An architecture museum is, when you think about it, a really good idea. Especially if your country has a rich heritage of buildings that keep getting burnt down after earthquakes. But consider... the space needed, the logistics (do you move existing old houses or build copies of old ones), the complexity of having a site where each house is potentially its own mini museum. Regardless, the Japanese decided to go for it and built one and it is the Edo Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum (english website). This is not to be confused with the Edo Tokyo Museum, which is kind of like the Museum of London in, er, London. This one is about an hour beyond the centre of Tokyo but getting there does involve getting on a bright pink gas powered miniature bus called Coco, which is quite fun.
The place was truly fascinating. Logistically, the Japanese had opted for picking up the whole original building and moving it to the site so the variety of buildings and original fittings was amazing. My 117 photos can be seen here but these are some highlights.
The Farmhouse of the Yoshino Family, dating from the 1800s.
There were also some more modern houses, like this residential suburb house from 1925, which was arranged in a western style which was quite unusual then.
The Tokiwadai Photo Studio from 1937 was really lovely.
Some of the houses had at least parts of their original gardens with them, like this one which was the House of Korekiyo Takahashi, who was an important politician and it was the site of an important coup. The house dates from around 1900.
The last section of the museum had been put together to resemble a possible shopping street in Tokyo and this is where the Artisans were, perched in shops as they might have been in the Edo era.
I was there for about four hours and that's without dawdling. If you happen to be in Tokyo and interested in such things it is definitely worth a look.