Around the same time Meiji-kan became available, Aioi Village planned to construct a town hall, so the prefecture sold the building to the village for JPY600 (current value of approx. JPY12,000,000). The cost of moving the building from Maebashi to Aioi was JPY12,000 (current value of approx. JPY240,000,000). In 1929, it was opened as the village town hall. In 1954, the village consolidated with the city of Kiryu. In 1959, the building was converted to Aioi Kominkan (community center). Meiji-kan became the symbol of the Aioi district and was loved by the local populace.
Kiryu Meiji-kan is a two-story Giyo-fu architecture building. Giyo-fu buildings outwardly resemble Western-style structures but rely on traditional Japanese craftsmanship for construction. As knowledge of Western techniques spread throughout the country, Giyo-fu architecture gradually disappeared. Kiryu Meiji-kan is one of only a few remaining examples of early western architecture in the Kanto area. The rooms have many Japanese stylistic features while the external ornamentation is completely western. The splendid harmony of western architectural motifs and traditional Japanese craftsmanship is one of the building's most unique aspects.
Displayed in the first floor exhibition room is black lacquer furniture of the same style used by the Meiji Imperial Household Agency and the imperial family. The second floor parlor is often used by Kiryu citizens for taking commemorative pictures of family members. The Exhibition Room on the second floor can be used by the public free of charge to exhibit private collections. On the first floor, there is a room where visitors can enjoy cake and coffee while listening to nostalgic tunes played on the gramophone (antique music box.)
Kiryu Meiji-kan was designated by the national government as an Important Cultural Property on February 3, 1976. Some of the meeting rooms and exhibition rooms are available for public use. For details, please contact the Cultural Property Protection Section, Administration Dept., Kiryu City Board of Education.
Kiryu Meiji-kan in English (PDF)
Location: 2-414-6 Aioi-cho, Kiryu
Open from 9:00 to 17:00 hours
Closed on Mondays (Tuesday if a Monday falls on a holiday)
Admission: JPY150 for adults (Sr. High School Students and older)
JPY50 for elementary & junior high school students
Nearby sightseeing spots:
Karakuri Ningyo Shibai-kan (Mechanical Doll Theater)
Kiryugaoka Amusement Park & Zoo
The Carribean Beach