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Edo Tokyo Museum: Top Five Tourist Spots!

Thuy FangThuy Fang
Published Time
Posted on 
May 14, 2024
Modified Time
Updated last 
May 15, 2024
A small display of boats and a boat bridge at the Edo-Tokyo Museum.

The Edo era (1603-1868) marked a significant era in Japanese history, characterized by remarkable progress and thriving success under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate. Today, many places like the Edo Tokyo Museum help recreate this period.

Tokyo, known as Edo then, served as the capital of the shogunate. During this period, Edo emerged as Japan’s political, economic, and cultural center for nearly three centuries. The Edo period’s history, culture, and architectural landmarks continue to be fascinating topics sought after by history buffs worldwide. Join us as we explore some of the finest spots to gain insights into this prosperous era!

Edo-Tokyo Museum

The Edo-Tokyo Museum is an interesting building in the Ryogoku area of Tokyo. It opened in March 1993 to help people learn about Tokyo’s past. Inside, you’ll see models of old houses, shops, and even streets. It’s almost like walking through a tiny old version of Tokyo! 

A large display at the Edo Tokyo Museum.
The Edo Tokyo Museum is home to many large-scale displays. Image via Shutterstock

At the Edo-Tokyo Museum, you don’t just learn about people’s daily lives but also explore the politics and economics of that era. Moreover, you can also participate in numerous workshops and special events held in the museum.

Now, here’s the thing—the museum has been closed for a big makeover since April 2022. But don’t worry—it’s not forever! When it opens again, probably in 2025, it will be even cooler than before.

Edo Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum

Relocated and reconstructed within Koganei Park, the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum is a peaceful getaway from busy central Tokyo. Built in 1993 by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, this unique Edo-Tokyo museum was born out of a desire to preserve Tokyo’s rich architectural heritage. As you wander around the open-air exhibition, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported back to old Tokyo.

The museum has various buildings. Some have straw roofs from long ago, while others look like Western-style houses from the Meiji era. Visitors may find walking around interesting and looking inside shops, homes, and a beautifully preserved bathhouse

Old Western buildings at the Edo Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum.
There are even some Western buildings here! Image via Shutterstock

But it’s not just about admiring the buildings from the outside. You can step inside and explore! Step inside and find meticulously recreated interiors filled with period furniture, tools, and decorations. In addition, let’s not forget about the events and activities that bring the museum to life throughout the year, such as special exhibitions and craft workshops.

Are you looking for some amazing snacks to enjoy while checking out museums? Check out TokyoTreat! TokyoTreat sends the best Japanese snacks, drinks, sweets, and more right from Japan to your door every month so you can have a fun summer party at home!

Imperial Palace East Gardens

These gardens are part of the historic Imperial Palace grounds. Imperial Palace East Gardens have been around for a long time, since the days of Edo Castle and the Tokugawa shogunate. They are annually open to the public except on Mondays, Fridays, and New Year.

The gardens are indeed an excellent paradise for nature lovers. Throughout the year, you can admire colorful flowers blooming along the walkways, from plum trees in the winter to cherry blossoms in the spring. 

The Imperial Palace East Gardens in autumn.
The Imperial Gardens are very popular. Image via Shutterstock

One of the garden’s highlights is the foundation of the former castle tower, where you can climb to the top for a panoramic view of the surrounding area. You’ll also find a beautiful Japanese-style garden, which is particularly stunning in the fall. 

Furthermore, Imperial Palace East Gardens are also home to various lovely creatures. You might easily spot some chilled herons and gorgeous koi fish. Also, don’t miss the Suwano teahouse and the Museum of Imperial Collections. There, you can see many unique artworks that belong to the royal family.

Kawagoe

Kawagoe, known affectionately as Koedo or “Little Edo,” is an attractive city in Saitama Prefecture. What sets Kawagoe apart are its well-preserved traditional buildings. The streets here have a long history from Japan’s Edo era. A standout feature of Kawagoe is its Warehouse District, where you’ll find Kurazukuri Street lined with ancient clay storehouses. 

Kawagoe in the evening, which resembles a Edo Tokyo Museum.
Kawagoe has many intact Edo-era buildings. Image via Shutterstock

Exploring Kawagoe wouldn’t be complete without a stroll down Candy Street, where traditional Japanese sweets are made using time-honored methods. The city is also home to several beautiful temples and shrines, including Kitain Temple, which boasts over 500 stone statues of Buddha with diverse, unique expressions.

Moreover, you can also take a walk along Taisho-Roman Street to experience the Taisho era (1912-1926). It’s very famous for its elegant buildings and nostalgic atmosphere. Besides, Kawagoe Castle’s Honmaru Goten, the only remaining building of the castle, also offers insight into the life of a feudal lord during the Edo period.

Nezu Jinja Shrine

In Tokyo’s Bunkyo ward, near scenic Ueno Park, is Nezu Jinja Shrine. It’s one of Japan’s oldest and most charming shrines. The shrine is surrounded by picturesque nature, with ponds full of colorful fish and paths lined with small shrine arches.

The story goes that Nezu Shrine started with Prince Osu, also known as “Yamato Takeru”, who lived around 2,000 years ago. However, its current location dates back to the mid-17th century when it was moved to Nezu by Shogun Tsunayoshi Tokugawa. Throughout history, Nezu Shrine has played a significant role, even receiving visits from the Emperor in the late nineteenth century.

Colorful Nezu Jinja Shrine in Tokyo.
This shrine was originally built in 1705. Image via Shutterstock

The most remarkable feature of this site is its architectural style. The bright red torii gates will catch your eye, making an impressive tunnel as you walk along the paths. There’s also a mini shrine called Otome Inari Shrine tucked inside, where you can see incredible views of the main shrine buildings and a peaceful pond below.

Each spring, during the Bunkyo Azalea Festival, Nezu Shrine bursts into a riot of colors, attracting visitors from all over Tokyo and beyond. With over 3,000 azalea plants in over 100 varieties, the shrine is a vibrant display of natural beauty. Visitors can also enjoy traditional Japanese weddings held here, adding to the shrine’s allure as a venue for cultural celebrations.

Why should I visit some destinations like the Edo Tokyo Museum?

If you’re curious about Tokyo’s vibrant history and captivating past, visiting the Edo Tokyo Museum or any other sites on the list here is a must! All of them are where you can discover the daily lives of its people, delve into its politics and economics, and participate in various events.

From there, you can also experience the charm of old Tokyo’s buildings and gain further insights into Japan’s rich cultural heritage. So, remember to start planning your journey today and share your favorite destination with us in the comments below!

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