Walk Through History: The Osaka Museum of History

When it's raining, the tourism moves indoors. But for local history buffs, this museum is worth a visit any day.
 Outside the modern building, there's a reproduction of an old stilted wooden building. It appears that they open it sometimes, but I arrived right when the museum opened, and it was raining pretty hard, so I didn't think to enquire. That's alright, because there's lots to see inside.
 Located on multiple levels with very large spaces, the museum seeks to recreate history through life-size displays.
 Here, you can walk through a royal palace. There are informational displays on either side. As you can see, the space is massive.
 It's located across the street from two parks. Above, you can see Naniwanomiyaato Park, which is the historical site of Namba Palace. To the left, just outside the frame, is the park for Osaka Castle, rebuilt in the 1930s and renovated in 1997. I wasn't able to view that from the windows in the museum, and due to the weather and time constraints on this trip I didn't go to Osaka Castle.
 The museum has some traditional "old stuff in display cases" too.
 Here's a recreation of Namba Palace, I think.
 More old stuff.
 More dioramas.
 I really enjoy the small models of cities. They're almost as good as life-size re-creations or village "theme parks" (when done properly).
 This is one of the historic bridges of Osaka, and I believe there are modern versions of all of them to this day.

 An old parade float.
 Theatre masks.
 Theatre costumes.
 A mannequin with no head?

 One floor has a very large area for children to play in. Here's an excavation site.
 Modern history is included as well, including some Showa era displays.

 Ride the streetcar!
 They've recreated an entire street with storefronts and artifacts.

 An old fashioned market place with fresh food to cook that night.

 It's dark, but still fun to walk down the "street" and see some of the goods on sale in the store displays. I wish there was a little more interactivity to the museum's larger exhibits. I could see where it would be fun to be able to go in the streetcar (instead of it just being a white closed box), enter the phone booth and hear someone having a conversation relevant to the area, or push a button or turn a knob in the stores.

Ahh, technology. One day, you're using a new-fangled electric sewing machine, and the next you're using a computer!

It's a fun museum, and if I had had more time, I would have stayed and explored more. But I had more on my plate that day, as I wanted to get to Universal Studios Japan to ride the coasters!

Osaka Museum of History is a five minute walk from Tanimachi 4-chome Station, across from the southwest corner of Osaka Castle Park in a large building. Take exit 9 or exit 2, and walk toward Osaka Castle Park; the museum is in a large building with large brownish diagonal tiles. It's open 9:30-17:00, closed on Tuesdays, and admission is 600 yen.


  1. Very cool museum. As a kid, I would loved to have a shot at that excavation site.

  2. I love the hands-on approach I'm seeing more and more in history and science museums, and I wish there was more like this when I was a kid - at least I had the Exploratorium, which you should be familiar with, Fuji. I always feel like they could have taken one more simple step to make it 100 times better, though.

    1. When I was a kid, I'd choose the Exploratorium over Great America any day of the week. I absolutely loved that place. Then when I started going as a teacher, I remember thinking... this place is a lot smaller than when I went as a kid.

    2. As a kid I too preferred the Exploratorium, though I lived in Santa Clara so Great America was pretty close. All I ever did there was play in the kid's area until I was a teenager, though! That kids area is completely gone now. These days, Great America is so much more interesting - my favorite park, I think.

      But yes, the Exploratorium seems to have shrunk. I went in that dome thing as an adult which was an interesting experience. Never did that as a child. Have they moved into the new building yet? Do you take your students on field trips there often?

    3. I haven't been back to the Exploratorium in six or seven years, so I'm not sure if they're in their new building or not. Ever since I've made the transition to middle school, I haven't taken my students there. But I will be going to Great America with my 8th graders in a few weeks ;-)