Although a rainy day like today would be a better fit to stroll around an art museum, tomorrow is “officially” International Museum Day, which means that quite a few of Tokyo’s museums will be allowing guests to roam their halls for free.

The holiday was launched back in 1977, with an aim of raising awareness about the importance of museums in the development of society. Selected galleries at museums around Ueno Park – Tokyo National Museum, the National Museum of Nature and Science, the National Museum of Western Art, and the Shitamachi Museum – will be open for free on Wednesday, May 18. You can read more about other participating Ueno-area museums here (in Japanese).

There are no hard and fast rules about International Museum Day, though, and it can be observed “around” May 18. If you’re curious about a museum or gallery near you, you may want to contact them directly. For starters, you can have a look at some of the listings under Tokyo Weekender’s Arts section.

Image: Nonnakrit /