Spotlight

Spotlight: Fukugawa-Edo Museum (Tokyo)

Tokyo has a wealth of museums but this one is a perpetual favorite. If your inner child just jumps up and down at the idea of hands-on fun, then indulge it and head out to the old-fashioned Fukugawa neighborhood where Edo-era Tokyo comes alive.

The Fukugawa-Edo Museum (not to be confused with the larger and also very worthwhile Edo-Tokyo Museum) isn’t much more than one large room. But in that room, the museum has created an entire city block as it would have appeared in the Edo era (1603-1868). Not only are the buildings filled with authentic props (like a rice pounder at the rice merchant’s store or high-necked wooden pillows hidden away in household closets) but visitors are allowed to climb through the buildings and pick up anything that isn’t nailed down. If you’re not too sure on what you’re looking at, the museum has a fantastic multi-page guidebook that describes each and every property in the museum (and gives a fun little backstory of the neighborhood “residents” as well).

An inn overlooking the Sumida River in the Fukugawa-Edo Museum

For an added touch of authenticity, the museum experiences day and night on a 24 minute cycle. Cats meow, crickets chirp, the sound of merchants selling inari zushi (tofu pockets stuffed with rice) completes the background soundtrack.

There are a few sections downstairs that exhibit documents and pictures relating to the Edo period but sadly, no part of this exhibition is translated. However, a large room off the side often showcases traveling art and the information sheet is presented in both languages. I once saw all of Hiroshige’s Fifty Three Stations of the Tokaido Way woodblock prints on display here and it was stunning.

The Fukugawa-Edo Museum is a short walk from the Kiyosumi-Shirakawa metro stop (on the Oedo line); after a museum visit, don’t leave without stopping off at the Kiyosumi Shirakawa garden, a beautiful stroll garden with a large pond and beautiful grove of cherry trees.

Details

Hours: 9:30am – 5:00pm; closed the second and fourth Monday of each month.
Price: Adults: ¥300  Under 15: ¥50
Location: 3-5 minutes on foot from Kiyosumi-Shirakawa Station on the Oedo Line. Located off Kiyosumi Dori on a street called Fukagawa Shiryokan Dori.
Tel: 03-3630-8625

3 thoughts on “Spotlight: Fukugawa-Edo Museum (Tokyo)

    • It’s really neat to hear the sounds taper off and watch night “fall” across the city. Then you can tell when morning is coming again by the clanging of the riverboats and the peddlers. It’s a very cool effect and well done.

  1. Oh! The day-night cycle and backsounds reminds me of Osaka Museum of History near the Osaka Castle complex… Overall, it’s the same concept, I guess. When we enter the “city block” we were offered to change into yukata and the likes for around 100 yen, and the uncle there would help take picture of us with the real Edo backgrounds, it’s an awesome experience!

    They also have lifelike dog statues in the middle of an alley, I was so amused

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