Meiji-Mura Museum 明治村, Inuyama, Japan

The St Francis Xavier's Cathedral, Kyoto (1890) is one of the highlights of the Museum.

The St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral, Kyoto (1890) is one of the highlights of the Museum.

To really view specimens of Meiji-era architecture up-close, one has to travel Southeast to Inuyama 犬山, a small town on the outskirts of Nagoya, for the one-of-a-kind Meiji Mura Museum.

Literally meaning “Meiji Village,” Meiji Mura 明治村 is a sprawling outdoor museum that displays as its collection – you got it! – buildings (largely) from the Meiji Era (1868 – 1912), from Tokyo and other places like Mie, Nagoya, Nagasaki, Kobe and Kanazawa. These buildings had been painstakingly disassembled from where they originally stood all over Japan, and brought here to Inuyama, to be preserved for posterity.

Unlike the heritage buildings that still stand in Tokyo (and featured in my previous post), which mostly date from the early Taisho period onwards, almost all of the buildings here (some 90%) were built between 1870 to around 1912 – squarely during the Meiji Emperor’s reign.

The one notable exception, which also happens to be the “star piece,” so to speak, of the museums collection of buildings, is the Main Entrance Hall and Lobby of Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Imperial Hotel Tokyo, built in 1923 (during the Taisho Era). When the Hotel was demolished in the 1980s, to be replaced by the present high-rise building (more in a future post), the Main Entrance Hall and Lobby was (thankfully) brought here. It is the primary reason I made the journey to Inuyama to visit the Museum.

This gallery presents some 30 buildings from the museum’s collection (just under half of the almost 70 buildings and structures on display). The Museum itself sits in a beautiful park that overlooks some stunning lakeside scenery, and is well worth a day’s detour – IF you happen to be in Nagoya city (it’s a two hour journey). From Tokyo, prepare to travel up to 6 hours by shinkansen, local train and super-local bus.

Yup, that’s commitment.

Main Gate of the Eight National High School, Nagoya (1909) - also the Main Gate of the Meiji Mura.

Main Gate of the Eight National High School, Nagoya (1909) – also the Main Gate of the Meiji Mura.

Ohi Butcher Shop, Kobe (1887)

Ohi Butcher Shop, Kobe (1887)

Mie Prefectural Normal School (1888).

Mie Prefectural Normal School (1888).

St John's Church, Kyoto (1907) - Side View

St John’s Church, Kyoto (1907) – Side View

Gakushuin Principal's Office and Residence, Peers School, Tokyo (1909)

Gakushuin Principal’s Office and Residence, Peers School, Tokyo (1909)

Reception Hall of Marquis Tsugumichi Saigo's Residence, Tokyo (1880).

Reception Hall of Marquis Tsugumichi Saigo’s Residence, Tokyo (1880).

Lamp and Railing from Nijubashi Bridge, Imperial Palace, Tokyo 1880.

Lamp and Railing from Nijubashi Bridge, Imperial Palace, Tokyo 1880.

Imperial Carriages of Empress Shoken (1902 - left) and Emperor Meiji (1910 - right), in the Shimbashi Factory of Japan Railway Bureau, Tokyo (1889).

Imperial Carriages of Empress Shoken (1902 – left) and Emperor Meiji (1910 – right), in the Shimbashi Factory of Japan Railway Bureau, Tokyo (1889).

Mie Prefectural Office (1879).

Mie Prefectural Office (1879).

Higashi-Yamanashi District Office (1885).

Higashi-Yamanashi District Office (1885).

Telephone Exchange, Sapporo (1898).

Telephone Exchange, Sapporo (1898).

Kitasato Institute, Tokyo (1915) - note the unique German style architecture.

Kitasato Institute, Tokyo (1915) – note the unique German style architecture.

Shingawa Lighthouse Tower, Tokyo (1870).

Shingawa Lighthouse Tower, Tokyo (1870).

View of the Lake, with canoe-ists.

View of the Lake, with canoe-ists.

Official Abode of Sugashima Lighthouse, Mie (1873).

Official Abode of Sugashima Lighthouse, Mie (1873).

No. 25, Nagasaki Foreign Settlement (1889).

No. 25, Nagasaki Foreign Settlement (1889).

Foreigner's House, Kobe Foreign Settlement (1890s).

Foreigner’s House, Kobe Foreign Settlement (1890s).

Entrance Porch of Religious College, Tokyo (1908).

Entrance Porch of Religious College, Tokyo (1908).

Ward of Japanese Red Cross Society Central Hospital, Tokyo (1890).

Ward of Japanese Red Cross Society Central Hospital, Tokyo (1890).

Barracks 6th Infantry Regiment, Nagoya (1873).

Barracks 6th Infantry Regiment, Nagoya (1873).

Rokugo River Iron Railway Bridge, Tokyo (1877).

Rokugo River Iron Railway Bridge, Tokyo (1877).

Japanese Evangelical Church, Seattle (1907).

Japanese Evangelical Church, Seattle (1907).

Uji-Yamada Post Office, Mie (1909).

Uji-Yamada Post Office, Mie (1909).

Kureha-za Theatre, Osaka (1892).

Kureha-za Theatre, Osaka (1892).

Shin-Ohashi Bridge, Tokyo (1912).

Shin-Ohashi Bridge, Tokyo (1912).

St Paul Daimyo-ji Church, Ioujima, Nagasaki (1879).

St Paul Daimyo-ji Church, Ioujima, Nagasaki (1879).

Head Office of Kawasaki Bank, Tokyo (1927) - the building had been on the verge of demolition in the 1980s, and part of it was saved and brought here.

Head Office of Kawasaki Bank, Tokyo (1927) – the building had been on the verge of demolition in the 1980s, and part of it was saved and brought here.

Cabinet Library, Tokyo (1911).

Cabinet Library, Tokyo (1911).

Tokyo Central Station Police Box (1914).

Tokyo Central Station Police Box (1914).

Central Guard Prison and a Ward, Kanazawa Prison (1907).

Central Guard Prison and a Ward, Kanazawa Prison (1907).

Villa of Mataemon Shibakawa, Nishinomiya (1911).

Villa of Mataemon Shibakawa, Nishinomiya (1911).

And finally... The Imperial Hotel, Tokyo (1923). Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

And finally… The Imperial Hotel, Tokyo (1923). Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

About Kennie Ting

I am a wandering cityophile and pattern-finder who is pathologically incapable of staying in one place for any long period of time. When I do, I see the place from different perspectives, obsessive-compulsively.
Gallery | This entry was posted in Art & Architecture, Cities & Regions, Japan, Landmarks & History, Photography, Travel & Mobility and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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