The Historical Capital’s Reconstitution
Edo-Tokyo Museum is located in Ryogoku area in eastern Tokyo. Opened in 1993 and renovated in 2018, it offers an immersion in the Japanese capital’s popular culture and way of life with a focus on Edo period (1603 - 1868). Visitors can explore the old-time city thanks to scale models and life-size reconstitutions.
This museum dedicated to Tokyo’s history disrupts the image of the usual museum, as it tackles history from a fun and down to earth perspective, with lively exhibition rooms. The reconstitutions of the districts of Edo (Tokyo’s name until 1868) are dispatched between two munificent floors.
Reconstitutions of architectural and historical landmarks
The permanent exhibition’s visit starts at the sixth floor with Edo period objects, and the discovery of typical streets and houses, considered traditional nowadays. Down to the fifth floor, a teahouse, an artisan's workshop, and a Kabuki theater’s reconstitutions are open to exploration.
The iconic Nihonbashi bridge, Edo’s hub and starting point of Japan’s main roads, stands in the center of the room and connects to the last part, the most modern. This latter area reminisces the birth of Tokyo, from Meiji era to the present days and recalls the historical landmarks of the 20th century:
- 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake,
- WWII bombings, and,
- 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games.
A realistic and fun travel back in time
The staging of daily life is astoundingly realistic and immerse visitors in the ancient city’s atmosphere. Life-size settings and miniature sceneries marvel visitors who cannot help taking pictures as if they were having a view from an urban observation deck! The museum caters to adults as well as to children tastes, and the opportunity to interact with some animated replica and to try an old tricycle contribute to the appreciation of this travel in the past.
Edo-Tokyo Museum is equipped to welcome visitors with reduced mobility as well as young children. Volunteer are also available to guide foreign tourists, with a support in several languages. It is possible to book the service at the museum, up to several hours in advance, at the volunteers’ booth located near the entrance. In the other floors of the museum, a souvenir shop, two restaurants, a traditional tea shop are available, as well as a library at the top floor.
As a complement of this indoor museum, an outdoor version can be visited in Koganei Park in the west of Tokyo, called Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum.