If you are interested in Japanese history and the role of architecture in understanding different periods, this museum is a must-see. The concept is quite unique as the museum is actually outdoors, and it’s located right in the magnificent Koganei park, which feels kilometers away from Tokyo, even though it’s still in the city.
The museum has been relocating and reconstructing buildings in accordance with the requirements for preservation and salvaging the few architectural remains that were spared from fires, earthquakes, floods and warfare throughout the course of Japanese history.
All the buildings are characteristic to different historical periods, and a handful are built by famous Japanese architects. Most of the buildings exhibited are from the Meiji Period (1868-1912) and more recent times, and include among others, a politician’s elegant former residence, a farmhouse, a photo studio, a public bathhouse, various shops, restaurants and a police box.
You can enter all the houses and shops if you’re patient enough to take slipping in and out of your shoes each time. You can tour the houses and make yourself at home, pretending to cook in the kitchen or sit on the sofas and chairs. Our favorite house was a simple wooden house from the Edo period, which presented gorgeous tatami floors and sliding doors.