people love it. There is also a lot of passion and love, which ran into this landscape. However, if you see it on a global scale, there is simply a huge gap to Miniatur Wunderland.  Gerrit and Frederik Braun are just too special. You can’t copy them. But Small Worlds gives you a very nice time. And they have some cool ideas like the “dino hunt”.


Scale Modeling at

Cars, Trains, Planes and more – here are postings about the world in model size:


Hamburg – Travel-related postings

Here are all my Travel-related postings about Hamburg:

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