Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum

Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum, Koganei: Hours, Address, Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum Reviews: 4.5/5

Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum

Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum
Speciality Museums
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9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
The Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum was established by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government in 1993 as a branch museum of the Edo-Tokyo Museum. In the seven-hectares wide site of the museum situated in the Metropolitan Koganei Park, historic buildings that have high cultural value but became unable to stand in their original location are relocated to, and reconstructed, preserved, and exhibited. In total 30 buildings are displayed presently.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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353 reviews
Very good

Debra B
2 contributions
Dec 2019 • Family
We (family of 2 boomers and 3 x 20 somethings) spent a cold gray December Friday here but were warmed by the friendly English speaking volunteers who explained points of interest while we sat around the hearth fires in the traditional Japanese houses. Not to mention the hearty hot soba at the museum restaurant, cheap and tasty.Afternoon coffee and snacks at the cafe was a bit more pricey. Great place for a leisurely day if you have an inkling of interest in Japanese history and/or domestic architecture. You can walk a couple of k's from the nearest train station up the main drag and down a long laneway adjacent to a park, or catch the bus to the park entry and walk through the park from there, it's easy to find. Alternatively catch the bus back, they are all going to the station.
Written January 4, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

San Francisco Bay Area (CA)564 contributions
Sep 2019
Designed to preserve historic buildings and other artifacts, this is a true multi-functional "attraction".

You are treated at seeing how a building was actually constructed. The buildings are not an interpretive reconstructions. These buildings were deconstructed and rebuild upon relocation. The curators have taken time to add furnishings and wares to the period, and provide educational displays that transcends language.

Several of these buildings were inspiration for popular films.
Written May 3, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Ted C
La Mesa, CA194 contributions
Sep 2012 • Couples
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.
Written November 24, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Rohan G
Suginami, Japan10 contributions
Jul 2020
To be honest, I enjoy place and I've been there many times as I've lived in Japan for many years. But I wanted to get this off my chest. I speak Japanese reasonably well and I don't need English to communicate with staff at all. But every time I go there and ask questions I get answered in English of a relatively poor level. The staff struggle with the language and I feel like I am giving them a free English lesson. As I am a paying customer I find this situation extremely disappointing. I honestly get the feeling, "Oh, it's a another foreigner!! I have to speak English". If it weren't for this I would rate it much more highly.
Written July 30, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Edinburgh, UK251 contributions
Nov 2017 • Friends
I have to preface this review by saying that this is my favourite museum anywhere in the world and it is always a joy to visit. It’s never too busy and you genuinely feel as though you’re transported back to the times of the properties you’re visiting. It’s very easy to see why Hayao Miyazaki used it as inspiration for Spirited Away.

You can easily spend half a day here if you want to look inside every building. There is a cafe in one of the old houses (you do not need to get anything to look around this part of the building) that serves drinks, snacks and a few meals and a udon noodle restaurant in one of the old shops. There is also an exhibition space inside the visitor’s centre, as well as another cafe and shop.

The photo studio building still includes a studio set up upstairs where you can pose and ask one of the volunteers who work there to take a photo of you on your camera. A few of the older houses used to, at times, have volunteers who will show you how to make crafts such as paper windmills but this was not the case during my visit in November so may have stopped. I noticed that they appear to have more volunteers who speak English than the last time I visited, but many still speak very little or none. Each building has information in English and Japanese on a notice board outside the entrance and the houses have additional laminated sheets with information in English inside.

Wear a pair of socks as you will have to take your shoes off when entering each of the houses (but not the shops). Carrier bags and shoe racks are provided at each building’s entrance.

The museum is situated in the middle of a public park which sometimes has markets in front of the museum. If you get the JR Chuo line to Musashi-Koganei Station, you can reach the museum by a short bus, taxi or car ride or by walking for around half an hour. I have included a photo of the access directions given by the museum.
Written January 6, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Tokyo, Japan215 contributions
Sep 2015 • Family
There are many open-air architectural museums sprinkled throughout Japan, most of them focusing on preserving rural thatched-roof farmhouses threatened by dam construction or the high cost of maintaining them (Nihon Minka-en in Yokohama is an excellent example of this type, with its extensive collection of farmhouses, including the gassho-zukuri style of Shirakawa-go, a USESCO world heritage site). There are also some such as Meiji Mura near Nagoya that focus on displaying buildings from later eras that exhibit more Western and urban tastes (also highly recommended).

This open-air architectural museum ranks right up there with the best of them, mainly for the diversity of the buildings and their quality. These are top-end buildings, whether they are thatched roof homes of wealthy farm families, Western-influenced houses of wealthy Japanese architects, politicians, or commercial families such as the Mitsuis, or reconstructed commercial buildings ranging from a bath house, tavern, photo studio, inn, soy sauce shop and more.

Although it is a branch of the Edo-Tokyo Museum and some of the oldest buildings do date from the very late Edo period, most were built in the Taisho and Showa periods and some of the commercial buildings of the reconstructed shopping street were operating as late as the 1970s or even 1990s. Most of these buildings have been reconstructed to display commercial activity in the 1950s.

The museum is divided into three zones and visiting all the buildings will take about half a day. The main draw of each building is the architecture itself, but outside each building is a signboard explaining its history in Japanese and English. There is also a pamphlet in English available at the entrance, so those with limited Japanese will be able to understand the basic details of each building.

For families, I would recommend starting with the thatched roof farm houses in the west zone and then moving east to end at the reconstructed shopping street where there are festival stalls with old-time candy (lots of Japanese exclaiming "natsukashi") and games such as stilts and catching as many floating balls as possible (usually it is goldfish) with a paper net before it breaks. This commercial area also has a working restaurant with reasonably priced hand-made udon, and a stall with soft ice cream.

Although some reviewers suggest otherwise, I felt that this is a great place for young families, and many families were visiting when we were there, though it was not overly crowded. There are more than 20 buildings to visit, but they were different enough to keep our kids' interest, and several of the buildings have activities for children such as making pinwheels and bracelets. The cost of the museum is also quite reasonable for families, at 400 yen for adults, 200 yen for secondary students and free for elementary students. There are outdoor seating areas to rest if you bring a picnic lunch or snacks for the kids to break up the day.

ACCESS TIP: From Musashi Koganei, there is no need to take a taxi, as it is very easily accessible by public bus, once you navigate the unnecessary confusion. Go to the NORTH exit (there are bus stations at both the north and south exits) and catch a bus from bus stops 2, 3, or 4 on the far side of the loop when you exit the station. When you walk to any of these stops, you will see sign boards in English to direct you but unfortunately there is no English before that to direct you to go to stops 2, 3 or 4 on the far side of the street. The bus ride is about 10 minutes, only 3-4 stops, and on our bus there was an announcement in English as to which stop to get off. Take a ticket when you board the bus for payment when you get off, or tap your Suica card. Cost is 180 yen.
Written September 23, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Cesena, Italy1,210 contributions
Jul 2019 • Friends
This is a wonderful experience if you want to experience the thrill of walking among the houses of a village of the Edo period, partly rebuilt houses partly original, almost all of which can also be visited inside. Beautiful and exciting also the guide made by elderly people of the place who with great enthusiasm will accompany you through the streets of the village. The price of 400 yen is absolutely affordable compared to the beautiful day you can spend in this wonderful park
Written August 9, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Penang Island, Malaysia75 contributions
Mar 2015 • Friends
I found this very interesting and wish I had more time to spend there. It's a pretty good place to visit if you just like to take photos of or just look at the reconstructed old buildings. I went on a weekend, and there were quite a number of people - little kids and not-so-little kids - trying out walking on stilts, playing with some old-fashioned toys, and making pinwheels (little kids only!) so that made the place look quite lively.

However, if you don't speak or read Japanese, it *may* lose a tiny bit of charm and getting there may be tricky. I travelled there by train with a friend and when we arrived (at Higashi Koganei), there weren't any clear signboards indicating which bus to take to the museum. When we found the bus stop (right outside the station), the map on it was labelled in Japanese only. Fortunately for me, my friend is Japanese so she had no trouble reading the map.
NOTE: The bus that goes from Higashi-Koganei station to the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Museum is a small little bus called the Coco Bus. Costs about 100yen (you pay when you board the bus), and you just need to pay attention to the stops because there weren't any English announcements.

They do provide you with an English pamphlet at the entrance, and there are brief English descriptions outside each building. But, for example, the storytelling session was only in Japanese, and the nice old man teaching kids to make the pinwheels only spoke Japanese. So I can see this being a bit of a hit or miss for foreign visitors who can't speak the language, much like the Toei Movie Village in Kyoto...
Written March 17, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

janice q
Philadelphia, PA31 contributions
Apr 2014 • Friends
I don't know the first thing about architecture but was taken to the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural museum by a friend who enjoys this type of thing. I was expecting a boring Sunday but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed walking into the different houses and seeing how people lived in the different eras. Please heed the tip to wear slip-off shoes, as you will take them off and put them on over and over again. The model town was really interesting, and it was clear from the kids we saw there that they were having a great time playing with the old-fashioned toys.

My friend knew which train and bus to take, so I can't comment on that other than to say it was pretty straightforward - subway ride, switch to train, then take local bus which dropped us off about a block from an entrance to the park.

The park outside the museum was lovely, too. I would highly recommend a visit to this museum if you're looking for something a bit different to do outside of the normal tourist destinations.
Written October 30, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Kevin M
Newtown, Pennsylvania, United States226 contributions
Apr 2014 • Solo
Like what the Edo-Tokyo Museum does for the general history of Japan and Tokyo, this mouthful of a museum does for the buildings across Japanese history. The way these buildings are grouped by time period and arranged can make it feel like you’ve been transported to that particular era. You can also walk through many of the buildings at your leisure. The park in front of the entrance is also a beautiful place as parks go, especially in Spring during the sakura season. My only qualm is that it’s not the easiest place to get to for those limited to public transportation. From Musashi-Koganei station, I couldn’t figure out which bus to get on, so I ended up taking a taxi to the place.
Written September 11, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum is open:
  • Tue - Sun 9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
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