Gas Museum

A small company museum (equals free admission) run by Tokyo Gas charting the history and uses of gas for lighting and power. While the company has an English language website, the museum's website appears to be only in Japanese.

The museum is housed in two late Meiji period (early 1900s) buildings which face onto a grassy area. On the Saturday I visited there were stalls set up in the park area with demonstrations and other attractions.

Gas Museum
(image from the Gas Museum website)

The museum is a few minutes walk from the "Gas Museum Entrance" (Gasu myujiamu iriguchi, ガスミュジアム入口) stop of the #21 bus from Musashi-koganei station on the JR Chuo Line, which is roughly 30 minutes by train from Shinjuku station. As such, it isn't the easiest museum to get to. For non-Japanese speakers it isn't the easiest museum to get around either. While the interpretive panels do have English language titles there is no other information available in English or any other language besides Japanese.

As for the exhibits... With a few exceptions of labels at angles that were placed so as to be difficult to read, the objects were well displayed and labeled. Many of the objects were displayed open to the room, and other objects were displayed in cases that fit the historical architecture of the buildings themselves. The main floor of the Gas Lighting Building (my translation of Gasutou-kan, ガス灯館) contains exhibits on the beginnings of human use of gas for lighting, with numerous interesting and beautiful old gas lamps.

(image from the Gas Museum website)

The second floor appears to be a special exhibit space, when I went there was an exhibit of  Meiji period colour woodblock prints.

The Lifestyle Building (my translation of Kurashi-kan, くらし館) includes an activity space for children's programs, a historical development of the use of gas in everyday life as seen through the lives of one family, and displays of Tokyo Gas advertisements over the years (especially amusing was one of a young Charlie Sheen looking serious while cuddling a bunny rabbit!)

(image from the Gas Museum website)

The second floor contains models of plants processing coal and natural gas.

All in all it is a well-done small museum, but likely not worth the hike out unless you have children who want to participate in the range of special programs offered.

1 comment: