The Osaka Museum of Housing and Living provides visitors a chance to step foot into a traditional Japanese town, complete with wooden houses and narrow streets. Travel back in time and walk through the streets of Osaka in the late Edo period at this interesting and family-friendly attraction.
Rather than just reading about what Osaka used to be like, at the Osaka Museum of Housing and Living, visitors are transported into an old town to experience it for themselves. Located inside the Osaka Municipal Housing Information Center, the museum is dedicated to showing people lived in the past.
To get to the Osaka Museum of Housing and Living, take the lift up to the 6th floor of the Osaka Municipal Housing Information Center office building.
Don’t be surprised to find the lobby abuzz with activity. The Osaka Museum of Housing and Living is a popular attraction.
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Osaka in the Late Edo Period
Ascending the escalators to the 10th floor, you will get your first glimpse of the old Osaka townscape from the 1830s.
At the viewing gallery, you will get an overview of the townscape, looking over the rooftops of the buildings below. Look closely and you will be able to spot details such as laundry being hung out to dry.
Next, head down to the 9th floor and enter the town yourself.
The old town has been recreated with a great level of detail. Each building has a purpose. There is a cabinet maker’s shop, a cosmetic store, a book store, a meeting hall and row houses. It represents a little community in itself and which even has a fire lookout tower.
The streets are lined with wooden lampposts equipped with paper lanterns.
There is plenty to explore and look at this level of the Osaka Museum of Housing and Living. Those with an eye for detail will be rewarded.
You will also find plenty of people walking around in kimonos. The Osaka Museum of Housing and Living has a kimono rental shop that lets visitors rent the traditional Japanese dress to wander around the townscape. Dressing up and taking some photos is a wonderful way to bring home as a memory of a visit to the Osaka Museum of Housing and Living.
However, even if you don’t rent a kimono at the Osaka Museum of Housing and Living, you can still plenty of Insta-worthy photo spots around the recreated old streets.
To get more information on the buildings, there are paper information sheets available. These sheets are provided in both Japanese and English.
A video presentation at the town’s Bathhouse also provides a look at Osaka as it used to be.
Osaka in the 20th Century
Once you are done exploring the old town, head down one floor to the next section of the museum.
Here, you can view dioramas which provide an overview of Osaka as it evolved in the Meiji, Taisho and Showa periods.
A model of the Sakaisuji district shows how it was widened to accommodate street cars. There is also a diorama of houses, alleys and shops along the Karahori Shopping Street.
The Osaka Museum of Housing and Living is an interesting museum to visit to get a taste of what old Osaka was like. It provides an experiential way to see how greatly life must have changed for Osaka’s residents during the period of modernisation from the 1800s to the 1900s.
Most of all, it is a great place to have some fun and take wonderful pictures and memories to bring back home.
This story was first published in August 2018.
Osaka Museum of Housing and Living
Where: 6-Chome 4-20, Tenjinbashi, Kita-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka