The Vocational Museum (私のしごと館)

The Vocational Museum provides young people with work experience, recruitment information, and vocational counseling.


In 1989, discussions on the need for such a facility started, and in 1992 the government completed the plan to establish it. Following cabinet decisions to prepare for the building of the facility, taken in 1995, and to implement the plan to establish it, taken in 1999, the government promoted its creation as part of the policy surrounding the 'Promotion of Youth Employment Measures' of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. It was built and is operated by the Employment and Human Resources Development Organization of Japan, an independent administrative institution under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. It operates to prevent youth unemployment through the development of vocational abilities, one of the employment insurance related operations driven by the Unemployment Insurance Law.

It is inside Kyoto Prefecture and is also part of Kansai Science City which straddles Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara Prefectures, and is located not far from the route following the Kizu-gawa River that has connected Osaka, Kyoto and Nara since ancient times.

It partially opened on March 30, 2003, and began full operations on October 4 of the same year. However, the cabinet decision of December 2007 regarding plans to streamline independent administrative institutions stated that the running of the facility should be entrusted to the private sector, and based on an evaluation by an independent committee, proposals around how it should be operated and whether it was necessary should be made within a year. As a result, its management was outsourced to the private sector in July 2008.


It implements various programs to prevent unemployment by fostering the occupational aspirations of young people (vocational and career education) and is one of the largest comprehensive occupational information centers in the world.

It contains displays where the visitor can get hands-on experience relating to various types of work, and provides and announces information regarding occupations so that high school or junior high school students can become familiar with jobs and experience them firsthand.

Declining motivation for work is increasingly an international social problem, and there have been growing calls for early career education in many countries. It aims to work out long-term and ongoing solutions to these problems through various techniques, such as social education by the museum, psychology (career counseling), and occupational training (development of vocational abilities).

Summary of the Facility

Site area: 83,000 square meters
Total floor space: 35,000 square meters
Total cost: 58.1 billion yen


Its address is unusual because it is in Kansai Science City that straddles Seika-cho and Kizugawa City in Kyoto Prefecture.
The addresses are as follows:

Kansai Science City, Seika, Nishi-Kizu Area, Kyoto Prefecture 619-0282
This address is used for correspondence.

9-6 Kizugawadai, Kizugawa City, Kyoto Prefecture
7-5-1 Seikadai, Seika-cho, Soraku-gun, Kyoto Prefecture


As the world's largest hands-on occupational museum (employment museum), and as a facility encouraging occupational aspirations (relating to vocational and career education), it is a large composite establishment with many elements, including museums, libraries, occupational information centers, and other facilities for events, seminars, and craftmaking.

It is supposed to play a central role in a comprehensive cultural facility in the urban area representing Kansai Science City, along with nearby Keihanna Plaza and Kansai-kan of the National Diet Library.

The Kinki region, formerly called "Kinai", was the center of Japan for an extended period, and was the center of Kamigata Bunka (Kinki Culture) during the Edo period. Today, the Kinki region, which contains Hanshin Industrial Zone, hopes to lift the human spirit by working towards building solutions to youth problems and tackling issues of declining motivation relating to working not only in Japan but in the world as well, with a particular focus on contributing to economic development based on manufacturing in Japan.


1989: The 'Council on Young People's Sense of Vocation' was set up

1992: The 'Advisory Panel of Well-informed Independent Personalities on Job Satisfaction and Respect for Skills' was set up

April 1993: new package of economic stimulus measures decided by the Cabinet; tentative plan for establishing a 'Work Experience Plaza' presented as public investment and social capital improvement

June 8, 1993: supplementary budget passed

August 1993: tentative plan to build 'Work Experience Plaza' in Kansai Science City announced

March 1994: land aquired

June 1995: 'Work Experience Plaza Basic Plan' (tentative) drawn up

December 1995: '8th Basic Plan for Employment Measures' formulated (Cabinet decision); policy to build Work Experience Plaza (tentative) included

December 1996: basic designs for displays and work experience started

April 1997: basic policy revised by Prime Minister under Kansai Science City Construction Promotion Law - promotion of building Work Experience Plaza (tentative) and its role as information center clearly stated

September 1997: basic architectural design started

March 1998: designs of displays and work experience started

August 1998: building designs started

August 1999: '8th Basic Plan for Employment Measures' (Cabinet decision) and policy to build Work Experience Plaza (tentative) clearly stated again

February 2000: construction started

January 2001: official name decided as 'Watashi no Shigoto Kan' (Vocational Museum) selected from suggestions by the public

March 30, 2003: Vocational Museum partially opened: director, Kotaro TSUJIMURA

April 1 2003: Vocational Museum Library Corner opened

October 4, 2003: Vocational Museum fully opened

March 10, 2006: number of visitors since opening reached one million

March 31, 2006: Vocational Museum Library closed due to cost reduction measures

July 28, 2006: Jiro KAWASAKI, Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare visited the museum

September 4, 2006: Maria-Angelica Ducci, Executive Director of Office of Director-General of International Labour Organization (ILO) visited the museum

December 24, 2007: 'Plans for Streamlining Independent Administrative Institutions' formulated (Cabinet decision); organization of Vocational Museum to be overhauled


Its slogan is 'Work experience makes your future.'

Based on the collective study achievement of the nation and research institutions, it borrows all the knowledge and wisdom of educational professionals and companies to carry out various programs under the basic idea 'Learn by seeing, touching, and feeling.'

It provides a wide variety of programs that help young people such as high school or junior high school students, who are the main participants, to lead a rich life with satisfying jobs, and incorporates technologies of the excellent virtual museum, digital libraries, and amusement facilities, as represented by the Tron Project in Japan, which are enjoyable by every generation and families as well.

Particular efforts are made to attract students on school excursions and extension courses.

Hands-on displays

Hands-on experiences are fun for visitors to learn about professionals and help them to have aspirations in relation to jobs.


This program collects information on every job, creates content relating to them, and provides people across the world with this content in the form of books, movies and other audio-visual media making use of the latest Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

Counseling and support

In order to help young people to design their future career appropriately by themselves, this program provides them with career counseling based on the results of the latest research, vocational aptitude examinations, job search services, and opportunities to form groups to make early preparations for finding jobs.

Training and seminars

This program provides career counselors and career guides with professional skills and expertise by giving varied training and seminars on self-development, job selection, career design, and ability development.

Planning and creative development

This program creates tools for other programs, makes plans for career counseling, carries out R&D, and disseminates products.


Hands-on displays which provide work experience

Vocational aptitude evaluation

Aptitude development and career counseling method used for vocational training and seminars

Work Library (visual contents)

World's largest visual contents of 703 jobs.
They are available at the web page of Vocational Museum 'Job Job World.'

Work Library texts

Work Library (books published by Obunsha)

Work Library books, or encyclopedia of jobs

Work skill sheets: worksheets

Original video 'Professionals' talks: what the job is all about.'

Success notebook: workbook for high school and junior high school students to help them develop career views and work views'

More are under construction or are being updated.

The creation and distribution of this content is conducted in co-operation with many exhibition and display service companies, advertisement agents, video picture producers, publishers, and information systems companies.

Main Differences with Kidzania

In October 2006, Kidzania Tokyo, a private facility, was opened in Japan.
Although the Vocational Museum and Kidzania both provide minors with work experiences, there are differences between them as follows:

Kidzania is a 'for-profit' private facility that opened in Mexico in 1999. The Vocational Museum has a longer history and is a 'non-profit' public facility.

Kidzania's main customers are children (sixth graders or younger) as its declaration suggests, 'the country of children, and by children,' and its operation in Japan aims at 'providing children with social experiences.'
Kidzania insists upon preserving the idea of the 'children's town' by setting upper and lower age limits and encouraginging parents to remain apart from their children during the experience.

The Vocational Museum was established in accordance with the Basic Plan for Employment Measures. It places emphasis on 'work' and provides various setups to 'learn by seeing, touching, and feeling,' as well as hands-on displays, and it aims at the comprehensive promotion of vocational aspirations (occupational and career education) for young people using every method to help them find the most appropriate jobs for them.
It does not have any concept of a 'children's town,' but instead, it has an area called 'Jobs town.'

It entertains young people and students, who are main targets, by using applications of the latest museology and amusement facilities to encourage them to have interest in 'jobs.'

Kidzania's pavilion for work experience was made by reprogramming real operation manuals provided by the sponsor company into experience programs for children. It emphasizes keeping the reality of jobs in a children's world.

The Vocational Museum's work experience zones are largely operated by industry organizations.


By car:

Close to Keinawa Expressway Seikagakken Interchange.

By train:

From Hosono Station on the JR Katamachi Line or Shinhosono Station on the Kintetsu Kyoto Line, take Nara Kotsu Bus, and get off at 'Watashino Shigoto Kan' bus stop which is very close to the museum. Required time: approximately five minutes.

[Original Japanese]