MangoVine
Adventures in East Asia

Edo Tokyo Museum - The Best City History Museum

The Edo-Tokyo Museum is stated as the "best city-history museum" by the Lonely Planet guide book and its not bad by any means. Its near the Sumida River and we reach it via the Ryogoku metro station which is also next to the Ryogoku Kokugikan - Tokyo's sumo stadium.

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The Edo-Tokyo Museum was founded in 1993 and is a museum of the history of Tokyo. Most of the space consists of permanent exhibitions although the first thing we did upon arriving early was to visit a temporary Tezuka Osamu exhibition.

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I couldn't take any photographs in there unfortunately, but Tezuka was a talented manga artist whose most famous creation is Astroboy (Mighty Atom). The exhibition contained lots of content - many sketches and framed art as expected, as well as sketch books, note books, videos, film cells, home videos and even some of his mother's manga.

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Astroboy features prominently of course, with a small statue outside, a larger than life replica just inside and a trailer at the end, for the new US CGI production due out in October this year. We spend an hour with Tezuka before visiting the permanent exhibition. We heard that the museum is sizable so we're conscious of fitting it all in before closing time.

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It turns out that out of the six floors, only two (sixth and fifth floors) are occupied by the permanent exhibitions, but there's still lots of floor space to cover which consisted of the Edo Zone and the Tokyo Zone.

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The first thing we crossed on the smaller sixth floor was the life-size replica of the Nihonbashi - the bridge leading into Edo. (We didn't realise this until afterwards..) It's right above the centre of the visible expanse of the fifth floor and gives us a good idea of the space, as well as an overhead view of the full-size Nakamuraza theatre (below).

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Depicting the history of Tokyo are lots of original and replicated exhibits of objects, scrolls, artwork and costumes.

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But the type of museum exhibits that I love the most are scale models of which the Edo Tokyo Museum has plenty of.

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Large, scale models that are faithful representations of their originals - reproduced after painstaking investigation and research.

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These scale models of towns and buildings are from the Edo, Meiji and Showa periods and cover themes such as the 'Beauty of Edo', 'Daily living of bushi' and the 'Industrial revolution and Tokyo'.

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The Edo Tokyo Museum is well worth a visit to get any historical sense of the city. My only regret was not coming back to the area to attend a day of the sumo tournament, which just happened to be on during our visit to Tokyo.

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Check out the Edo Tokyo Museum Flickr set for more photos.

Visit the Edo Tokyo Museum website.


This entry posted in : Attractions. History. Japan. Tourism.

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