Edo-Tokyo Open Air Museum may be a bit further away from the other tourist attractions (near Musashi-Koganei stop of JR Chuo line), but it is absolutely worth a visit!
Iidabashi is on the Chuo line as well, so all you need is to get on the train in the right direction, and then make sure you're on the local line when you get around Mitaka - the rapid train goes a bit further and then switches to another line and goes back. How do I know? Well, we got off the train right before the doors closed.
Musashi Koganei looks a bit... depressing at first? It's a gray suburban area with giant apartment houses and also small, rather old buildings.
There was a tanabata tree left over from the celebrations.
But the back streets are actually rather nice! There are also many bustling shopping streets near the train station. And there were posters for Nazotoki wa dinner no ato de event, I really wanted to go, but then didn't have the time.
Decorations on Sakura-dori.
I think this building was a hospital, but I'm not sure.
Before you get to the museum, you have to walk through a huge park. It is very popular with young people (we saw a college guy playing super sweet songs on guitar), families (kids in Japan love catching butterflies) and also seniors (they seemed to have a photography session there). And there's also a historic train.
The famous entrance of the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Museum. First of all, there's one more Edo-Tokyo Museum in Tokyo, and that one is a classical museum with objects and artworks. This open air museum exhibits buildings. These two should not be confused! I mean, ETOAM belongs under the ETM, but it stands on the opposite side of Tokyo and has separate entrance fee and all. I haven't been to the other one, but I would still recommend you to pick the ETOAM over any other museum because it was amazing.
The buildings exhibited here are either relocated or reconstructed houses from the Edo period. Unfortunately (as you will hear later on), I had to leave all of the leaflets from museums at the airport in Tokyo @sobs@, so I don't have a cheat sheet to look into - I'll try to write down what I remember, but it probably won't be much.
This I believe is a house belonging to the nobility. For most houses, it was allowed to go inside, take pictures and occasionally even to touch everything.
There was also a photographer's house and atelier - sometime around 1 or 1:30 p.m., you can pay 500 Yen to have your photos taken there.
Farmer's House. Inside, we were spotted by a bored guide who insisted on doing a tour around the house for us - in Japanese (I caught like 1/10 of what she was saying, mind you). What I remember is just that there was a special room dedicated to the warrior of the family, that the house was constructed so that the smoke from the fireplace could escape, there were multiple altars because in Shintoism, there are many gods, and there was a very pretty guest room. We were also interrogated about our home countries, mother tongues and purpose of staying in Japan. I guess it was also our first encounter with just how prestigious Todai is - when we said we were doing an internship there, everyone's jaws dropped and they said we must be really really smart. Finally, the lady told us that she thinks we did well by coming to ETOAM instead of boring places like Harajuku, Odaiba or Shibuya... So our minds went like "Well, we came here because we've already been to those places...", but we just said the museum was really pretty and fun, which was true (I'm just not sure about how it would stand in comparison to Odaiba...). And she also told us about all the events that day, such as the photography session. She was super nice, I just wish my Japanese was better because I didn't understand much of her lecture.
No idea - suppose it was a powerful man's house.
Farmer's house, where we made little wind mills.
Sento (public bath)
Soy sauce store
When we left the museum, we happened to find this second hand shop by chance - it's called Don Don Down on Wednesday. At that time, we had no idea what it was, and we decided to check it out. Now I'm smarter and I can tell you what it is. It is a used clothes shop (second hand is not used in Japan) where you either have clothes with normal price tags, or with fruit/veggie tags. Each fruit is worth a certain amount of yen - e.g. Peach (momo) can be 365 Yen and orange (mikan) can be 105 Yen. The prices start at 7350 Yen and end at 105 Yen. The name of the shop has a meaning - every Wednesday, the tags go one lower. That means that after a week, a peach skirt will become an orange skirt. On top of these, there are also various events on different days and some time-limited sales (e.g. 2 hours per day, everything will be 20% off or something like that). There are many Don Don shops in Tokyo, but beware - I went to 2 and apparently, the one in Shimokitazawa goes all American/European vintage and has increadibly high prices compared to the one in Koganei. I mean, OK, a T-shirt for 1000 Yen, especially when it's Angelic Pretty, is not that bad. But in Koganei, cool things last longer and get discounted more, so you could probably get it for around 500 Yen. Not to mention that the Koganei shop as a whole rack for gyaru clothes (109 brands) and for "teens street fashion". In general, Koganei shop seemed to have plenty of cheap and cute Japanese trendy fashion pieces, while the Shimokitazawa store looked like someone got the most boring/hideous things you can get in Czech second hand shops and decided to sell them for 10 times their price. I mean, I suppose the US/EU vintage style is popular in Japan, but I was more interested in getting what they wear in Japan. So, to sum it up, you should go to the ETOAM and hit this shop on your way back.
105 Yen - missing a button, but I don't want to have buttons on my crotch anyway, so I'll just use one from the bottom two rows which I'll be removing anyway.
365 Yen - it was one of the cheapest blouses there and I thought I can never have too many girly pussy bow blouses in my closet.
365 Yen - a skort, it looks a bit meh on the photo, but it has an A-line silhouette, and there's a matching belt too. IRL, it's totally cute.
My best steal - 1575 Yen, but I bet you can still remember how these dresses were all over Kera and they certainly cost much more. It was my size, a lovely mint color and not too worn out. I gotta say the fabric is pretty low quality and pulls a bit, but it's still a very lovely dress.
One more poster:
We stopped by Don.kihote before going back - they had really cheap Shiseido cleanser (300 Yen!), but they annoyed us when we found out they further discounted that Shiseido powder we got in Korea town before - not it was around 40 Yen cheaper.
We saw this alcohol on TV - you warm it up a bit in your hands, shake vigorously and then you get alcoholic runny jelly. It's really yummy and cute.
Sweet and salty crackers.
Cool bath salt - I plan to keep some and use the rest as gifts.
My fourth sunscreen. Not only do you use more in Japan, but they also sell them by 30 or 50 ml, which makes you buy a new sunscreen almost every week. We have sunscreens in 200 ml tubes here, for the same prize >.<