Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum


In between jobs on a weekday some friends and I headed down to the Edo Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum as they were having a special exhibit related to Studio Ghibli and in particular the movie Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi)

According to the announcement, Mr. Miyazaki came here for much of his inspiration for Spirited Away.  In the main building at the museum they had a room full of production materials from the movie and they had a few pictures of Mr. Miyazaki walking around the grounds checking out the buildings. If you've seen the movie you'll probably see some of his inspiration in these pictures.

an old restaurantsake bottles
a barsento (bath)
men's sidewomen's side
tiles in the bathscrub me please
view from the bathCoke is in everyone's history
just inside the entrancea store
buildingskasa (umbrella)
a zillion drawersmore buildings
brushes (for kanji?)an old train

The sento (bath) above is supposedly the inspiration for the giant onsen in the movie where Chihiro works and the scenes inside the bath as well.  The buildings in these pictures inspired the town where Chihiro's parents turn into pigs.  The old train was clearly inspiration for the train in the movie.  I think the one I found the most interesting was the store full of a zillion little drawers just like the room Kamaji the 6 armed man was in.

The museum grounds are at least 5 or 6 times as big as they probably look from these pictures but most of the rest is full of buildings from other eras. In the map above the pictures on this page are from only the right most road.

The museum is not far from Tokyo, maybe 25−30 minutes on the Chou Line out of Shinjuku.  It is a little hard to find though. Once you get off the train at Musashi Koganei Station you'll have to ask someone which bus to take.  The bus we took was different than all the other buses that come to that station, smaller and newer.  I think it's a local bus only.  You should probably tell the driver that you are trying to go the Edo Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum or in Japanese the Edo Tokyo Tatemono Hakubutsukan (tah tey moe noe ha coo boo tsoo kahn − coo boo and tsoo rhyme with stew).  It actually took 15 or 20 minutes from the station.  Maybe the buses have changed since the instructions on the museum's webpage were written.  When the driver drops you off your are on a small one lane road that is separated from a fairly busy 2 lane road by a river or stream.  You need to cross the stream and the 2 lane road and walk in the same direction the bus you just got off of was going for 5 or 10 minutes, down the 2 lane street and eventually you'll see a road on your right that looks like a park entrance with greenways and trees down both sides of the road.

The museum is actually inside a much larger public park called Koganei Park. You could easily make a whole day of this if you felt like taking advantage of the park although if you want to check out all of the museum's buildings expect it to take you 2 or 3 hours.

If you are a fan of Mr. Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli I highly recommend this place.  It was very cool to see some real stuff and far far more interesting than the disappointing Ghibli museum.

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