We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Shitamchi Museum - down memory lane.”
Review of Shitamachi Museum

Shitamachi Museum
Book on TripAdvisor
More Info
and up
Tokyo Private Custom Full-Day Walking Tour
Ranked #22 of 333 things to do in Taito
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Level Contributor
239 reviews
171 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 254 helpful votes
“Shitamchi Museum – down memory lane.”
Reviewed 27 March 2013

The Museum is easily accessible via the Ueno Subway Sta (JR Line) or the Keisei Sta.
This nostalgic museum is not big but it sure packs a punch! Within the 2-storey building it houses exhibits and reconstructions that allows one to experience what life was like in Tokyo from the late Meiji right up to before WWII; the house lodging, food preparations, toys that children play, just everything authentic of early Tokyo. It is indeed great to know that the Museum is able to capture the Shitamchi heritage before it is being lost to modernization.
Shitamachi generally refers to the artisan and merchant part of old Tokyo. On the first floor is a mockup of a merchant house complete with all their furnishings. Visitors are allowed to enter and feel room’s accessories, offering good shutterbugs photographing opportunities too!. On the second floor are displays of toys, crafts and utensils allowing visitors to better appreciate the customs and life of Tokyolites then. There is also video documentaries of craftspeople at work.
There is a segment with records, photographs whereby visitors can see some photos and record of the great 1923 Kanto earthquake. It is really touching to ‘witness’ history in this manner..
It was indeed a very meaningful 1-hour tour and a great place for one to spend some time with. Also definitely one of the smallest museums yet more interesting one I have visited so-far.
And the best part is that the large/wonderful Shinobazu Ueno lakeside is just outside which makes a visit here easily fitted into your itinerary planning.

Visited March 2013
5 Thank J&S_Singapore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

183 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Thai first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
95 reviews
60 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 216 helpful votes
“A hidden gem.”
Reviewed 5 January 2013

On the edge of Ueno Park, this small museum is easily overlooked, but definitely worth a visit. Inside are relocated, original buildings from the late Meiji period (early 1900's). There is a merchant's house, a sweet seller's house and a coppersmith's house. They make a little street, alongside an original rickshaw, water pump, drain, shrine and so on. The great thing is that you can walk inside and touch everything. The squat toilet, with it's removable pan, hand washing device and towel was a revelation. The merchant's security basket, "in case of fire", was fascinating. The whole experience was brought to life by a free, personal, english speaking guide, Mr Otamoto, who pointed out many hidden treasures. Photos were allowed on the ground floor.
The second floor had several further exhibits, the most fascinating of which, to me, was the one on the Great Kanto earthquake of 1923. Descriptions were in English. The exhibit, over several cases tells the story of the earthquake, its aftermath and the rebuilding that followed.
The Museum cost 300 yen. It has a large, clean toilet facility, a small gift shop and not much else. It is on the street that curves around the big pond at the foot of the park. It is about parallel to the main entrance at the bottom of the park. Signs sometimes refer to it as the "Street Customs Museum".

Visited January 2013
10 Thank Fascinatingrhythm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sudbury, Canada
Level Contributor
164 reviews
66 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 144 helpful votes
“History of ordinary citizens a century ago. Rare opportunity.”
Reviewed 25 November 2012

I’m writing to pay tribute, but would not be necessary, as I agree with the other positive reviews. A journey in time. With the Tokyo-Edo Museums, the only opportunity I had in Tokyo. Too bad the Shitamachi is so tiny.
A very well spent hour. Fee very reasonable ( 300 yens)
Really met my eagerness for ordinary people’s History.
By the way, if you hire a Japanese guide, as I did, he/she may not know about this one. Mine, although of a very good professional level, national licenced, big agency (JTB), was not aware of it. Had two different guides in this trip. Ended up believing they are trained mostly in what they expect people want to see: shrines, temples and big busy museums. But this one is about simple, ordinary people, their daily life a century ago.
Well written one-page printed page, given at entrance, in English.
Review from Hapa, from Florida ( June 10, 2012) is excellent: I could not say it better ( so, better not plagiarize her).
The review of Annh, from California, published on December 10, 2007, is worth reading.
In the very pleasant Ueno Park. Go see reviews about it. Peacefull, many museums, and good people watching.
Will visit again, on my next time in Tokyo.

Visited October 2012
5 Thank 88puffin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Okeechobee, Florida
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 November 2012

This is one of my favorite museums in the world. The area is known as Shitamachi and it was a working class neighborhood in the early 1920's. This region was first destroyed by the earthquake of 1923 and then again by bombing raids in 1945. Local historians joined together to preserve their heritage and requested items from families from the area that were legitimate from the neighborhood. They took all the original finds and re-constructed a small neighborhood just like it would have looked like 100 years ago before the earthquake struck. There are rooms to show how people lived, cooked, slept and worked. There is a merchant's house where he makes geta thongs, the Japanese wooden clogs. There is a smaller home shared by two families, one who has a candy store and one with a copper smith. The details are fascinating, you feel like you are actually visiting the neighborhood all those years ago. It doesn't take long to visit and is well worth it. It is on a lovely walk around a large lily pond. Enjoy.

Visited August 2012
3 Thank Linda K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
63 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Life as it was for poor people of Tokyo in the early 1900s”
Reviewed 6 October 2012 via mobile

Enjoyable tiny, tactile reproduction of a poor neighbourhood in downtown Tokyo in the early 1900s.
English speaking guide made it a worthwhile visit.

Would be a fantastic museum for families with children to visit.

Thank daisy111Sydney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Shitamachi Museum also viewed


Been to Shitamachi Museum? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing