This modern museum, which opened in 1993 in a rather striking building, is devoted to the history of Tokyo from the Edo Period which started at the end of the 16th century) to the post World War Two reconstruction and recovery. Displays include original artefacts, models and large scale reconstructions. Admission costs just 600¥ which seems very good value for a museum of this quality, and your ticket is good for multiple admissions during the same day. You buy your ticket on the 3rd floor concourse of this dramatic modern building and then take the equally striking red escalator up to the 6th floor to begin your visit - the permanent exhibits are there and on the 5th floor below. Or you can enter on the ground floor, buy a ticket and go up in the lift.
From your first arrival in the main exhibition area, when you cross a replica of the Nihonbashi Bridge to reach the first Edo period displays, you know you are in a museum that takes pride not only in its collections but in their presentation and curation. This early 19th century bridge was the gateway from Edo to such places as Kyoto (to the west) and Nikko (to the north). The original was 51 metres in length of and 8 metres wide. This replica is of the same width as the original but half its length.
As we crossed the bridge we could see below us the replica Kabuki Theatre, or rather the entryway into the Nakamuraza Playhouse where Kabuki Theatre was often performed. On this occasion some museum staff were busy setting up some musical instruments here so we lingered on the bridge and eventually were able to hear the start of a lovely performance on the koto (a traditional Japanese instrument) and some kind of flute. I don’t know if these performances are programmed regularly but it may help to know that this was at 11.00 am on a Saturday. I made a short video of the koto player while we watched, and later the music followed us as we started to explore the rest of the exhibits in the Edo zone.
These included some very good models of Edo period buildings, both town houses and rich Samurai homes; a row of replica town houses from various periods; a fascinating display about wood-block printing (showing how each differently coloured layer of the image is built up one by one); and lots of artefacts from the time. There are also some child-focused fun exhibits of replica items that you can interact with, e.g. climbing into a rickshaw or palanquin (type of sedan chair), or lifting a matoi (like a legion’s standard) to feel its weight.
The Tokyo zone which portrays the city’s more recent history is also very well done, although by the time we reached it jet-lag was kicking in (this was our first full day in Japan and my body was screaming at me that it was now 2.00 am and I really should be in bed and asleep!) Nevertheless I was interested to see how European influences gradually crept into building design and shocked to see the devastation caused by the Tokyo fire bomb raids of World War Two. I was in this area when a guide was giving some American tourists a tour and I stopped to eavesdrop on what he was telling them – apparently more people died in these raids and in the fires they caused than in Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a result of the atom bombs – horrific. More positively, a small section near the end describes how Tokyo recovered and rebuilt, and how Japan as a whole embraced a technological revolution that led to its current strong position in the world economy. It was fun to see some of the earliest examples of fridges, vacuum cleaners etc!
This is a fabulous museum with something for everyone, and is a pleasure to visit. Everything is arranged and displayed in a very effective and attractive way, and there is sufficient signage in English to ensure you get a lot out of your visit (although if you prefer you also get an English-speaking volunteer guide to show you around - for free!) Photography is allowed in the permanent exhibitions area although not for special exhibitions, and there are clear signs indicating where it is permitted to use flash (quite a lot of places).
Once we had seen as much as we could take in we went back to the ground floor and got coffee and a bite to eat in the coffee shop there – a coffee plus a cake “set” for 650¥ (I chose ice cream with rice dumplings and a sweet bean sauce, and Chris had pancakes with chestnut puree). There is also a restaurant serving Western (mainly Italian) food, and several shops with good quality items. All in all we spent several hours here, and if you were to look at every item you easily make that the best part of a day. It's a great place to come early in your visit to Tokyo to get a useful introduction to the city's history that will give context to the rest of your sightseeing.
Open 9.30a.m. – 5.30p.m, closed on Mondays
After lunch, and despite the poor weather, we headed to Sky Tree Town
The Edo-Tokyo Museum was built to educate people about Tokyo's history and its transformation from the old world of Edo to the modern metropolis it is today. They've recreated a half-size version of Nihonbashi Bridge and the Nakamura Theater in the center of the museum are impressive exhibits. The museum is quite attractive in this way, beyond exhibits themselves.
But of course, the exhibits are worthwhile and informative. The Edo exhibits feature artifacts from its earliest days with many displays about the culture and lives of the average person. Exhibits also focus on its growth and industries as you move from the Edo portion to the Tokyo Zone. The Tokyo area has information about a lot of local architecture and the industrial revolution, which of course was influential in shaping the city. It also has displays about the Great Kanto Earthquake that devastated the city, World War II (including the balloon bombs sent across the ocean to America, which I was really happy to see), and other interesting things, such as the Tokyo Olympics.
When I entered, I thought it didn't look so big, but don't be fooled! You can spend hours here! It's very worthwhile as an introduction to Tokyo. It helps you to appreciate how far the city has come in a relatively short period of time to become what it is today.
Entrance is 600 yen.
The Edo-Tokyo Museum is a museum of the history of Tokyo, established in 1993. In November of 1993 I was lucky to visit it when was on business in Tokyo.
The main features of the permanent exhibitions are the life-size replica of the Nihonbashi, which was the bridge leading into Edo; the Nakamuraza theatre; scale models of town; and buildings from the Edo, Meiji and Shôwa periods.
The museum is located in Ryôgoku adjacent to the Ryôgoku Kokugikan. It was designed by Kiyonori Kikutake. The distinctive elevated shape of the museum building is modeled after an old storehouse in the kurazukuri style.
The building was modeled after an elevated-floor type warehouse. At its highest point, it is 62.2m. This is approximately the same height as Edo Castle tower. The whole construction area covers about 30,000 square meters.
(Saturday until 7:30p.m.) Entry is permitted until 30 minutes before closing.
When a national holiday or its substitute falls on a Monday, the Museum is OPEN and is closed on the following day.
Over 65 years old 300yen
Visitors to Tokyo may be unaware of its long and fascinating history. This museum provides, in a fairly compact space, a hands-on introduction to "Edo" as the capitol was called until the Meiji era around 1868. Take a look at cultural venues, theaters and geisha houses; a demonstration of Kabuki stage tricks, the kimono and textile shops, etc. Then stroll into the Tokyo side of the museum to see exhibits beginning with the westernization of Tokyo and continuing through the Great Kanto Earthquake and the reconstruction of Tokyo following WWII. Edo Castle has an entire floor to itself!
Open Tues-Sun 9:30-5:30 PM except Saturday, 9:30-7:30 PM. Admission is 600 yen for most, although seniors and younger students are 300 yen and college students pay 480 yen.
The Edo-Tokyo Museum is a great place of adults and children alike to learn about the historical aspects of Japan. Do go for the free guided tour given by volunteers. We had a lovely Japanese lady guide who spoke excellent English and made our trip to the museum much more meaningful.
This is quite and interesting museum, which tells the story of sleepy Edo becoming the city that Tokyo is today, and it has a lot of interesting exhibits, outlining all kinds of events in the city's history. It is very interesting and worth the trip.
As a footnote though, I was disappointed by the coverage of the massacre of ethnic Koreans by mobs after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 happened. The English commentary has reference to the fact that Koreans were killed, but there is no reference to the fact that Koreans were killed in the Japanese commentary, only that there were massacres. I've put the photos up on this thread for those who want to have a look, but it's disappointing to see Japanese museums distort history once again.
That gripe aside, it's still an interesting place worth visiting.
I think i visited this place. It was set right in the middle of a sprawling garden with big balck ravens crowing about up in the trees. I was impressed by the trees, they're pretty huge as well.
Edo of course is the old name of Tokyo.
The Tokyo Edo Museum offers entrancing displays of daily life in Tokugawa Edo and Meiji Tokyo. Most of the displays consist of elaborate dioramas. The museum also features detailed displays on how to make wood block prints. A wood print had to be carved for each color, and then the color is printed on paper. The prints were popular art that people bought for souvenirs. But artists like Hokusai perfected a unique aesthetic for the prints. These prints were truly the forerunner of manga and anime.
The Edo-Tokyo Museum is housed in a huge and unusual building in the blue-collar area of Ryogoku. This excellent museum chronicles the long history of the city and is split into two main sections, Edo-era and Tokyo-era. It contains many large recreations of buildings from both eras and contains many fascinating artifacts. Multi-lingual guided tours are available, or feel free to just wander around yourself. You could easily spend all day here if you took in everything.
This was a bit of a side trip, I wanted to get to one of the major musuems before I left! There is a lot of history to see here of the old city which was mostly lost in WWII, be sure to check out the grid showing the firebombing of Tokyo which is in the museum as well. If you want to learn some more history of the old city this is defintely somewhere to stop.
The archietecture of this place was great as well, "Museum of the future, TODAY!"
The Tokyo Edo Museum is a great place to go if you would like to learn more about the City and the Region. The museum has a lot of cool information about the city, and the history of the area.
I am a big fan of armour, and seeing Samurai Swords and Armor up close was very cool. But they have a lot more to offer than that, including information about the Nuclear bombs which were dropped on Japan, early boats and and archiological information and more. Plus, they have multilingual information for those of us who are still trying to master the Japanese Language.
Contains an excellent collection of kimonos, kabuki costumes, fabrics, calligraphy, scrolls, paintings, stoneware, pottery, lacquerware, samurai armour, blades and much more.
Very intriguing. Could spend hours after hours wandering in the museum. The museum shops sell wonderful souvenirs and replicas of the exhibits.
Established in March 1993, the Edo-Tokyo Museum is the place to go to take a voyage back in time to experience the history and culture of ancient Tokyo, and also a place to ponder on the urban life of the future. In addition to real and reproduced historical articles spanning some 400 years of history in Tokyo (formerly known as Edo), the museum displays amazing large-scale models that recreate history based on meticulous study and research.
It's a fascinating building on its own, but has an interesting history of the city in models of buildings and standard museum cases of artefacts.
The building stands up above its base - like a capital 'T' - most of the building floats in the air -it's very modern, and is a good photo!
Museum dedicated to the city of Tokyo. The museum is great but the building itself is worth a visit.