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Fukagawa Edo Museum is for Edo lovers

The Fukugawa Edo Museum is for Japanese history lovers.  But, it isn’t about the samurai or ninjas.  It is all about life in a tiny village on the banks of a canal.  You’d be correct in thinking it is something different because it is.  

Fukagawa Edo Museum displays

Many people know the Edo-Tokyo Museum in Ryogoku.  That place is enormous.  It is concerned with Tokyo’s history from when the city was known as Edo.  The Fukagawa-Edo is different.  Comparatively, it is tiny.  And it only looks at life in a village next to a canal near the Sumida river around 1840.  That is it.  Every building and object is of that place and that time. 

Fukagawa Edo Museum display area

On one side of the building is the permanent exhibit area with a village and a partial canal.  It is complete with a boat, a fire watchtower, alleys, businesses, and houses.  They all contain common implements from the period.  There is even an animatronic cat purring at you from a rooftop! 

Considering all the exhibits are inside, it is excellent.  It is very authentic.  Some people compare it to the Shitamachi Museum in Ueno.  The eras they examine are different, though.

Edo-period small boat, dock and fire watchtower

As you walk through, you’ll notice the lighting changes.  That is because the village has accelerated twenty-four-hour time.  So you’ll be able to experience morning till night in forty-five minutes!  It’s all thanks to lighting and sound effects.  When you walk in, it might be daytime with the shutters on the ceiling open, letting in light.  Then when night comes, the shutters close, and it becomes pretty dark.  The moon might even appear, and there are rainstorms too!

Edo-period green grocer

The exhibits lack nothing.  In one of the shops, you’ll find all sorts of vegetables on display.  And in another place, you’ll find grains, and yet in another, you’ll find a stall selling tempura.  It would be great if they had real stuff on sale there!

The other side is for special exhibits.  They change regularly.  On my last visit, it was all about manga.

Edo-period house interior_

Like some museums in Tokyo, there isn’t a lot of signage in English.  Anything written about the displays is minimal.  That is a pity, but it is Japan.  So, if you have any questions, you’ll need to ask one of the guides.  

The guides’ English levels can vary, though.  Some of them speak pretty well, while others are still learning. (Note:  due to the coronavirus pandemic, there are no guide activities). 

Edo-period houses

Photography tips

If you have a camera that handles low-light situations well, you’ll have no issues. But, if you don’t, getting good pictures will be quite problematic because the museum can get very dark. 

Furthermore, I suspect the museum mixes light types in the permanent exhibit area.  That makes it hard to get the correct white balance (that has been my experience).   Usually, I play with both the temp and tint slider in Lightroom to get my pictures right.

Edo-period fast food stall

Where is the Fukagawa Edo Museum?

It is near Kiyosumi-Shirakawa Station.  You can use either the Hanzomon or Toei Oedo lines to get there.  Then it is a five-minute walk to the museum.  Here is a Google map:

Admission costs

400 yen.

Opening hours

(Temporarily closed)

Closed every 2nd and 4th Monday, but open if a public holiday.  The museum is also closed over the New Year’s period, December 29 to January 3.

Other photo spots near the Fukagawa Edo Museum

  • Eitai Bridge (great for long exposure photos at night)

  • Sumida Hokusai Museum

Wrapping up

The Fukugawa Edo Museum is excellent.  It mightn’t have any swords and armor, but fans of the Edo period will love it.  It can teach you all about the daily life of the time.  

2 wooden display chickens at Fukagawa Edo Museum

I recommend getting a guide (after the coronavirus pandemic is over); else, you’ll miss out on a lot. You can see the museum’s website here. And if you have been to it, please let us know your experience there. Please leave questions or comments below.

2 thoughts on “Fukagawa Edo Museum is for Edo lovers”

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