- Taking photos of historical Japanese architectures remaining in Tokyo.
- So, where should you take photos?
- 1. House of Korekiyo Takahashi
- 2. City train model 7500
- 3. Shitamachi Naka street
- 4. Public bathhouse "Kodakara-yu"
- 5. Farmhouse of the Tsunashima Family / House of the Leader of the Hachioji Guards
- 6. Tokiwadai Photo Studio
- How to access “Edo-Tokyo Open-Air Architectural Museum”
Since you're visiting Tokyo, why not be more particular with the photos and take memorable ones?
While modern spots like the Shibuya Scramble Crossing and the red light district of Shinjuku Kabukicho are typical Tokyo-like sceneries, you may want to add nostalgic "good old Japan" snaps as well to make your photo collection even better.
If this sounds appealing to you, "Edo-Tokyo Open-Air Architectural Museum" is the perfect place to fulfill your wishes. Located in Koganei-shi Tokyo, it is a well known tourist spot with iconic historical architectures from the Edo, Meiji, Taisho, and Showa period gathered into one spot.
Of the numerous buildings exhibited here, we wish to introduce the ones which are especially impressive.
Why not visit Edo-Tokyo Open-Air Architectural Museum to feel the nostalgic Japanese atmosphere and enjoy your photo shooting experience with famous cultural architectures?
Taking photos of historical Japanese architectures remaining in Tokyo.
an open-air exhibit of ”House of Georg de Lalande” in the Edo-Tokyo Open-Air Architectural Museum
A time traveling experience to the days of good-old Japan. About Edo-Tokyo Open-Air Architectural Museum.
The "Edo-Tokyo Open-Air Architectural Museum" is located in Koganei-shi of western Tokyo.
A popular tourist spot since its establishment in 1993, with numerous historical architectures gathered in one spot.
Within this 70,000 m2 site, architecture with high cultural values throughout Tokyo have been relocated, restored, preserved, and exhibited. This was done under the purpose of preserving and protecting these historical buildings in view of losses experienced in the past due to fires, earthquakes, and wars.
A total of 30 buildings from the early Edo to the middle of Showa period have been gathered, and are exhibited in its original state with detailed resources about the people’s living back then.
The environment allows you to feel the everyday lives of the inhabitants directly through your skin, as if you have time travelled back to that time.
This time, we visited the open-air exhibition of the Edo-Tokyo Open-Air Architectural Museum, where the buildings are actually lined. In case you may be wondering what's inside the museum, exhibition rooms and museum shops covering various themes of interest are available at your pleasure.
Though there are few exceptions, you're generally free to take pictures of the buildings here.
However, note that you are not permitted to use photographic equipment such as tripods, inside the buildings.
Provided with resting places and cafes, we recommend you to take small breaks in between sessions, whenever you feel physically fatigued from the touring and photo shooting activities.
Taking a memorable shot in Edo-Tokyo Open-Air Architectural Museum
A mascot character named “Edomaru” is illustrated on the signboard
Our purpose for this visit is to take as many memorable and impressive pictures as possible alongside the historical buildings. With that said, we will be walking through the open-air exhibitions with a camera in hand the entire time. The admission fees for adults are 400 yen per person. After making your payment and receiving the sightseeing brochure at the reception, it's time to step into the nostalgic olden days of Tokyo.
So, where should you take photos?
The open-air exhibition area is quite large, and it will take you an entire day to see through all of them. With the entrance square located in the center, it's largely divided into 3 parts; the West Zone, Center Zone, and the East Zone. Of the 30 buildings exhibited, 14 of them are the ones you are allowed to enter, and the rest are intended for viewing from the outside.
The map of the entire open-air exhibition (Courtesy: Edo-Tokyo Open-Air Architectural Museum)
Since the area is so wide, we strongly recommend you to pick out the places of your interest and plan your tour in advance upon your visit. If you have trouble deciding which exhibitions to see, don't hesitate to ask for help from the volunteer guides at the Entrance square. Knowing everything about the area from the characteristics of each building to the optimal route for your touring plan, they will provide you all necessary information based on your request.
Mr. Kitagawa will tell you the recommended buildings and routes as the volunteer guide
We would like to introduce the following six exhibits as our most recommended spots.
1. House of Korekiyo Takahashi (Center Zone C3)
2. City train model 7500 (Outdoor exhibit)
3. Shitamachi Naka street (East Zone)
4. Public bathhouse "Kodakara-yu" (East Zone E4)
5. Farmhouse of the Tsunashima Family (West Zone W8) / House of the Leader of the Hachioji Guards (West Zone W5)
6. Tokiwadai Photo Studio (West Zone W1)
All buildings listed here are symbolic architecture of that time and a promising spot for taking enchanting photos. In addition to the above, we will introduce other recommended spots equally suitable for photogenic shots.
1. House of Korekiyo Takahashi
House of Korekiyo Takahashi made entirely of hemlock fir
The House of Korekiyo Takahashi was the scene of the famous coup d'etat "February 26 Incident". Korekiyo Takahashi is a famous politician known for his success and achievements during the Meiji and Showa era.
Built in 1902, the house’s walls have unique traditional Japanese characteristics known as the Makabe-zukuri. It's specified as a “Tsugabushin”, an architecture made entirely out of a luxury wood called “Tsuga”, proving how well-known Korekiyo Takahashi was at that time.
The entire building is carefully deliberated, with fancy parquet floors of the western style room and other eye catching features.
You can take photos with a solemn atmosphere
An aesthetic photo of a nostalgic Japanese house can be taken here.
Please note that you are not allowed to touch any equipment inside, so be aware of your surroundings when shooting.
2. City train model 7500
Heading to our next destination out of the Center Zone, we move towards the East Zone.
The corner of the Eastern square is where the City train model 7500 is exhibited. It is a train formerly known for running in Tokyo (from Shibuya station to Shinbashi, Hamacho, Nakanohashi, and Sudacho station). With the city train no longer existing today, except for the Arakawa Line, here, you can find the charming round shaped, bright orange city train loved by the people in the past.
The charming bright orange color of the model 7500
You are free to board the train and view inside. Enjoy the retro Showa atmosphere and scenery created by the wooden floors, old-fashioned ceiling fans, and a paper route map at that time pasted next to the driver's seat wall. Try sitting on the seat and take a snap for a photo, looking as if you've time slipped to the past.
The classic Showa looking interior is also attractive
3. Shitamachi Naka street
”Shitamachi Naka street” expands toward the East Zone
The Shitamachi Naka street has buildings from various eras lining up on both sides, extending through the East Zone and ending at the innermost building, "Kodakara-yu".
Buildings from the Edo to early Showa era are displayed here, with storefronts mainly from the Showa reflecting the conserved atmosphere of the past days.
While you can't enter the shops, enjoy the lively view of the products lined up and showcased in the entrance (touching is prohibited).
Now, let us introduce our recommended photo spots from the Shitamachi Naka street.
■Hanaichi Flower Shop (East Zone E7)
The building on the right is the ”Hanaichi Flower Shop”
"Hanaichi Flower Shop" is a flower shop that was open during the Showa era. Though the building itself was built in early Showa, the inner atmosphere is a reproduction of the store from around 1955. Since it's a flower shop, the structure of the shop is designed based on functionality, with the floor made from scrubbed pea gravel and tiled flower stands both excellent in water drainage performance. The flowers displayed in the store varies depending on the season, and as for today, artificial flowers such as tulips were arranged and exhibited. It's easy to imagine that the shop was filled with beautiful flowers at that time.
The outer wall and tiles in white gives us a sense of cleanliness
■Maruni Shoten(East Zone E10) an alley on the side
The impressive outside appearance created by the copper plates
The elaborate design of the outer wall, made from combining copper plate pieces makes this building unique. "Maruni Shoten" is a Kitchenware Store formerly located in Jinbocho, selling general household goods such as brooms and baskets. A tenement house has also been relocated and reconstructed at the back of the store.
A photo shot resemblance to the good old days of Japan
The array alongside the tenement house is our recommended photo spot. If your visit is during springtime, the contrast between the tender spring green and the aged crimson color of the wood and copper outer wall creates a nostalgic scenery.
4. Public bathhouse "Kodakara-yu"
Kodakara-yu is a typical public bath architecture of Tokyo
"Kodakara-yu" is located at the end of the Shitamachi Naka street. Built in 1929 in Adachi-ku, it is a typical public bath house of Tokyo, yet preserving its original appearance of that time.
The splendid Kara Hafu style gable(roof decoration) is suggestive of Japanese shrines and temples. Along with statues of the Seven Deities of Good Luck displayed in the main entrance, Kodakara-yu is a must-see architecture during your visit.
The traditional public bath structure with a Bandai (platform of the attendant) placed in the center between the Men's and Women's bath is also a unique and attractive feature. You can enter both the dressing room and the bathing area, but be careful as it is prohibited to touch the wooden bucket and cagots in the dressing room.
The oil painting of Mt.Fuji is stylish
The oil painting of Mt. Fuji on the wall is a distinctive characteristic found in traditional Japanese public baths. The perfect pose recommended for a picture here is to look up at the painting from the bathtub, which we actually did for this report.
There are numerous other buildings as well to watch for in the street where Kodakara-yu is located, each restored to its original state of the past.
The Tailor’s workshop was built during the Meiji era
The Tailor’s workshop is a building from the early Meiji era.
Its main characteristic comes from the construction method called the "Dashigeta-zukuri", where the eaves are extended toward the front side of the building to jut out.
On this day, the weeping willow planted next to the building has begun to green, allowing us to experience a recaptured feeling of the stylish Meiji era.
As shown in this picture with the willow, a traditional Japanese umbrella perfectly fits this situation, which you can rent from an umbrella wholesale store called "Kawano Shoten". The umbrellas are free of charge.
The bar "Kagiya", is also a perfect spot for a photo shoot.
Said to be built in 1856, it was reconstructed to reflect the interior and mood from the 1970s, back when it was open and serving as a bar. It's a counter-style izakaya, where residents used to freely drop by for a chat and drink.
The counter and its surroundings are also brought back to its original state
5. Farmhouse of the Tsunashima Family / House of the Leader of the Hachioji Guards
The beautiful thatched-roof appearance of the Farmhouse of the Tsunashima Family.
From the East Zone past through the narrow path of the Wild Grass Zone, is where the West Zone is located.
Here, you can find various thatched-roofed buildings from the Mid-Edo to Late Edo period, such as the farmhouses of the "Yoshino Family", "Tsunashima Family", and "House of the Leader of the Hachioji Guards". With thick beams and central pillars, the unique characteristics of traditional Japanese wooden architecture is definitely worth seeing.
There are some days when the furnaces and fireplaces are lit by the volunteers, providing you a vivid image of the daily lives at that time. We were lucky enough to witness the lit fireplace in the house of Tsunashima Family, and a fired furnace in the House of the Leader of the Hachioji Guards on this visit. People of that time put the wood on fire and raises smoke to keep away harmful insects from settling in the ceiling. You can feel the history through the thick beam running above, as it has blackened due to aging and exposure to smoke over the years.
A photo sitting along the veranda, a distinct scenery of an old Japanese-style house.
A photo alongside the thatched-roofed houses is strongly recommended here.
With the sliding doors of the veranda fully open, this expansive space diffuses the distinct taste of an old Japanese-style house.
6. Tokiwadai Photo Studio
The modern looking wall made from mortar is one of its main features.
On our way back to the Entrance Square from the West Zone, we stopped by the "Tokiwadai Photo Studio" located along the Yamanote street. It's a home studio built in 1937 in Tokiwadai, with the first floor intended for residential use, and the second floor was designed to be a photographic studio. This is a suitable photo spot if you wish to take photos with a Showa-modern look.
A tatami living room with the looks of a traditional Japanese house
A Japanese modern kitchen
The purpose of the frosted glass window on the northern side of the studio is to ensure stable lighting levels during photo sessions. With the plastered wall gently reflecting the natural lights gathered from the window, people were able to take beautiful photos despite the lighting equipments being underdeveloped at that time.
Take as many photos as you want until you’re satisfied, but don’t forget to visit the second floor studio, where staff will take a commemorative photo of you for free.
Taking a commemorative photo while receiving commentaries at the second floor studio
How to access “Edo-Tokyo Open-Air Architectural Museum”
Using the “CoCo Bus” running through Koganei city is recommended
You can access the Edo-Tokyo Open-Air Architectural Museum by bus from Musashi Koganei, Higashi Koganei, and Hanakoganei stations.
For this visit, we boarded the bus from JR Higashi Koganei station, which was a 10 minute walk after getting off at "Tatemono-En Iriguchi" bus stop. This route uses a community bus running through Koganei city called "CoCo Bus" (100 yen per ride, CASH ONLY).
Tatemono-En Iriguchi Bus stop
Access from Musashi Koganei station and hana Koganei station are also available.
See below for detailed information.
Access from Musashi Koganei station
From Musashi Koganei station North exit, Bus terminal no.2 and 3 via Seibu Bus
To "Koganei Koen Nishiguchi" bus stop → about 5 minute walk
From Musashi Koganei station North exit, Bus terminal no.4 via Kanto Bus, bound for Mitaka
To "Edo-Tokyo Tatemono-en-mae" bus stop → about 3 minute walk
Access from Hana Koganei station
From "Minami Hana Koganei" bus stop (along Koganei Kaido) via Seibu Bus, bound for Musashi Koganei Station
To "Koganei Koen Nishiguchi" bus stop → about 5 minute walk
Try taking Retrospective, Modern, and Stylish Fancy photos with the historical buildings of Tokyo
It's needless to say that the modern scenery of Tokyo full of neon lights and skyscrapers are marvelous, but you might as well want to stamp the scenery of Tokyo’s good old days, to make your visit even better.
With numerous buildings yet conserving the cultural cityscape of that time, why not visit Edo-Tokyo Open-Air Architectural Museum to enhance your photo shooting experience during your stay in Tokyo.