Welcome to the World’s only Parasitological Museum!

This past year I’ve passed by a building with a strange sign that said “Meguro Parasitological Museum.” And every time I passed by it, I wondered what the hell it was. A museum of parasites? Weird. Today, I finally stepped inside to figure out what this mysterious place was about.

And WOW. Turns out, this is the World’s ONLY parasitological museum, and it has an amazing collection of funky looking parasites on display. The official guide describes that the museum is “a private, non-profit research institution established in 1953…and was authorized as a registered museum in 2001.” So it’s quite legit, and to my surprise, the place was quite packed with people… those parasite maniacs.

parasite_museum_2
Many of the parasites are on display like this – inside a glass case, with a card describing what it is, and what it attaches to.

parasite_museum_3
Rows and rows of parasites…

parasite_museum_4
A lot of them are displayed with the host, which is awesome.

parasite_museum_5
Though most of the description is in Japanese, a lot of the smaller boards contained English as well. I spotted a foreign couple enjoying the parasites.

parasite_museum_6
Too bad this photo came out blurry – my favorite insect as a child was the mantis, and this one was controlled by a horsehair worm (scientific name is “Gordioidea” apparently). You can see the host entangled by the parasite. The horsehair worm is a scary parasite that grows up inside the host’s body. When they mature, they apparently ingest a certain protein into the host’s brain, maneuvering them to jump inside water, to escape from the anus of the host.

parasite_museum_7

parasite_museum_8

parasite_museum_9
These parasites are traumatic but extremely interesting to watch.

parasite_museum_10
Alien, anyone?

parasite_museum_11

parasite_museum_12
Many documents from way back reveal this Museum’s research of parasites and their biological study has deep history. Interactive displays are also available.

parasite_museum_13
This one was the biggest surprise for me – a 9-meter tape worm found inside a human body! Apparently, a man in his 40s found a piece of the parasite as he was defecating. The first director of the museum collected the whole worm, using anti-parasitic drug. 9 meters…man…

parasite_museum_14

parasite_museum_15

parasite_museum_16

parasite_museum_1
The museum is FREE of charge (donations welcome), so if you love parasites, or even if you don’t, it’s worth a visit!

Also accepting hosts that would take me as a parasite.