Exploring the Meguro Parasitological Museum will leave you feeling simultaneously enthralled and disgusted. The parasite-infected animals, bugs, and worms housed inside are enough to make your skin crawl.
The strangeness of it all will keep you delighted in intrigue for hours.
Step into a mad scientist style lab with tubes of exotic specimens lining the walls. By exotic specimens, we mean mice riddled with tumors, infected fish, and more worms than you’ve ever needed to see.
Those with a weak stomach should avert their eyes now before it’s too late.
In the name of science
The small museum and research facility was established in 1953 by medical doctor Satoru Kamegai. These days it’s a hotspot for children interested in science, and those with a morbid fascination for creepy things.
It’s a popular date spot too — roundworms are so romantic.
Displays are spread across two compact floors, but the strangeness of it all will keep you delighted in intrigue for hours.
The first floor educates visitors on the diverse range of parasites that lurk in the unseen corners of our world, while the second shows what happens when they burrow into human and animal hosts.
A bot-fly diagram on the second floor describes in detail how the insect deposits its eggs on mosquitoes, who then transfer the eggs to humans upon biting them. The botfly larva grows under the skin, squirming and writhing until it matures and leaves the host behind.
The most brutal display is an 8.8 meter-long tapeworm (about 29 feet long) that was extracted from a man after he ate infected raw salmon three months prior. Dr. Kamegai removed it after the man noticed something hanging out of his rectum after defecating. Gross.
To give you a better idea of its sheer size, the museum has a long piece of thin fabric the same length of the tapeworm on display. It’s so long that even from the other end of the room, you can’t pull it out straight.
Imagine that living inside you for three months!
While most of the explanations are in Japanese, many of the displays have a QR code that will show English information if you scan it with your smartphone camera.
Don’t forget to pick up a real parasite keychain — or maybe just a t-shirt — from the gift shop.
Definitely skip breakfast before coming here.