The sharper edge to traveling in Asia

The best of Takayama Japan: Gomi Teruichi’s Showa Museum

Written By: herbrunbridge - Jul• 09•13

ShowaBeerAd1cThe Takayama Showa Museum is not only one of the best things in Takayama, in our opinion here at WoWasis, it’s most of the most remarkable museums in the world. Showa refers to the period of Japanese history (1926-1987) following the Taisho era (1912-1925), and preceding the Heisei era (1988-today).

Founder Teruichi Gomi

Founder Teruichi Gomi

Virtually everyone who has owned and loved a Japanese product will enjoy this museum. It was founded as a labor of love by Gomi Teruichi, who was born in 1944. The museum showcases consumer technology of the era, and is divided up into twenty period rooms, including an appliance store, a toy store, an elementary school classroom, and a place for period automobiles. It’s a history of how the Japanese invented themselves into an economic power. Not everything worked: there is a Bridgestone bicycle powered by a tiny engine affixed to the rear frame. When the engine turns, it causes a hard rubber disc to engage with the rear wheel rim. Education was a big thing in Japan, as witnessed by a bowl-like device that when plugged in, allows a classroom to become a planetarium. There are vintage Japanese radios, cameras, movie posters and monster toys. The are cute dolls for girls and tin Shinkansen (bullet train) toys for boys. An eye chart from an optometrist’s office has figures in Japanese, with a color-deficiency chart built right in. The advertising posters are studies in ebullience.



The museum encapsulates Japan’s economic resurgence after World War II and its race to consumerism. We like the city of Takayama anyway, but we’re tempted to say it’s worth a visit solely to visit this museum. We spent an hour here, but could easily have stayed half a day.

There’s the Showa-Kan Museum in Tokyo that deals with the same era. We haven’t been there, but online data indicates that it focuses a lot on deprivation. On the other hand, the Takayama Showa museum is a celebration, with its twenty stores and shops reveling  in a wild optimism that took over a country and influenced much of the world, as inventiveness, miniaturization, and cost-control resulted in a new way of live for much of the post-1950 world.

ShowaDolls1cTakayama Showa Museum
6 Shimoichinomachi (3rd building north of Yasugawa intersecton)
Takayama City, Gifu Prefecture, Japan
Tel: 0577-33-7836
Open daily 9 am – 5 pm
GPS: N36°08’38’’  E137°15’36’’

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.