16 December 2016

Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum (Part I)

If you might have read or studied about Japanese history, or just happened to watch any movie or anime which story is set back to a certain period in the past, the word "Edo" might not be something new for you. Yes, Edo is the former name of Tokyo and was the heart of the government at that time (and even until today). Hence the period was then named as Edo Period. 

During this period, the country was ruled by the last feudal military government in the Japanese history, know as the Tokugawa Shogunate. Therefore, Edo Period is also well known as the Tokugawa Period. The Tokugawa Shogunate divided the society into four classes consisting of Samurai atop the hierarchy, farming peasants, artisans and merchants at the bottom of the class. The Edo Period lasted for around two centuries (1603 to 1867), just before the Meiji Period took place in the Japanese history.

Well, that's a glimpse of the pre-modern Japan. Hope you're not sleepy yet just because I started the post with history, hahaha. Sorry guys! Bear with this post for a little while, because I'll take you to time travel to several Japanese periods. Witnessing various architectures from time to time, only at Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum!

Ready? Let's go! Ittekimasu!

Anyway, I went here around two months ago with Rosa, a friend of mine that I first knew during my initial phase of blogging. I was so thrilled to meet her in real life, because I've been a reader of her awesome blog for years! And we finally met at this very museum that became our first meet-up spot :D 


Maekawa Kunio's Residence
Year built: Showa 17 (1942)

*The underlined indicates the period name

Maekawa Kunio (14 May 1905-26 June 1986) is a leading figure in modern Japanese architecture. One of his prominent works includes the Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, a concert hall located in Ueno Park.

This time, we made this gabled-roofed house of Mr. Maekawa as our first stop. The first time I entered this house, I was awed by how immense the natural lighting that slipped into the living room. One of the most attractive features in this house is the "Shoji" inspired huge windows that I guess, played a significant role in diffusing the light throughout the entire living room.

On a side note, this residence has been designated as tangible cultural property by the Government of Tokyo.

This house was built during the war time. According to the museum booklet, the construction was completed during a period of time when construction materials was so hard to gain. The actual location of this residence was in Shinagawa-ku, before eventually dismantled and reconstructed in Musashi-Koganei area, where the museum is located. Standing ovation to the museum team for the endeavor to preserving this beautiful residence. 

The photo above is definitely my ultimate #workspacegoal! Big windows to bring in a satisfying amount of natural lighting, summer breeze and moonlight. And to add the perfectness of this room, is of course the sliding shoji windows style! I surely have a thing with anything shoji, name it as doors, windows, room divider, or just anything that look like shoji itself!

The bathroom and kitchen are completely influenced by western style

As you might have notice, this residence of Maekawa Kunio is indeed a beautiful combination of Western and Japanese architecture. Besides, it is truly a visualization of how a healthy house looks like. This space is just so practical, comfortable and dreamy, all at the same time. 

Through my online finding, it is said that this house was the starting point of Maekawa's career in the modern Japanese architecture world. Heap Kudos to Mr. Maekawa! So happy to get inspired from his remarkable work :)

Tokiwadai Photo Studio
Year built: Showa 12 (1937)

This two storeyed photo studio is consisting of Japanese style room, complete with tatami mat at the first floor and the photo studio at the second floor.

Just when the lighting equipment was not as developed as it is nowadays, Tokiwadai Photo Studio mainly used natural lighting that was brought into the room from the huge windows, as well as an old school continuous lighting kit as seen in the pics below.

It felt so nostalgic to see the rattan hobby horse over there

Still hoping that they won't cover the camera with that dusty black fabric though. So curious to see the camera beneath the fabric!

Don't know why but there was a sewing room as well at second floor

The Japanese style room at the first floor

The House of Hachioji Sennin's Leader
Year built: the latter part of Edo Period

A bit regretful for I didn't take a single picture of this house. It was because I was so absorbed with the beautiful chrysanthemums planted just outside the house! Don't you find them so beautiful and elegant? I don't know, maybe it's just me that think this type of chrysanthemum does look like a ballerina. Or you do too?

Anyway, this house is supposed to be the residence of the Hachioji Sennin's leader. Hachioji Sennin was a vassal group that devoted themselves to the Tokugawas.

House of The Yoshinos (Farming Family)
Year built: the latter part of Edo Period

The Yoshinos was known as a family of reputable village mayors from generation to generation. It might not look so obvious, but if you manage to notice, there's a step in the entryway known as shikidai, which shows the social status of a family. Only families of high social rank were allowed to install shikidai on their houses' entryway. On a side note, the house of Hachioji Sennin's leader also has a shikidai

The house of the Yoshinos is designated as a tangible cultural property by the local government of Koganei City

Whew! Good job Shabrina, you properly took the overall appearance of the house this time, haha. The inner part of the house was quite poorly lighted, hence I wasn't able to take a decent photo to show you guys here. Well, the photos that I took were actually pretty editable, but I was so stupid that I deleted them right after I shot. Just because I felt unsatisfied way too hurry :( now I kind of  regretting it... 

de Lalande's Residence
Year built: around Meiji 43 (1910)

Georg de Lalande is a German architect who moved to Japan in 1903 and opened an architect office ever since. He died from pneumonia in 1914.

After de Lalande's death, the ownership of the house had changed several times before eventually Mishima Kaiun took it over in 1956 (Showa 31). Speaking of which, have you ever heard or even drunk Calpis, the famous Japanese uncarbonated soft drink? Mishima Kaiun is the inventor of the drink and also the founder of Calpis Co., Ltd. 

This house was located in Shinanomachi, Shinjuku area until 1999 (Heisei 11), before dismantled and relocated in the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum. Currently, the house is also functioned as a retro themed museum cafe.

Toei 7500 Series
Year manufactured: Showa 37 (1962)

Toei 7500 series was a type of tramcars operated by Tokyo Metropolitan Bureau of Transportation (Toei). This series was first introduced in 1962 and consisting of 20 units of vehicles. The one that is preserved in the museum is the 7514.

The 7500 series operated between Shibuya Stastion and Shinbashi route. However unfortunately, the operation was discontinued in March 2011 mainly due to the rapid growth of traffic density in the street of Tokyo.

Despite it was Saturday when we came here, the museum wasn't really crowded. The fact that it was located in the extremely huge Koganei Park (7ha in size) making it seemed less crowded is true. But it wasn't that hard for us to get a photograph without any stranger making an appearance in the picture every time we enter an exhibition. 

Except with this little dude, hahaha.


Well guys, I guess I'll stop here for this time. I decided to split the post into two parts, just because it would be too lengthy if I persist to put everything within one post.

Anyway, as I said before, this museum is located inside the super huge Koganei Park. It is divided into three zones, namely the West Zone, Center Zone and East Zone. The exhibitions that I show you in this post are all from the West Zone, so I still have some other left to show you from the east one!

The Koganei Park

If I got to pick my favorite exhibitions from this zone, they would be the Maekawa Kunio's residence and the Toei 7500 Series! What about you? Please tell me on the comment section! <3 

When I was browsing to find any information related to this museum, the striking yellow 7514 was indeed what let my desire to visit this museum grew uncontrollably. However, I never knew that I would be so obsessed with Maekawa's work when I first entered it!

So I'll see you on the next post, hopefully very soon!
Hope you guys enjoy this post just as much as I enjoyed writing it ;)
Have a great weekend,



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