Museum of Historical and Folklore Materials
trip for the past
The museum preserves the main house and part of a storehouse which formerly belonged to the Egami family, one of the most prosperous merchant families in Miyajima. It exhibits folk materials that provide insights into the lives of ordinary people, and historical materials including ancient documents, and poems and paintings depicting Miyajima.
from Edo period to Meiji period
Many national treasures and cultural assets related to Itsukushima Shrine have been displayed, however little effort has been made to collect and preserve artifacts, related to everyday life of the common people in Miyajima.
Fortunately, however, the residence belonging to the Egami Family, who were wealthy merchants from the Edo Period (1603-1867) to the Meiji Period (1868-1912) was transferred to Miyajima in its entirety. The municipality founded this museum by keeping the 170 year old main building and storehouses of the residence intact and adding new exhibition rooms.
Entrance Fees / 300 yen (senior high school students 170 yen, junior high school and elementary students 150 yen)
Opening Hours/ 8:30-17:00 (Last admission at 16:30)
Closed/ Monday (except for national holidays which fall on a Monday, in which case the museum is open on the holiday and closed the following day instead) and December 26 to 31
Access : 20 minutes on foot from Miyajima Pier via Itsukushima Shrine.
Exhibit room A
Exhibit room A is a storehouse with a stone floor.
There are 200 artifacts on display and among these, there are earthenware pots, jars, caldrons, wooden buckets, mortars, bamboo baskets, saws, planes, and pulleys. One item deserving special attention is a large caldron which was once used in the Sacred Fire Hall on Mt. Misen, noted in connection with the great Buddhist priest Kobo Daishi (774-835).
Exhibit Room B
Displayed in this room are photographs and related articles as well as 70 models which introduce annual events held in Miyajima.
Festivals and events held in Miyajima include the Peach Blossom Festival, Kangen-sai, Tamatori-sai, Patron Deity Festival.
Among the objects on display are model boats related to the Kangen Music Festival, held on June 17 of the lunar calendar, which feature music played on board a sacred palanquin boat.
Exhibit Room C
Miyajima is famous for its woodcrafts items. Among them are wooden trays, cake bowls, tea canisters made with a lathe, spoons and rice scoops.
Some items have beautiful designs dating from the late Edo period (1850’s). Rice scoops, which are said to have been originally designed by a priest named Seishin, are especially well known. In addition to such woodcraft items, old tools and signboards of woodcrafts shops are also on display. The 100 items on display show the history of Miyajima Woodwork.
Exhibit Room D (Downstairs)
Numbering 800 in all, artifacts relating to the necessities of everyday living, such as food, clothing, trade and religious faith, as well as Miyajima’s famous woodwork crafts are displayed in this room.
Among these artifacts are a large bathtub from the days of feudal; lord Motonari Mori (1497-1571), pine torches used in the Fire Prevention Festival, and a topographic model of Miyajima, made on a scale of 1 to 3000.
Exhibit Room D (Upstairs)
Images, earthenware, and historical literature dating back to during and after Edo period (1603-1867) are displayed here. Items numbering 400 in all range from images of the nobleman Kiyomori Taira (1118-1181), the nun Nii and the priest Seishin, to calligraphic works, paintings on folding screens, pictoral maps, guidebooks, antique documents, and printing blocks.
Of special interest are the Nanaura Folding Screen depicting an overall view of Miyajima literature on theatrical performances in Miyajima, and a pictorial map of scenic spots. All these items are indispensable to the understanding of Miyajima as a town of religion and tourism.
A Typical Home
The old houses of Miyajima are long and narrow and consist of three rooms. The front room faces the street and is called mise. The middle room, referred to as oue or oie, has no ceiling and contains the household alter.
As Miyajima is an island of deities, alters are a distinctive feature of houses on the island. The innermost room is a drawing room called zashiki. A garden passageway extends from the front entrance to the back of the house.
The Connecting Corridor and Latticed Windows
The connecting corridor runs between the garden and the street.
A row of latticed windows face the street. Such construction was common until the middle of the Meiji Period (1868-1912).
The Main Building of the Preserved Old Residence
The main building of the 170-year-old residence which once belonged to the Egami Family is open to the public. Though expensive repairs were carried out, it still retains the fundamental structure peculiar to residences of merchant families in olden days.
The six-mat tea-ceremony room was newly built when repairs were being done by removing closet. The staircase also serves as a chest of drawers. Staircases of this type are very rare today and seldom seen in Miyajima.
In Miyajima wide houses are very unusual. In this sense, this old house, once owned by the Egami Family, is exceptional. Surrounded by streets on all sides, it is built on a lot of over 1500 square meters which occupies a whole block. The impressive lattice windows give the appearance of an old merchant’s house.
The Museum Garden
When the garden was improved upon in the summer of 1973, due consideration was given to the preservation of the original landscape, including a pond which dates back to the days of the first owner. The exhibit rooms surround the garden and visitors can enjoy viewing it while walking through the museum.