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Tokyo Edo Outdoor Architectural Museum | Tokyo Weekends

If you are a fan of the Edo-period and Japanese architecture, the Tokyo Edo Outdoor Architectural Museum is a spot that will leave you in awe! There are 30 original buildings ranging from farm houses to stationary stores, bathhouses (Sento), traditional Japanese and western style houses. They are all moved from various places around Tokyo to this park and kept exactly as it is.

Some basic information about the park:

  • Hours: 9:30am - 5:30pm (Oct-Mar till 4:30pm)
  • Closed every Monday
  • Entry: ¥400/adult, free for those under middle school (Online tickets in-advance are required at the moment. You can find them on the official website.)
  • Station: Musashi Konegi + short bus ride 
  • Special things to note: umbrellas aren't allowed inside so they'll keep it for you. No shoes inside most buildings so they'll provide plastic bags for you to keep them. A lot of the buildings will have ramps for wheelchairs. For strollers you'll have to leave them outside in front of each building. 

Noteworthy buildings:
  • E4 Public Bathhouse
  • E6 Stationary Store
  • E9 & E11 (in front of) Toden Tram
  • C4 Nishikawa House
  • W8 Tsunashima Farm House
 

When you first get to the park, I would suggest you to first head to the east side to see the public bath house, Kodakara-yu (E4) at the very end of the street. There are beautiful murals painted on the back walls including one of Fuji. 

 

Before you head into the street on the east side, you'll also see a yellow Toden  tram which ran from 1962-1978 between Shibuya station to Shimbashi station. It reminded me of the Tram that Chihiro took with Kaonashi to see Zeniba in Spirited away. 


The first image above is still one of the buildings on the East side, which reminded  me of Satsuki and May's house in My Neighbor Totoro. On the right side is the back hallway of Nishikawa House (C4), which also resembles Satsuki and May's house, namely the scene where they first move in and were scrubbing the floors of their new house.

 

On the west side of this outdoor museum, there are also some western style houses that were found in various parts of Tokyo and moved here. Left side is Okawa House from Den'en Chofu (W7) and the right side is the interior of the House of Kunio Mayekawa (W6) found in Shinagawa Ward. 


One of the western style houses is actually a functioning cafe where you can sit down and have some tea and dessert. This is the House of Georg de Lalande (W10) found in Shinjuku Ward.


Last but not least, almost on the very west side is the Farm House of the Tsunashima Family (W8) which was built in the mid-edo period. It was used between 1603 - 1867 and was found in Setagaya ward. Their water pump and well reminded  me  of the scene where Satsuki and Mei went to fetch water for cleaning  their house in the My Neighbor Totoro movie. 

While there are still many historical neighborhoods kept as is throughout Japan, a lot of them are tucked away in the mountains or difficult to get to. It's such an excellent idea for Tokyo to preserve historical buildings in the way Tokyo Edo Outdoor Architectural Museum did. Not only does it have a lot of variety in the type of buildings, it is also easily accessible. Next time you are looking for a half-day activity to do in Tokyo, consider heading over here to learn more about the historical lives of Tokyo residents at this outdoor museum. 

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