Meet Domo-kun at NHK Studio Park
The Japanese Broadcasting Corporation, known as Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai (NHK, 日本放送協会), is the national public broadcaster of Japan. It has been in existence since 1924, with regular television broadcasts beginning in 1953.
We have a couple of friends working in the NHK, and they regularly appear in NHK World, the broadcaster’s English-language news channel. So we decided to pay a visit to their broadcasting center beside Yoyogi Park, a ten-minute walk from the famous Shibuya crossing.
NHK runs a couple of museum, one of them is the Studio Park located right inside the broadcasting complex. It is one of the few areas publicly accessible to the public. While in normal days, there is an entrance fee costing about 100 yen, at this day they are opening its doors to everyone for free.
Maybe you have encountered Domo-kun somewhere on the Internet. That brown creature is actually the official mascot of the NHK. In Japan, virtually every company and secular places of interest have their own mascot, and NHK is no exception. Upon entrance to the NHK complex, a large figure of Domo-kun greets the visitors.
At the lobby of the studio park, a large 8K monitor is installed, showcasing its ability. It seems that they are not content with 1024p (720p is minimum HD resolution), and they are even not happy with the 4K. NHK is also continuously developing new technology for television broadcasting.
Going deeper inside are various exhibits showcasing the history of NHK, especially on their past TV programs. Some props and costumes of the famous NHK dramas are also exhibited.
There are also lots of interactive exhibits, among them is trying to dub an anime or ‘video editing’. Another interactive exhibit enables visitors to control robotic cameras taking ‘nature’ footages.
Another exhibit enables visitors to experience being part of a news program in a news studio. Anyone can take photos in the news studio after the “airing” is done.
There are also several actual studios inside the Studio Park, where, shows are actually aired or taped for actual broadcasting. There is also an actual master control room where visitors can peek in on how images and sounds are arranged before being aired.
You may take in your cameras. But there are places where photography is forbidden, including the actual studios. If there is no photography restriction in a particular area then it’s OK to take photos.
Almost all exhibits, as well as tour guide (if any), are in Japanese. But a guide brochure (the floor map) is available at the entrance in English, Chinese and Korean aside from Japanese.
A small café and souvenir shop is available near the exit.
For regular viewers of the NHK especially most Japanese, the Studio Park will make them appreciate more of its programs, or remember the shows of the bygone era. For others, this gives them another perspective on what and how programming is done in the national Japanese broadcaster.
Daily, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Closed on fourth Monday of every month, except if it falls on a holiday after which the facility will be closed on the following day.
Entrance Fee: 200 yen for individuals, 150 yen per person in groups of 20 or more.
Free admission for persons with disabilities with handicapped person’s passbook and his/her attendant, for students up to high school, children under 18 and seniors 65 or elder.
From Shibuya station, it is a 12-minute walk. Signs in Japanese and English will help you guide your way.
Other nearest train stations are Harajuku Station (JR Yamanote Line), Meiji-Jingumae Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda and Fukutoshin Line) and Yoyogi-koen Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line). Walking to the NHK Studio Park also takes about 12 minutes.
Yoyogi Park is just beside the NHK complex, where you can relax or catch Pokemons after visiting the Studio Park.