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“Wow, what a day” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum

Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum
3-7-1 Sakura-cho, Koganei 184-0005, Tokyo Prefecture
+81 42-388-3300
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Ranked #1 of 3 Attractions in Koganei
4.5 of 5 stars 84 Reviews
Type: History Museums, Landmarks/ Points of Interest, Museums
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Dedicated to the architecture of the late Edo period, this outdoor museum showcases historic buildings, including 200-year-old farmhouses and specialty shops filled with reproduction products, such as a soy sauce shop, Japanese umbrella shop, and stationary store.
La Mesa, CA.
Top Contributor
122 reviews 122 reviews
83 attraction reviews
Reviews in 53 cities Reviews in 53 cities
119 helpful votes 119 helpful votes
“Wow, what a day”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 24, 2012

Looking for an inexpensive way to spend a neat day in Tokyo, like history, enjoy architecture, just want to chill out. Edo Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum is the place. FIRST, put the "museum" in quotes, it is actually a huge park originally an Imperial Army Air Base located north of Musashi-Koganei on the Chuo Line west of Shinjuku. Subsequent to the war it was turned into a USAF Air base briefly and then turned over to the city as a park.

Starting in the late 60's when Japan turned with a vengence to tearing down its architectural heritage someone said lets save a little of it and move it to the park in Musashi-Koganei which no one ever visits. The result is a fantastic collection of original buildings mostly from the Taisho and early, early Showa eras.

Plan on spending all day getting there and walking through the park. I think it is bus # 33 about 260 yen from the north side of Musashi-Koganei Station, but it would not hurt to ask as English/romaji signage is minimal. It is a little too far to walk if you are then going to walk the entire park/museum without getting completely poohed out.

For me the highlights were the former residence of a prime minister of Japan, who was assinated in the violent pre-war politics of Japan, a super cute little house from Denen-Choufu one of Japan's first planned communities, and finally a three block long assembly of business from Taisho-era Tokyo. This was the short period from 1912-1923 when things western were in vogue, the time of ero, garish, grotesque nonsense, see Seidensecker's "Tokyo Rising" for details on that subject. This business district includes a huge old public bath house, drug store, neighborhood bar, rice store, miso shop, kitchen/housewares shop etc, etc. etc. Docents are available but I did not find any with much command of English.

Generally this park is not crowded, except during the cherry blossom season when the mile long park is awash in pink blossoms, blue tarps and rather drunk spectators for hanami (cherry blossom viewing). Food service is limited with a very small resturant at the entry hall which was originally built for an international exhibition in the mid-Showa period. There is a larger resturant of no distinction in the Taisho Era business district on the 2nd floor of a reproduction building. But there is lots of space to park on the grass or on a bench and have a picnic with food purchased at or near the station before boarding the bus.

For those with an interest in the not well known little features of Edo, the slow moving stream on the south side of the road which parallels the park on the south side is a section of the Tama Gawa Joshi (Tama River Canal) constructed during the late Edo or Meiji Era to bring water from the area between Ome and Tachikawa to the booming city of Tokyo. It eventually dumps into the Kanda River just west of Kanda Station.

Plan on spending the whole day, there is a small entry fee 600 yen I think, but well worth it and get ready to step back into a Tokyo that existed only briefly between the end of the 19th Century and the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923.

Enjoy it -- we did.

Visited September 2012
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84 reviews from our community

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Hong Kong, China
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Excellent "museum" to visit”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2012

Although it's a "museum", what you get here is much more than just a simple museum visit where you look at displays and exhibits in a building. The museum is a big space with lots of reconstructions from the Edo period, and you'll actually enter those reconstructions and walk through them, getting a sense of what life was like during that era. They have buildings of all sorts of things, ranging from shops to public bath to houses (both rich and poor residences - they are VERY different), and even a tram!

As a plus, this museum is located in the Koganei Park so you can also take the chance to walk through there. It will be especially great if you go during the cherry blossom season (usually late March/early April)! For young children, there's this a place where there's a slope and kids can use plastic sleds to slide down - I loved doing this as a child! This is free of charge, and there are sleds provided, although you could bring your own if you have one.

Visited October 2011
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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
17 attraction reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
“Very worth the trouble to get here!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2012

This is a really awesome collection of old (and some very historically significant) private homes from the Tokyo area. The buildings, whether they be a farm house or some prime minister's mansion or a bath house or a soy sauce shop... have all been disassembled from their original locations and assembled and reconstructed in this very very large country park. This place is really a gem because visitors are allowed to poke into nearly every room in every house and take all the pictures to the heart's content. Just be prepared to take your shoes off when you enter every house.

The entrance fee is nominal. The nearest train station is called Higashi-koganei on Chuo Line. Take a taxi from the train station. Ask the taxi driver for a business card and call him to pick you up to take you back to the station.

There is a very excellent Tonkatsu (pork cutlet) restaurant on the left side of the main road going back to the train station. The name of the restaurant is Tonkatsu Hamakatsu. Near the intersection of Rt. 7 and Rt. 247. You will get some sesame seeds to grind your own sesame paste for eating tonkatsu.

Visited June 2012
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St. Paul, Minnesota
Top Contributor
104 reviews 104 reviews
41 attraction reviews
Reviews in 64 cities Reviews in 64 cities
95 helpful votes 95 helpful votes
“Plenty of fresh air and scenery”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2008

To get there: We took the JR line from Shinjuku to the Musashi-Koganai stop and then took bus 33 (from right outside the train stop) to the gate of the museum. In all about 30 minutes from Shinjuku.

The museum was set in a park-like setting and it was a nice, serene day out of downtown Tokyo. You certainly feel like you are in rural Japan. We went on a week day in early July and had the entire museum basically to ourselves, in fact it was kind of eerie being among the old buildings with no other people around.

It was very interesting tho, and we were able to see buildings from different periods in Japanese history. My advice is to wear slip on shoes since you have to remove them at every entrance. It was nice to go through some of the homes and get a sense what it felt like inside. In some of the old farm houses, volunteer workers were doing demonstrations and had cooking fires going. It felt very authentic, like you could have stepped back in time.

Plan on spending several hours a the museum to see all the buildings plus another hour or more for travel both to and from. I would not recommend this museum if you are only in Tokyo a few days unless you are an architecture or history buff but if you have an extended stay, it is worth a visit for a nice day out of the city. For us the calm and quiet was welcome.

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Gold Coast, Australia
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Great day out”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 5, 2006

It has been a few months since my last visit. I have been there twice.
If you have no idea what this place is it is a way of saving old buildings, plonking them in a park and arranging the inside to look like it did when it was used. There are old farm houses from hundreds of years ago, old temples, houses from early, mid and late 20th century and a whole street with buidings from the 1930s to 50s.

As Tokyo has grown these buidings would have been in the way of new development so to save them there are relocated to this park. If memory serves me (as the Iron Chef might say) it is about 20 mins walk from Mitake train station in west Tokyo. There are buses but I can not help here.

English speaking volunteers are available (for free) and guide pamphlets are available in English. There are cafes and noodle shops as well as the usual coin operated dispensing machines.

I usually go in Spring, the park surrounding the museum has, of course, many cherry trees and the blossoms for a few days are very beautiful.

Most of the exhibts are open, so after removing your shoes at the entrance you can wonder around the houses. Some of them have a real art deco feel, other more 1970s. My wife particulaly loves the old street as she remembers as a young girl going to the bath house with her mother.

Some of the buildings have pock marks from the second world war following bombing raids.

The park is rarely crowded and you can spend all day wondering around or do the whole thing in an hour or two if you are in a rush ( or young).
I think this museum would appeal to anybody with an interest in history, architecture or decor. It is away from the busy down town area which may be a benefit for some.

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