I have a Facebook friend that I have known since our days on a beading forum. Rie was on holiday visiting her father at the same time I was in Tokyo so we decided to finally meet in person.
We spent the first part of our day at Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum located in Musashi-Koganei. This was a fabulous Museum showing pre Meiji era architecture and architectural styles that developed later as more western influences crept in to the Japanese vernacular. Everything from farmhouses, mansions and your average house was covered. There is even a whole street that was taken down and reassembled including the sento. One building even bears scars from the WWII, shrapnel marks from the bombing of Tokyo.
Copper clad building damaged by shrapnel
Copper clad building damaged by shrapnel. Close up you can see the damage more clearly.
Inside a traditional farmhouse. We were fortunate to find a delightful lady who worked at the Museum while we walked around the farmhouse. She was very informative. You may notice there is no ceiling and that the rafters are all blackened from smoke. The farmhouses were forbidden to have ceilings as the farmers could have hidden weapons in the space between ceiling and roof. The bamboo, even though blackened by smoke, heat and soot, actually becomes harder over time. Insects find the roofing material unappealing because of the smoke that has infused the roof.
Irori with blackened bamboo chain cover
Inside a sento. This one is not in use but has been maintained and stocked as it would have been found in the 40’s/50’s. Male and female bathing areas in this one are seperated by a wall that they could have talked over if they wanted. Baskets were on shelves to store personal belongings, stools and buckets for for washing before entering the baths. The tiled mosaics decorating the walls were most impressive and featured allegorical tales.
Exterior of sento (white wall)
Mosaic decoration, taps for washing prior to bathing
Baskets for personal belongings
Stools and buckets for washing
The baths with different areas for different temperatures
A house that formerly belonged to a member of the illustrious Mitsui family was also on display and certainly showed the combining of western and Japanese architecture. While most of the house held to a more traditional style, the kitchen was pure 1930’s/1940’s western design. So many beautiful artistic touches in this fabulous house. Everything from painting on doors, silk panels in ceilings, art deco glass lampshades, timber carving and more.
Mon, familial insignia
Silk paneled ceiling
Art deco glass light fitting
Artfully arranged wood ceiling
Heavy duty storage chests for family valuables
No nails, Japanese carpentry at its best
Strong room/vault door
Of course it was a hot day so we needed to cool down. One of the larger houses has an area fitted out as a very elegant cafe. Rie and I had a shaved ice treat with matcha. The ice was cold and the matcha strong, and a dollop of sweet bean.
after pouring our matcha on
After a bit more looking around it was time for a late lunch, sushi at a fabulous and popular sushi train a short walk away. Ok I know sushi trains are pretty common and not usually exciting. This one was. While the normal things came around on the track there was also the option to order other items from the tablet menu. These were whizzed out on a separate track. Sadly no photos
We then headed to a huge second hand fashion store before having a quick look around Kichijoji.
After a very full day it was time to say good bye and head our separate ways.
Stay tuned for my final day……..