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Travel back in time to the Edo period at the Osaka Kurashi no Konjakukan, the first of its kind in Japan!

Travel back in time to the Edo period at the Osaka Kurashi no Konjakukan, the first of its kind in Japan!

2021-07-28 Management office

Management office

Author of this article

Management office

Basic Information

The museum is dedicated to the ways of living and living conditions of Osaka residents throughout history, as well as the unique culture of Osaka. It recreates the townscape of Osaka from the late Edo Period up to the post-war era, with various models and exhibits available to see. The museum is located on the 8th, 9th and 10th floor of the Osaka Municipal Residential Info Center and offers various experiences and workshops for its visitors and aims to introduce life in Osaka from the point of view of a local resident, learn a bit about the rich history of the city and also improve the public image of Osaka in general.
The 10th floor is an observation floor that can be reached via an escalator from the 8th floor and offers a birds view of the 9th floor below that faithfully recreates the townscape of Edo Period Osaka. The 8th floor is dedicated to pre-modern and modern times contrasting the historical atmosphere of the 9th floor. There are various seasonal events held here periodically, offering something different in each passing season. The Osaka Municipal Residential Info Center in which the museum is located is fully dedicated to all aspects of residence in Osaka, so people from all over Japan and beyond can learn a bit more about living in present-day Osaka.

A peek into the past from the 10th floor

The 9th floor is designed to recreate the townscape of Osaka in the late Edo Period, offering a view perhaps familiar from many old period dramas and movies. The immersive atmosphere will make you feel as if you had traveled back into the distant past.
The buildings are recreated in their original sizes and the top-down view from the 10th floor will make you feel almost like a stray cat jumping from rooftop to rooftop.
Explanations are available for respective exhibits, providing a bit more background information regarding the scenery unfolding below you.
Before you enter the recreated town it is necessary to store your luggage except your valuables in the locker. This is in order to prevent any potential damage to the exhibits in case of any unfortunate accidents, for example by visitors bumping into respective objects along the walkway.
For an extra layer of immersion there is a kimono rental shop located on the 9th floor, so if you would like to fit into the scenery you can change into a proper kimono before entering the historical town area.

Travel back into the past and enjoy a real authentic Edo Period townhouse

After you have enjoyed the top down view of the historical townscape along with the audio guide voiced by none other than the legendary Rakugo master and national treasure of Japan Beichou Katsura, it is now finally time to descend to the 9th floor and enjoy the atmosphere of the Edo Period up close.
Not only are the houses faithful replicas of old merchant houses, they are also fully equipped with various goods and merchandise from the era (not available for purchase). The kanzashi hair decoration features authentic period combs, the fusuma sliding door shop displays not only the sliding doors but also various household items from the Edo period and at the kimono store you can see a wide assortment of authentic kimonos, accessories, hats - almost as if they were on sale right at this moment. You can also see an old pharmacy or an antique shop, fully equipped with a watch booth and an abacus used during transactions. There are not only merchant houses, but also commoner houses available, where you can sneak a peek into the daily lives of an average household, for example as they were preparing their meal in a pot over a hearth. The bath house displays authentic baths that can be observed from up close and the toy store features toys from the Edo Period that the visitors can actually play with. Last but not least, there is also a kimono rental shop located on the 9th floor. Even though it charges a modest fee (500 yen) it adds a whole new layer of immersion to your experience, as you stroll through the old street whilst wearing authentic Edo Period style kimonos. As a very unique touch the indoor lighting of the 9th floor reflects the current time of the day, so you can even enjoy the romantic atmosphere of the old townscape at sunset!

See how the tides of time shaped modern Osaka through a detailed diorama on the 8th floor!

As you descend to the 8th floor you will find the Panorama Tour of Modern Osaka that showcases the development of the Osaka landscape through the Meiji and Showa eras.
Here you can see for example a diorama of common folk rushing to the Shinsaibashi-suji shopping arcade to get the latest fashionable clothes in the early Showa era, discover what the iconic Tsutenkaku tower and the adjacent Luna Park used to look like before the war, or take a peek at the biggest festival of Osaka up until present day, the Tenjin Matsuri. The dioramas also display special areas like Kitasenba and the Foreigner Settlement.
Among them the housing project Furuichi-Naka stands out. After its construction it was hailed as the state of the art housing project that set new standards for housing and living.
Or sneak a peek into the nagaya-style longhouses that started in the early Edo Period but saw a massive boom in popularity once again in the early Showa era. You can also see an exhibit on post-war accommodation where buses were converted to makeshift caravans, giving you an idea of the harsh reality of the post-war era.
The first thing you will see upon entering is a mechanized Nishiki-e woodblock print, depicting the gradual evolution of Osaka including fashion and architecture. The dioramas are all exceptionally detailed, providing great insight into the daily lives of the Japanese in the respective eras.

Museum Shop

The museum shop features various simple toys from the respective eras, including the iconic kendama or the menko that became popularized in the west as pogs. The selection is not limited to toys however, but includes kanzashi hair decorations, tenugui scarves and even maps of old Osaka. We especially recommend the “MiniArt Kits'' miniature model sets featuring various nostalgic objects like rickshaws or gramophones among others.
The replicas of Edo Period postcards also make for an exceptionally excellent souvenir.
For those who would like to rest for a bit there are chairs and vending machines available in the museum shop.

Monthly Special Exhibitions

On top of various periodic workshops and public tours of the machiya houses, the museum hosts a special exhibition with a different theme each month. Whether old paintings or household appliances, the genres themselves are various but they all represent the history of Osaka.
Among the common household appliances you can see old mixers and rice cookers, a precursor to the modern gas stove or even a rotary dial telephone. Ease of use and convenience made massive leaps forward since those times, but having to dial in each number and waiting for the dial to return to the default position as opposed to simply tapping the number makes you realize just how time consuming each and every action was in the past. We may be oblivious to the convenience of the digital age, so this experience really does help bring things into perspective.
For a real bout of nostalgia check out the exhibition featuring old utensils, especially those from mess halls and canteens. Even though the special exhibition hall has an extra entry fee of 200 JPY, it is well worth the trip in time into the not so distant, yet very nostalgic past.

In the vicinity

There are many interesting spots in the vicinity of the museum. For example there is the Tenjinbashi-suji shopping arcade and the Samurai Cafe, Ogimachi Park with the popular Kids Plaza in the south, or Umeda area in the west with the hottest malls.
Tenjinbashi-suji is a famous, 2.6 km long shopping arcade. With a total of over 600 shops, it is the single longest shopping arcade in Japan. There is no shortage of delicious restaurants and cafes in the arcade as well, making it a great choice for lunch or dinner.
The Samurai Cafe offers more than just refreshments. Here you can also enjoy a samurai themed show, up close and personal. After the show you will have an opportunity to try out the costumes as well, and the cafe even permits bringing in food from the neighboring restaurants!
For families with children, heading out toward the Ogimachi area is a great choice after visiting the museum. Here you can find the Ogimachi Park and the Osaka Kids Plaza, a special museum where kids can both play and learn in a variety of workshops and classes. The park is quite spacious and features a playground and a mountain slide with tunnels in the hill and more to find and explore.
If you instead head out toward Umeda, you can stop by at the Hankyu, Hanshin, or the Daimaru malls. Here you can find pretty much anything and everything, from fashion and cosmetics to souvenirs, household items and much more.

<Venue Information>

Venue Name: Osaka Museum of Housing and Living
Business Hours: 10:00 - 16:30
Regular Closing Days: Tuesday
Phone Number: 06-6242-1170
Address: 〒530-0041 Osaka, Kita Ward, Tenjinbashi 6-chome 4-20 Housing Info Center, 8th floor
Access: Tenjinbashisuji Roku-cho-me Station on the Osaka Metro Tanimachi line, Sakaisuji line, Hankyu line, exit 3
7 minutes from JR Loop line, Tenman Station

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