the coolest museum in tokyo

June 8th, 2014 / by / in: travel / 1 Response

IMG_7058

I procrastinated posting this entry because this museum in Tokyo is so amazing that I took literally hundreds of photos and it was too daunting to go through them all. BUT! I am finally posting some of them. It’s not even close to all the photos I took, but it’s better this way anyway — you need to go to the museum and discover it for yourself.

The Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum (江戸東京たてもの園) is basically an outdoor museum consisting of historical buildings (mostly Showa-era) in which you can actually go inside and poke around. Many of them are real buildings that have been carefully moved to the museum grounds. I never see it recommended as a priority when visiting Tokyo, but I don’t know why because it’s great and uniquely Japanese. Even if you don’t think you’re interested in history, being able to walk through all the buildings is way more enjoyable than a regular museum.

The nearest station is Musashi-Koganei on the JR Chuo line, which makes it super convenient to visit if you’re going to the Ghibli Museum. (The Ghibli Museum is at Mitaka Station, which is only a couple stops away on the Chuo line.) It would be an excellent complement to the Ghibli Museum, since Hayao Miyazaki visited the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum a lot when he was working on Spirited Away and was inspired by some of the buildings. (You’ll notice the similarities!)

I found it very interesting to wander through all the houses and buildings — the museum includes houses belonging to a variety of people, a shopping street full of stores, a photo studio, a police box, and a sento (public bath). The cool thing is that with all the details, you really get a sense of how people lived at the time.

As an extra bonus, this museum is surprisingly inexpensive for how awesome it is — the admission is only ¥400 ($4 CAD) for adults!

IMG_7063

I have a sort of weird fascination/obsession with old Japanese advertising.

IMG_7066

This house is part of a photo studio from 1937, Tokiwadai Photo Studio.

IMG_7080

The upstairs is the studio.

IMG_7081

IMG_7082

IMG_7096

From the the 1952 residence of Hachirouemon Mitsui.

IMG_7099

NO TOUCHING!

IMG_7108

IMG_7109

IMG_7112

IMG_7117

IMG_7126

IMG_7134

In one of the farmhouse residences.

IMG_7141

IMG_7153

IMG_7168

IMG_7200

Me inside the Koide family house from 1925, designed by architect Sutemi Horiguchi.

IMG_7173

IMG_7194

A refined squat toilet.

IMG_7208

This house was my favourite. I wish I could live here! It’s the house of famous Japanese architect Kunio Maekawa. It was built in 1942 but could easily be on the pages of a design magazine today.

IMG_7214

UGH SO BEAUTIFUL.

IMG_7218

I love the details.

IMG_7205

Mike also wonders why we can’t live here.

IMG_7241

A watch tower that was part of the Ueno fire department.

IMG_7235

A koban (police box) from 1911.

IMG_7244

Mike acts out his JR fantasies on this streetcar from 1962. (Here’s a photo of Hayao Miyazaki in front of it.)

IMG_7247

IMG_7249

Watch out for those killer bees. (No seriously, watch out for them.)

IMG_7251

IMG_7263

Part of the museum includes a very realistic old timey shopping street. You can wander freely into all the shops and buildings. These are bento boxes from the kitchenware store.

IMG_7264

More kitchen stuff.

IMG_7266

IMG_7271

The sign says “Yamatoya Honten” and it’s a grocery store.

IMG_7273

All your grocery needs.

IMG_7275

Doesn’t this look like something out of a Miyazaki movie?

IMG_7276

More old signs.

IMG_7281

A flower shop.

IMG_7286

IMG_7289

The flower shop from the inside.

IMG_7291

Heading inside the stationery store.

IMG_7292

This stuff fascinates me.

IMG_7294

IMG_7311

Inside the soy sauce shop.

IMG_7312

Have I mentioned that I love old Japanese packaging?

IMG_7313

IMG_7314

IMG_7317

IMG_7323

Is there a museum of Showa-era advertising? If not, someone should open one.

IMG_7325

So awesome.

IMG_7326

The Kikkoman logo hasn’t really changed.

IMG_7330

You’ll fit right in with the surroundings if you wear your kimono.

IMG_7332

Kodakara-yu, the sento that inspired the bath house in Spirited Away. It was built in 1929.

IMG_7340

Bath time!

IMG_7348

It’s a pretty classic example of a Japanese bath house.

IMG_7354

Japanese bath houses always have fancy murals on the walls. (They usually include Mt. Fuji.)

IMG_7367

Oh, just chilling in the bath.

IMG_7362

IMG_7374

A bar/izakaya called Kagiya.

IMG_7383

The only thing missing is an ojisan bartender. And seriously, where can I buy one those Kikkoman signs?

IMG_7397

The house of former Japanese prime minster, Takahashi Korekiyo was definitely inspiration for Spirited Away!

IMG_7406

I am standing where Hayao Miyazaki once stood.

The Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum is probably one of my favourite “touristy” things I’ve ever done in Tokyo. It’s just really cool. For more info on visiting, check out their English website.

 


1 Comment to the coolest museum in tokyo

Leave a Reply