Tokyo through the eyes of a Samurai24 July, 2010 by Chad
Japan’s Edo-Tokyo Museum is split into two separate branches. The museum’s modern headquarters is located in north-east Sumida, while the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum lies many miles away at the peaceful city of Koganei. In an attempt to preserve the city’s rich history, a number of buildings from the Meiji era and before have been picked up and placed to rest here, many of which were the former residences of famous figures.
Over the years, Tokyo has experienced no shortage of disasters of both the natural and man made varieties. Many historic buildings had been lost to a combination of floods, earthquakes, fires and wars. In 1993, to preserve some of these buildings for the future generation, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government established this branch of the Edo-Tokyo Museum.
Today, more than 30 structures are maintained at this retirement home for famous buildings and more houses are also brought in periodically.
Visiting the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum
The museum is located inside Koganei Park at Koganei City about 20 kilometers West of the Shinjuku ward.
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Koganei Park is located near the center of the town and is surrounded by the city’s 3 train stations, all of which are about equal distance to the park.
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The Hana-Koganei station in the North is barely the nearest but is served by the Seibu-Shinjuku line. Unless you are staying at Shinjuku, it would be cheaper to take the JR Chuo line to Musashi-Koganei station from Shinjuku. From there leave through the North exit and follow the main road to reach Koganei Park.
At Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum
Entry to the museum costs only 400 yen for adults. Senior citizens above 65 and those below 18 pay half price. University students enter for 320 yen.
A number of old residences and shop houses now call the park home. We previously posted our photo tours over here and here. But more previously unreleased photos and a run through of some of the highlights below.
Studio Ghibli founder, Miyazaki Hayao is known for being a fan of the place. The animation company’s office is also located in Koganei City. A number of buildings from the museum and Koganei appear in Ghibli’s animations, such as the previously posted Sento.
Apart from residences, there are also a number of other structures and outdoor exhibits spread around the park, such as this nearly 400 year old Tokugawa temple.
Most of the houses here actually pre-dated the Meiji era with many coming from Edo (1603-1867) times. One of the oldest building here is the farmhouse belonging to the Yoshino family, a family that controlled the area during the time. The old buildings are maintained daily with the help of elderly volunteers.
On the East side of the museum are about a dozen shop houses and their contents. More of these buildings were from the 19th century Meiji era.
You will probably be able to find other old buildings over in Kyoto and Kiso that are still in service. But the only lone building inside the museum that is still being used is a rest house serving Udon.Planning your holiday? We recommend visiting Agoda for a full list of hotels with early bird specials.