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A Complete Guide to the Wonders of the Edo-Tokyo Museum! The Historical Dioramas Can’t Be Missed!

Ryogoku is a popular tourist destination, famous for the Kokugikan where professional sumo wrestling matches are held. This article introduces the Edo-Tokyo Museum in Ryogoku, where you can learn about the history of Edo and Tokyo.

What is the Edo-Tokyo Museum?

The Edo-Tokyo Museum is a museum that opened in Ryogoku in 1993, with the aim of preserving and handing down the history and culture of Edo and Tokyo that have slowly been lost with the passage of time. It is a place to have fun and learn about the history of Edo/Tokyo through large-scale models, detailed dioramas, and exhibits of a wide selection of materials. There is a permanent exhibition that is open all year and special and featured exhibitions that are held four to five times a year.
*Edo period (1603-1868)

Opening hours: 9:30 am - 5:30 pm (Open until 7:30 pm on Saturday)
Days closed: Monday (the next day if Monday is a national holiday), Beginning and end of the year
Admission fee for permanent exhibition: (General) 600 JPY, (College and vocational-school students) 480 JPY, (High-school and junior-high students) 300 JPY, (Elementary-school students and younger) Free
Access: 1-minute walk from Ryogoku Station

What is the Edo-Tokyo Museum?

1-4-1 Yokozuna, Sumida-ku, Tokyo

Experience artistic dioramas in the Edo Zone

The permanent exhibition of Edo-Tokyo Museum is on the 5th and 6th Floors of the 7-story building. It consists of the Edo Zone and Tokyo Zone, so let's start with the Edo Zone on the 6th Floor.
The highlight of the Edo Zone is the large-scale diorama that recreates the city of Edo, approximately 400 years ago, based on historic material. The accuracy and intricacy of the buildings, the lively expressions and gestures of the model figures, and the attention to detail with which everything down to the clothing is made make the diorama a work of art. You may even feel as if you can hear the hustle and bustle of Edo.

Enjoy a Retro Townscape in the Tokyo Zone

The Tokyo Zone shows how the city of Tokyo has changed from the beginning of the Meiji period (around 1870) to the present day (around 2010).
One of the highlights of Tokyo Zone is a model recreation of the Ginza Bricktown area, the earliest Western-style neighborhood from the Meiji period, and a life-size model of the Choya Shimbun Newspaper Company building that stood where the Ginza landmark Wako is today. As in the Edo Zone, enjoy the model buildings made with attention to detail and the model figures' realistic gestures and clothing! The clothing and accessories depict how people's lives changed with the rapid Westernization of society.

Purchase Cute Japanese-style Items in the Museum Shop

There are two museum shops in the building where you can purchase a variety of products such as stationery and miscellaneous goods designed to represent the museum's collection. Highly recommended are the items that feature Akae Mimizuku. During the Edo period (1603-1867), the color red was believed to have the power to repel evil spirits so when a small child became sick, the parents would place akae (red drawings) of mimizuku (horned owls) or daruma (round, red-painted good-luck dolls) or red toys by the child's pillow and pray for recovery. There is a wide selection of akae-themed items, such as paper mache dolls, towels, and tenugui (Japanese hand towels), that are light and easy to carry and are perfect as souvenirs.

Enjoy Lunch at Sakura Saryou, an "Edo Food Culture" Themed Restaurant

The museum has a cafe to take a break in, a restaurant serving authentic yoshoku (Western-style Japanese food) and an "Edo food culture" themed cafe-restaurant, and among them, Sakura Saryou on the 7th floor is highly recommended. It is a spacious restaurant with an airy atmosphere with counter seating by the windows so that you can dine with a view. If you're lucky, you'll be able to have a view of the Ryogoku Kokugikan (Ryogoku Sumo Hall).
Recommended menu items include Fukagawa Meshi (1,250 JPY incl. tax), which was served as a staff meal to fishermen in Fukagawa, Anago Don (1,850 JPY incl. tax), a bowl of eel over rice, and Soba (950 JPY incl. tax), buckwheat noodles loved by people in Edo. This is a great place to enjoy eating like a true "Edokko" (native of Edo).

There is also a variety of events, such as programs to experience traditional culture, yose (variety shows), and talks at the Edo-Tokyo Museum, so be sure to participate and make wonderful memories from your trip.

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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