I can’t think of another museum that embodies the spirit of Japanese innovation quite as well as Miraikan: The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation.
Created by Japan’s Science and Technology Agency — and led by astronaut Mamoru Mohri — the futuristic glass building is packed with permanent exhibits and fun hands-on gadgets that explain the science behind technology and its application to daily life. Visitors can build a robot, meet the humanoid ASIMO, "drive" a virtual reality horse, brush up on nano-technology, peek inside the body or take in a show in the Dome Theatre.
Most fascinating of all is the giant Geo-Cosmos — representing planet Earth — that floats over a six-storey atrium. The 6.5-metre sphere is made of 3,715 panels lit by nearly 1 million LED lights, which display daily conditions on Earth. The images are gathered from observation stations and satellites, and show real time planetary conditions such as weather, sea temperatures and carbon monoxide concentrations, as well as simulations of global warming.