Tel/Fax: 080-3207-6191

Does spending a day with your family “walking through history,” sitting on tatami mats around glowing hearths of wooden farmhouses, imagining sounds of lively bathing in the old sento, and tasting old-fashioned treats at old-fashioned prices sound appealing? The Edo-Tokyo Tatemono-en (Open Air Architectural Museum) is a little known gem in Tokyo just waiting to provide your family with such a Japanese experience.

This outdoor museum, located in western Tokyo’s expansive Koganei Park, is a branch of the Edo-Tokyo Museum. Its purpose is to provide younger generations with a sense of history by assembling a collection of buildings important to their time period. The buildings are beautifully preserved, and are set in tranquil landscaped grounds resembling their previous natural settings.

To “travel through time,” start your visit in the 200-year-old farmhouses. Fires will beburning in braziers, and children will enjoy exploring these grand 0ld treasures as much as parents will appreciate the intricate craftsmanship and history. Signs are in English, so it is easy to follow the historic trail. Next comes a collection of interesting homes owned by wealthy citizens in the pre-war years: here you can climb up into large attic storerooms, see mixes of Western and Japanese influences, and kids will most likely be choosing favourite rooms and houses to call “their own.”

Stop for lunch in the beautiful wooden teahouse, and order simple but delicious traditional Japanese dishes such as soba and donburi. The final section of the park is a sure delight for everyone: a street scene resembling an old shitamachi (downtown), with a streetcar, bathhouse, police station, and many others buildings. Children can try old-fashioned games in the square, and also taste some “olden day” inexpensive treats purchased from yukata clad vendors in brightly colored stalls.

This park is to be enjoyed by everyone in the family. Whether you are interested in Japanese history or buildings, or are simply looking for a spacious park setting where your family can roam freely and “feel” the sense of time, this day trip will not disappoint.

Dear Traveller how to get there:

Edo-Tokyo Tatemono-En
3-7-1 Sakura-cho, Koganei-shi, Tokyo 184-000
Phone: (0423) 88-311 (English) (Japanese)

Open: April-Sept 9:30am-5:30pm Oct-Mar 9:30am-4:30pm

Closed Mon (Tues if Mon is a holiday), also Dec.28-Jan 4th

Admission: Adults Y500, children Y300

Directions: Seibu Shinjuku Line: Hanakoganei Station, 5 minutes by any bus from Seiyu store, get off at Koganei Nishiguchi (West entrance to Koganei Park)

JR Chuo Line: Musashi Koganei, 7 minutes by taxi

Car: South of Ome Kaido, accessible by Itsukaichikaido or Koganei Kaido

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