Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum, Koganei

This outdoor annexe to the Edo-Tokyo Museum is an architectural park on the outskirts of the city. Home to buildings from a Tokyo that has long since disappeared, it is a revelation. From farmhouses to public baths, prewar shops and even a kabuki theatre, there are buildings here that have been saved from the ravages of earthquakes and developers. The museum also has a number of private residences, including the 1942 home of the architect Kunio Maekawa.

3-7-1 Sakura-cho, Koganei
(inside Koganei Park)
+81 (0)42 388 3300

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, Shinjuku

Look at Tokyo from a tall building and you will see three distinct green areas: Yoyogi Park (and the adjacent Meiji Shrine), the gardens of the Imperial Palace and Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. Whereas most Tokyo parks function as an extension of people’s living rooms, with the likes of dancing and music practice as standard, Shinjuku Gyoen has a small entry fee and strict rules including no alcohol or ball games. It was built on the site of a feudal lord’s residence, set over 600 sq m, and became an Imperial garden in 1906. Opened to the public in 1949, today it includes a formal French garden, a Japanese garden and a greenhouse. In spring the sight of its 1,100 cherry trees in bloom is one of the best that Tokyo has to offer.

11 Naito-cho, Shinjuku-ku
+81 (0)3 3350 0151

St Mary’s Cathedral, Sekiguchi

Prolific architect Kenzo Tange’s concrete St Mary’s Cathedral was built in 1964 to replace the original Catholic church on the site that was destroyed during the Second World War. From the ground, Tange’s design recalls a bird with outstretched wings soaring upwards to the heavens.

3-16-15 Sekiguchi, Bunkyo-ku
+81 (0)3 3945 0126

Images: Kohei Take, Getty Images

Go back: Tokyo


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Monocle 24

00:00 01:00

  • The Urbanist