Shinjuku Historical Museum
Akebonobashi: Museum
Shinjuku Historical Museum: Akebonobashi
Akebonobashi / Museum
Open 9:30am-5:30pm (enter by 5pm). Closed Mondays.
Average visit time: 15-45 minutes

Highlights at this charming local museum include life-size reconstructions of an Edo-era storehouse, residential interiors, and half a streetcar. There's also a large scale-model diorama representing the early post town of "Naito Shinjuku" - rows of shops and houses surrounded by farms, occupying the area between modern-day Shinjuku station and Isetan Department Store.

Seemingly random memorabilia from 1900-1960 focus on Shinjuku's history as an entertainment district, filled with bars and restaurants, cinemas and live theaters. One unexpected display illustrates the history of Japanese curry rice, using old newspaper articles, menus and plastic food models. Other exhibit areas show off archeological finds from the Jomon and Yayoi periods and a number of Edo-era paintings and drawings.

Off to one side is a temporary exhibition room, which was hosting a collection of 1950s-era photos of Shinjuku station and vicinity when we visited. The small museum shop at the entrance offers postcards from the permanent collection.

Although it's not nearly as expansive in scope as the Edo-Tokyo Museum in Ryogoku, it does provide some interesting glimpses of local life in Shinjuku through the ages, and is worth stopping by if you're in the area.

Saneicho 22.
7 minutes from Akebonobashi (Shinjuku line); 8 minutes from Yotsuya 3-chome (Marunouchi line); 10 minutes from Yotsuya (JR, Namboku lines)
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