Back to Prison: Matsumoto Open Air Architectural Museum

I've professed my love of architectural museums, so it should come as no surprise that I took the path less traveled and made my way to Matsumoto's collection of old buildings. 
 The major attraction is the old courthouse, seen above.
 However, the first building you can visit is an old house.
 It's a very nice, large house with tatami mats and everything.
 Here's a stove.
 And an indoor-outdoor area that could have served several purposes.
 This is the "living room" as far as western room styles go.
 After paying admission in the administrative building and gift shop, I headed over to the court house.
 There are several larger rooms that could be used for various purposes. This one now shows an introductory video.
 There are two courtrooms. The larger one is on the left side of the building.
 The judges sit on an elevated platform. Japanese courts used three judges for serious cases.
 The defendant and prosecutor sat below. The court system has changed in Japan for some trials, though.
 Here's another office room with display cases full of stuff I couldn't figure out.
 A meeting room.
 The other courtroom. This one is smaller, with only the three judge's chairs on the upper level, and smaller floor space for the defendant and prosecutor.
 The little stands on top of the tables tell who sat where, but it's all in Japanese.
 The building has several other rooms, though most of them are closed. It's still nice to see the old building itself and explore. I'm sure the rooms aren't used for their original purpose now.
 An older blacksmith's (I think) house was my next stop.
 This is a two-floor house, with the bottom floor seemingly set up for guests or clients.
 Here's the "living room" space.
 The kitchen.
 A work area similar to the other house.
 A small storage area on the first floor.
 This could be considered a pantry I suppose.
 Upstairs, this space might have been for sleeping and storage. In the winter, it was probably warmer.
 There are several rice chests up here too, in the back storage room.
 My next stop was a factory of some sort. The museum has a collection of old machines waiting inside.
 I believe this was used for fabric making in some way.
 Display cases full of tools.
 Definitely used for thread making.
 Do you need wax?
 Another building had a video showing some of the work local people used to perform in this area.
 A monthly chart. I'm not sure what it was used for.
 Artsy shots. Click to enlarge.
 I'm not sure what these little wooden tags were for. They each have a number in Japanese.
 More equipment.
 An oven.
 There's a relatively modern building that's used for craft demonstrations, meetings, and as a library. There are a few display cases here with more local artifacts. There were even some things from World War II.
 The last building I visited was the old boy's prison. It's a little newer than Abashiri, though not as large. Actually, it wasn't an entire prison, just one cell building.
 Several doors are open so you can look inside and go into the cells. Some are locked shut, used as storage.
 Some rooms have just hardwood flooring above the concrete. Others have tatami mats.
 Unlike Abashiri, it's virtually impossible to see other cells or anything in the hallway from inside, though there are windows here.
 Solid doors.
 Looking back toward the entrance from inside.
 Squat toilets. There's a note inside asking people not to use them.
 Here's a half-tatami'd room, with a blanket and pillow. This cell's toilet has a small cover.
 A nearby room has a traditional Japanese toilet fixture, and doors to cover it up.
 Here's the closed toilet.
 Each room has a sink, but nothing else.
It's pretty quiet in here. And small. But I'd take this cell over Abashiri any day. As I mentioned, the museum has a small gift shop, which sells local goods. Despite its small size, it was a nice way to end my day in Matsumoto! It would be nice to visit when they are holding craft classes, although those would be only in Japanese.

The Matsumoto Japanese Court and Open Air Architectural Museum is open from 9:00 to 17:00, closed on Mondays. Admission is 400 yen. It's located next to the Ukiyo-e (woodblock print) Museum (10:00-17:00 except Mondays, 1050 yen), and for those interested in ukiyoe, that might be worth a stop too; I've heard that there is a relatively small number of prints on display at any given time, though.

Both museums are about 7 minutes by car from Matsumoto Station, and it's possible to take a taxi to the museum. I'm sure they'd call a taxi for you to get back, too. I went by train, which involves taking the Kamikochi Line of the Matsumoto Railway to Ohniwa Station and walking about 15 minutes. Keep in mind that Matsumoto is flat, so it's an easy walk. But you'll need a map, available at the tourist center in Matsumoto Station, and a good sense of direction. Ohniwa is a tiny station with nothing around it and no station master.

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