Sites for exploring Edo-era Tokyo

When you think about Tokyo and even generally Japan, what would first come to your mind would probably be technology and fashion. Edo is the name that Tokyo held prior to 1868 when it was considered the biggest city in the world and the country was ruled by the military Shogun. The Edo era has defined the perception that we have today of traditional Japanese culture. Tokyo still holds some Edo-era structures that can still be visited today.

  1. Edo-Tokyo Museum

This museum provides a great overview of the humble beginnings of traditional Tokyo from a small fishing village in the late 1500s to what it has become today. The guides are often elder people that are full of enthusiasm and often recollect stories in emotional ways. You can cross the replica of the Nihonbashi Bridge to get to an exhibition hall where you would be able to see wonderfully detailed models of how Edo used to look like.

  1. Kawagoe

If you wish to experience how Edo looked in real life, you might want to head to Kawagoe. Kawagoe is found some thirty minutes away from central Tokyo and you can reach it by the Tobu Tojo Line Express Train. The town is often known as “Little Edo” and is found in the Saitama Prefecture. You might start by having a walk down Kashiya Yokosho, roughly translated to “Penny Candy Alley” where you would be able to taste some colorful sweets. They would not cost a penny but they are affordable and tasty. You might also check out Honmaru Goten which are Lord’s quarters and offices and the remnants of the Kawagoe castle.