Edo Open Air Museum

May 28th, 2009 | By Shane Sakata | Category: Museums, Outdoor Activities & Sporting Events, Tokyo and Vicinity

Meiji Era Tokyo Bath HouseLocated near Tachikawa, The Edo Open-air Architectural Museum is home to a recreation of a Japanese street scene with buildings from the Meiji Period (1868 – 1912) as well as a number of important historic buildings and cultural assets that have been moved here from different parts of the country and restored.

One of the highlights of my visit was the interior of a Meiji Era Public Bath House, Kodaka-yu,  that opened in Tokyo’s Adachi Ward in 1929.  The changing room looked out onto a courtyard and an elaborate mural spanned the separate men’s and women’s bathing areas.   The tile painting on the wall was considered very fashionable during the Showa and Taisho eras and was a common decorative feature of bathhouses at the time.

Meiji Era Tokyo Bath House Mural

The exterior of the bathhouse has been restored to its original look (pictured top right) and the interior simulates how it would have appeared in the 1950′s.  One could get lost imaging disant travels in this mural of Mt. Fuji and it must have been quite the luxury to visit a nath house such as this.

The Edo Open-air Architectural Museum  is located in a large park where walking paths lead you past many building of historical importance.  You will find lovely Showa era houses built in the 1900′s, many of which were home to wealthy merchants and had separate tea houses and peaceful manicured yards.

Edo Open Air Museum Showa Era House

Older still are a number of thatch-roofed houses from the Edo period (1603-1867) with indoor braziers (inori) that were used to smoke out the houses to keep the roof free of moisture and insects.

Edo Open Air Museum Thatched Roof HouseEdo Open Air Museum Farmhouse Interior

Religious markers and monuments can also be found on the museum grounds.  The Jishou-in Mausoleum (pictured below) was built in 1652 and originally sat inside the Jishou Temple in Ichigaya. Most of the mausoleums of the era were destroyed by firs during World War II making the a very important cultural asset.

Edo Open Air Museum Jishou-in Mausoleum

The Edo Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum, also known as Tatemonoen (site in Japanese), sits in Koganei Park (scroll down the page) is located about 90 minutes outside of Tokyo.   Take a short taxi ride from Musashi Koganei Station on the JR Chuo Line or take the Seibu Bus from the Koganei Koen Nishiguchi Bus stop in front of the station.

Image Credit:  Personal Collection

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  1. P.S. The bathhouse (along with one of the brick structures on the right side of the lane leading up to it) inspired structures in Ghibli’s Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi, and the home in your third photo belonged to Finance Minister Takahashi Korekiyo, who was assassinated in one of the upstairs rooms in the February 26 Incident of 1936.

  2. amazing pictures, looks like a great place to visit

  3. Beautiful buildings. I had heard that they used smoke in the thatched roof houses for this reason also. Very interesting.

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