The architecture of Japan is one of the things that sets the country apart from others. It's very distinctive and immediately recognizable and something whose charm beckons out to many tourists.
While in cities like Tokyo, where landscapes change continuously as older buildings give way to new and modern ones, there are areas where you can take a look at various kinds of architectural gems.
One such place is the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum in Koganei-shi, just about 45 minutes outside the center of Tokyo, which is home to a collection of 30 structures from different periods of Tokyo’s history. Join us as we do a deep dive into this treasure of Tokyo!

About the Edo-Tokyo Open-air Architectural Museum

The Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum is located in Koganei – just 40 minutes from Shinjuku, Tokyo. The museum, which opened in 1993, is a collection of relocated original buildings that date as far back as the mid-Edo Period (1603-1868). Several have undergone restoration in more recent years. The 30 buildings, which are spread out over around 7 hectares, are organized into three zones: West Zone, Center Zone, and East Zone.
As the museum's name suggests, the structures sit in an extensive site, making almost for a nice and quiet village.
Here you'll see several notable homes, a mausoleum, shops, a sake bar, and more.
What's more is that you will be able to step into the buildings, and you will be able to see and explore every corner of the houses and warehouses.

West Zone: Notable Buildings

Residence of Hachirouemon Mitsui – 1952. Image courtesy of EDO-TOKYO OPEN AIR ARCHITECTURAL MUSEUM.

a. Residence of Hachirouemon Mitsui – A look into outstanding Japanese Architecture
Heading west from the entrance, you will be walking on the Cherry Blossom Viewing Trail. Of course, this area of the site is particularly gorgeous in spring with the blooming of the lush pink sakura flowers. Regardless of the season, though, this is also where you'll find one of the most majestic buildings in the museum.
The Residence of Hachirouemon Mitsui is a substantial estate, part of which was built in 1874 and part of which was added in 1952. The property was restored in 1996 to revitalize the splendor of this typical Japanese-style house.
The house belonged to the head of the main family of the 11 Mitsui families, a large business conglomerate (zaibatsu). It was built to replace the previous one built in 1906 that was destroyed during WWII. The residence is a masterpiece of wood and concrete architecture, and the interior is in itself like visiting a museum. Within the house, you'll find a…

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