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Visiting Buaiso Museum (Former Sericultural Farmhouse)

Today I visited a museum called Buaiso, near Tokyo. The reason why I wanted to visit this building was that I was looking for a building in the suburbs of Tokyo that was in good condition, preserved, still in use and open to the public, and this building came to mind. I think that buildings that meet those requirements are quite rare.

Well, I have arrived at the car park. You can see a hill where you can enjoy the fresh green of the broad-leaved trees. (I drove there, but the museum is also easily accessible by train.)

From the car park you can enter a unique fence made of bamboo.

I walked through the elegant bamboo forest.

There is a device to flow the water.

I walked up the outdoor stairs, looking at the warehouse-like buildings, until I came to the gate.

This is the gate of the house.

This building is used as a restaurant.

The building at the back of the centre was the home of the owners, Jiro and Masako Shirasu. They restored a traditional farmhouse from the Edo period and used it as their home. It is now a museum.

Visitors are required to take their shoes off to enter the museum.

It is forbidden to take pictures inside, so I forced myself to take pictures of the interior from outside. The entrance used to be a traditional earthen floor when the house was used as a farmhouse, but when Mr and Mrs Shirasu renovated it, they converted it into a western-style room. The floor was finished with white tiles.

Inside, you will find a collection of the owner and his wife’s possessions. They have studied in the UK and the USA and are well aware of the value of Japanese folk art. 

This is a view of the museum from the front. The roof is made of kaya, a plant which was once a common material, but is now difficult to source and very labour intensive. This is a valuable building.

This is a side view of the building.

This is a garage with an outdoor fireplace.

I had lunch in the restaurant building and had a coffee after lunch. Although it was a weekday, there were many people visiting the museum and the restaurant was busy.

I was surprised by the thick and magnificent pillars. (The pillar to the right of the glass door is one of them.)

In front of the museum there is a statue of the Buddha.

You can enjoy a wide variety of plants in the garden.

Land in the suburbs of Tokyo, following economic rationality, is sold off and developed as housing land, etc., as the owner’s generation changes. It is wonderful that Buaiso museum has not become such a property, but rather a semi-public cultural asset that anyone can visit.

You can read more about Buaiso Villa in this article.