Shitamachi Museum Tokyo 下町風俗資料館
Shitamachi (literally 'undertown') refers to what is still in terms of atmosphere the refreshingly attitude-free Taito Ward area of downtown Tokyo.
This small two-floor museum preserves some of the flavor of the area's life in the Taisho Era (roughly the 1910s and 1920s) with actual shop interiors, furniture, tools, implements, amusements, posters etc from that time of relative liberty and freedom of expression in Japan before the repression and dictatorship of the war years.
The friendly staff of the Shitamachi Museum provide a warm welcome, making for a pleasant intimate half hour with the friendly ghosts of old Ueno. Autumn and winter features periodical special exhibitions.
2-1 Ueno Koen
Open 9.30am-4.30pm (last admission 4pm).
Closed Mondays (except when Monday is a public holiday, when it closes the next day) and December 29 - January 3.
Adults: 300 yen; elementary to high school students: 200 yen.
How to get to the Shitamachi Museum in Tokyo
Go down the steps from Saigo Takamori's statue, veer right past the entrance of the Keisei Ueno Station entrance. At the second set of traffic signals turn right into Shinobazu-dori Avenue, and then almost immediately on your right, on the banks of the Shinobazu-no-ike Lake is the Shitamachi Museum.
Shitamachi Museum Annex
Shitamachi Museum Annex (Former Yoshidaya Liquor Store) is a photogenic, traditional wooden store in the Yanaka district of Tokyo that survives from the early part of the 20th century. The building dates from 1910 and was in use until 1986.
A free museum, the Shitamachi Museum Annex recreates the interior of a Meiji Period liquor store with advertising posters from that era on the wall, scales, rice straw sake barrels and the raised tatami part of the shop where the shopkeeper would be.