Nestled neatly inside the beautiful Koganei Park in Tokyo, you can find this collection of buildings created with unique designs and engineering techniques used throughout the history of Japan. Many such designs are no longer used in modern day construction, and so this museum exists to preserve and remind visitors of the cultural heritage embedded in the architecture itself.
Much of Japan’s historic buildings have been lost to time due to natural disasters, fires, and war. Consequently, the Japanese government, realizing the loss of cultural heritage, sought to preserve what they could. The government then began to save historic architectural teaching and “buildings of great cultural value,” in hopes that current, and future, generations will be able to experience the cultural heritage found within. This led to the creation of Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum nearly thirty years ago.
Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum is a museum made of dozens of buildings dating from the Edo period (1603-1867) through the mid-20th century. For most visitors the historic buildings featuring traditional Japanese Architecture will probably be the biggest draw, and the buildings here do not disappoint in that regard (numerous great photo opportunities here). Information on the various buildings is provided in multiple languages, and staff members are quick to help non-Japanese speakers. Guests at the museum are allowed access to both the outside and inside of most of the buildings that make up the museum, allowing for a peek into the past lives of the Japanese people.
Without exploring every building, you can see much of the museum in about 3 hours. However, if you want to see everything, and grab something from the café, it may be best to plan a whole day here.
Admission cost for Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum is by age/grade:
- Senior (65 years old and over): ¥200
- Adult: ¥400
- College student: ¥320
- High school student: ¥200
- Junior high school students and younger: Free
Admission for persons with Japanese certificates of physical, intellectual, or mental disability and up to two attendants accompanying them is free. Hours of operation are, April-September from 9:30 until 17:30, October-March from 9:30 until 16:30. Closed New Year’s holidays and Every Monday （When Monday is a national holiday, the museum is closed on the following day instead）.
Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum is in Koganei Park, Tokyo, Japan. The closest station is Musashi-Koganei Station, it is a 20-minute trek from the museum, or a 5-minute bus ride. The bus is recommended, and they are wheelchair accessible.
Although most traditional buildings aren’t typically wheelchair friendly, accessibility here has not been ignored, in fact most buildings are at least partially accessible inside and out thanks to gently sloped ramps and nice flat paved paths.
There are a few elevators in various buildings (i.e. Tokiwadai Photo Studio, Residence of Hachirouemon Mitsui, and House of Georg de Lalande) that allow access to upper levels. However, some of them are too small for motorized wheelchairs, if you can transfer to one of the museums manual wheelchairs then it is possible to visit the upper floors.
While most areas are accessible, a few of the multi-story building upper floors are only accessible by stairs. Likewise, a couple of the outdoor paths are only partly accessible (though an obvious warning sign in Japanese & English is usually posted).
There are various benches and seating areas throughout for those who need to rest between walking. Caution with weather when visiting due to the open-air nature of the museum and a few slopes may become slick when wet.
Service dogs (seeing-eye dogs, assistance dogs, and hearing dogs) are allowed.
There are wheelchair accessible toilets available (6 multipurpose restrooms) in different locations throughout the museum grounds, they feature many assistive fixtures including: accessible sink, multiple grab bars, bidet and emergency call button.
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