Friday, March 1, 2013

Back in Time 300 Years--The Edo-Tokyo Museum

The permanent Edo-Tokyo exhibit is an inmate and captivating experience of life during the Edo period. Shogun Tokugawa leyasu chose Edo (today's Tokyo) as the capital of his shogunate in 1603. For over two hundred and fifty years the region was peaceful and economic growth, environmental protections and arts and culture flourished. 

Dioramas, scale models, cut-away views and whole rooms showcase the life of the period. If you like to see and touch history, you would love this museum!

Edo city (scale models)

The Shogun (under orange umbrella, to hide his face from viewing) is watching his troops practice horsemanship. This is a detail of a beautiful six panel folding screen adorned with gold

model of the gate to the Shogun's living complex. This gate, used exclusively by the family,  has a majestic roof.
Fireworks were set off from a boat (with red lanterns) in the canal. Less fires that way!
Fire Brigade

 Smoking tobacco was very popular during the Edo period. Even children smoked. There were cooking fires and lanterns and charcoal braziers to warm hands...  Construction was wood-based... The history of the time was, "Shrine A or temple B or city C burned down X times!"

Edo City had many fire brigades and each was had a different emblem. It was a great honor to carry the emblem to the fire and plant it prominently on a rooftop. (I tried to lift one-they are very heavy!)

Then the fire fighting started. It consisted of destroying all the houses and buildings around the fire. Buckets of water were used to douse the clothing of the firefighters. Grateful residents of the houses saved by creating a firebreak would "tip" the fighters--that is why it was important to identify your brigade with an emblem.

Kabuki Theater was popular; originally females played all the characters. That form was abolished and today males play all characters, male and female. This performer is wearing 12 combs made of shell

Modern day fun at the museum--taking the escalator through the clear tunnel

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