After the morning-visit to the Ghibli museum we got on the JR Chuo Line again, and travelled a few station to the Edo-Tokyo open air museum. The museum was a perfect fit for our Ghibli themed day as it was the inspiration for the buildings in the spirit world of Spirited Away. The museum is located in an enormous park filled with cherry blossom trees. We were a little early in the season to see them in full bloom but when they do it will be wonderful place to be.
The open air museum exhibits buildings of great cultural value, constructed in Tokyo between the Edo-period (1602-1868) and the post-World War II period. However, most of the buildings exhibited are constructed in the Meiji Period (1868-1912) or more recent times. Among the buildings are former residences of influential politicians, farm houses, a public bathhouse, and various stores and craft shops.
It were these Meiji Period buildings that inspired Ghibli director Miyazaki when he was writing the story for Spirited Away. In an interview he stated that he set the movie in the atmosphere of the Pseudo-Western style buildings of the Meiji era (mixture of typical Japanese and Western design) seen in this museum. "I feel nostalgic here, especially when I stand here alone in the evening, near closing time, and the sun is setting--tears well up in my eyes."
|The 'evil' spirit in front of the bath house|
|Miyazaki and the spirit displayed in the museum.|
Just like the movie, the shops are filled with goods as if bus loads of customers could arrive any minute. This gives the eerie impression something is wrong, as if the shops are waiting for the spirits of nature to arrive when the museum closes and night falls...
We would show some pictures of the exhibitions that clearly shows the inspirations for the movie:
|These corridors resemble the halls Chihiro had to clean in the bath house|
|Foreign spirit boarding the tram|
|The panels with orders for the bath heater|
|Bath house entrance|
|Right is for female spirits, left for male|
|Traditional Japanese bar|
|So much liquor and still it's called a 'soya sauce' shop|
|The shopping street leading to the bath house|
There were various other buildings to be seen and entered at the museum. We will show some of the buildings that impressed us the most.
The picture below is made in the Tokiwadai Photo Studio. Built in 1937 it incorporated some 'high tech' photo features in its architecture. The windows are exceptionally large and made of 'frosted glass'. This improves the diffusion of the light and provides more depth and realism to photo's. Nowadays we probably use apps for that.
|The Tokiwadai Photo Studio (1937)|
Below is the residence of Mitsui family (also know as the Mitsui zaibatsu). The house is actually made from two other family residences that got badly damaged during World War II. The guest room and dining room were constructed around 1897 in Kyoto, and was originally designed as a Japanese tea house. The storehouse was built in 1874 in Tokyo. After the war the family built a new western style residence in Tokyo and decided that their damaged property should be salvaged as much as possible. Thus this 'patch work' house came into existence in 1952. In combination with the beautiful garden it actually feels as if this conjuncture of styles was always what the architects envisioned.
|Entrance and former tea house section|
|Dining room and guest room|
A big surprise was the House of Koide. After architect Sutemi Horiguchi returned from his travels through Europe, his designs were greatly inspired by European architecture. The House of Koide is a very well balanced fusion between typical Dutch elements and original Japanese architecture. See for yourself: