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Experience the past lifestyles of ordinary people at the Shitamachi Museum



2020.12.03 (Thu)

By Charlotte, long-term Tokyo resident & history-loving traveler

Today, I would like to introduce the Shitamachi Museum. Do you ever feel sad how, with development and globalization, the remnants of the past are slowly disappearing? Sure, buildings and other objects are recognized as having historical value. But do you ever think about how people in the past actually lived? Do you wonder if it is only photographs that still tell these peoples' stories? If you find yourself asking such questions, then consider visiting the Shitamachi Museum, where you can directly experience how ordinary people in the "Shitamachi" area of eastern Tokyo once lived.

Located in Ueno, the Shitamachi Museum introduces visitors to the culture of the Shitamachi area from the Edo period (1603-1868) to the middle of the Showa period (1926-1989). The museum also features detailed exhibits of furniture, everyday tools, and other items. The first floor contains a reproduction of a Taisho period (1912-1926) street, complete with shops, candy stores, and other period buildings. With its wells and rickshaws, this exhibit offers scenes that can rarely ever be found in today's Tokyo. You can even go inside the buildings. It feels like you have suddenly traveled back through time. The second floor features traditional toys, documents on life in the Shitamachi area, and other exhibits. Visitors are free to touch and play with toys such as kendama and pellet drums.

This is not a museum where everything is locked away in glass showcases. Here, you can physically enter buildings and run your fingers over the exhibits. At times, walking through the museum, you can almost feel the presence of past peoples around you. Check out the museum on your next visit to Ueno.
Address: 2-1, Uenokoen, Taito-ku, Tokyo

* Please follow facility instructions when touching exhibits.
* See the official website for operating hours and other details.

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