Located about 30-40 minutes west of central Tokyo, this open air facility part of the Edo-Tokyo Museum, the popular museum in the Ryogoku area of the city.
There are 30 different residences and commercial buildings that have been brought here from different parts of the city. With many of the older architecture in Tokyo rapidly disappearing due to redevelopment or for financial reasons, the visit to the park will allow visitors to get an understanding of how the styles have changed over the years - many with strong influence from western cultures. Also the inside of a few of the residences are open for visits, so for those not staying in a ryokan, this is the chance to see how the traditional rooms with the tatami mats look and feels like.
The setting itself is very nice as well, within the massive grounds of Koganei Park, making you almost forget you are still inside the city limits of such a big metropolis like Tokyo.
Plan to spend a minimum of 2-3 hours here; there is a cafe and a restaurant that serves good udon noodles at a very reasonable price in the premises.
Opening Hours: 9:30-4:30 pm (Extended to 5:30 pm from April - September), closed on Mondays
Admission fee: 400 yen for adults
How to get there: Travel west via the JR Chuo Line and get off at Musashi Koganei Station. Find the North Exit and board any bus leaving from quay 2 or 3. Departures are very frequent. You board from the rear door and pay as you exit (180 yen). Get off at the fifth stop, "Koganei Koen Nishi Guchi" The ride takes about 5 minutes.
In the area: For anime fans, the Ghibli Museum is three stops away in Mitaka, so it would be possible to combine the visit to these two museums. In fact, Hayao Miyazaki who has directed the Ghibli movies got the inspiration for his works from some of the buildings in this museum. Anyone who has seen "Spirited Away" might be able to recognize some of the buildings that closely resemble those found in the movie.
Tips for visiting: Going first to the Edo-Tokyo Museum in Ryogoku, and also getting some background on the geography of the might give you a better appreciation for things you can observe here.
You need to take off your shoes every time if you choose to see the inside of the residences; something that's easy to take off might reduce the stress of this.