The Shinjuku Historical Museum
Have you ever wondered what your city was like 30,000 years ago? Apparently the founders of the Shinjuku Historical Museum did, and that resulted in a stellar set of exhibits that take you on a journey of discovery from the Stone Age to the Information Age.
The museum covers everything from the evolution of public transportation to modern literature, and is especially a treat for Tokyo geography buffs such as myself. The exhibits are in Japanese, but don’t let that deter you—the English pamphlets that the museum provides ensure that you will enjoy your experience. To learn more, check out this article which covers the museum in detail.
The Fire Museum
If you study Tokyo’s history, it won’t be long until you learn about the city’s tragic history with fires. However, tragedy gave birth to innovation in firefighting, and that’s what the Fire Museum is all about.
This museum has earned the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence on three separate occasions, and it’s easy to see why. The Fire Museum takes you from the dawn of firefighting, when samurai held that responsibility, to the modern era, showcasing the latest in firefighting technology. Perhaps the highlight of the museum is the fifth-floor terrace which has a real helicopter that you can sit in!
The museum is completely free, the exhibits are in English and Japanese, and you are allowed to take pictures to your heart’s content. Few museums in Tokyo offer this trifecta of sightseeing goodness. David, a fellow Tadaima Japan author, was fortunate enough to get a detailed, behind-the-scenes tour of the museum. Click here to read about his experience.
The Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery
A fusion of art and history, the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery is home to 80 paintings that chronologically depict the life and times of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. Mirroring the rapid modernization that occurred during the Meiji Era (1868 – 1912), the first 40 paintings are traditional Japanese style while the latter 40 are western style.
Originally built in the mid-1920s, the building resembles a stone fortress and is worth a visit for its architecture alone. Not into art and history? Check out the official website for a myriad of activities that can be enjoyed in the greenspace surrounding the museum (weather permitting, of course).
More to come
These museums, all within walking distance of Arakicho and the Tadaima Japan Shinjuku Ryokan, are just the tip of the iceberg. Stay tuned for more articles on museums and other rainy-day activities as we head west through Shinjuku. Until then, stay dry!
For smartphone users, please click the link below to go to the Tadaima Japan website which includes additional location details:
3 Shinjuku Museums to Visit on a Rainy Day