Showa Hall 昭和館

One of my museums in Takayama is Showa Hall. Showa refers to the Showa period in Japan which began and ended with the reign of Emperor Showa, or Hirohito. His reign was from December 25th, 1926 to January 7th, 1989.

Showa Hall is a museum that has collected many artifacts from the 1950s, and recreated a typical city street with stores, restaurants, and bars. The purpose of this museum is remind everyone what is was like for post-war Japan to be thrust into an industrial revolution to catch up with the modern world.

As you entered, you're immediately greeted by Showa Street, where you can find all the commerce of the 1950s.

There's a typical diner, a toy store, an electronics shop, a camera and film store, a doctor's office,

Each store is completely filled with tons of clutter. When you take a look at the macro view of the stores, and shops, it certainly looks like it could be in the 1950s. But when you start looking at things a little closer, I think they have some of their decades mixed up.

The electronic stores has several camcorders that were clearly from the 70s. I don't even think Sony started making commercial camcorders until the 70s. There's also plenty of cameras from years later than the 50s. The TVs looked really old, though. :)

The toy store has a poster of Super Mario Bros, which is clearly 80s. And some of the other goofy stuff in that toy shop which probably from that same decade, too.

There's plenty of wrestling posters, too. I think that was also in the 80s. I think when wrestling started getting HUGE in the US, it's popularity in Japan was equally huge.

Upstairs in Showa Hall, they have some private home setups, and a recreated classroom. There's also several other school themed areas, and then plenty of other stuff that didn't really fit downstairs.

Among the school items, they had plenty of textbooks used in elementary school from long long ago, as well as some old school uniforms and backpacks. :)

Back downstairs and on the way out, there's a few more areas packed in the corner. There's a clock shop, a music store, and a theater.

As well as a glass case full of photos, newspaper clippings, and other things about Emperor Showa.


I like this museum a lot because it's very different from other museums I've been to in Japan. All of the museums I've visited focus on ancient Japan, or war-torn Japan. The ancient history museum exhibit lacquerware, pots, tools, and artifacts from 100 or more years ago. Or they're about Shogun and Samurai, and the warring states period of constant battle. It's a past that I have absolutely no earthly connection to at all. It's all very primitive, and it seems like a time I personally cannot relate to. I'm not uninterested by it, but I can really relate to it.

Japanese war museums are interesting, too. And… World War II wasn't THAT long ago… but I've never been in a Japanese museum that focused on post-war Japan. Showa Hall features many things that are still quite in the past, but it's all the building blocks of today's society. All of the items in this museum are still used today in their modern equivalent.

I feel like this museum is a missing link between all those ancient history, and war museums and the modern age, today. It fills a gap that I hadn't seen before.


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