Japan's Important Cultural Property status includes a category known as Historical Materials, an almost miscellaneous collection of the nation's heritage. Tokyo is currently home to five such listed items, ranging from scholarly woodblock prints to astronomical measuring instruments. Here is a simple guide to where in Tokyo you can find these Important Cultural Property historical materials.
Onko Gakkai Hall
Onko Gakkai Hall, an historical society dedicated to the famous blind scholar monk, Hanawa Hokiichi, contains the 666-volume of almost 33,000 wood block prints, Gunsho Ruiju. Awarded Important Cultural Property status in 1957, the work took Hanawa a lifetime to compile and features classical documents, records and literary works from almost 13,000 documents.
Location: 2-9-1 Higashi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 〒150-0011 (nearest station: Ebisu Staiton, JR Yamanote Line)
Tokyo Metropolitan Central Library
The Tokyo Metropolitan Central Library holds the 646-document Edo-jo Zoeikankei Shiryo, series of works related to the construction of Edo Castle. Designated an Important Cultural Property in 1987, the documents feature intricate architectural and construction detail by master carpenters of the time.
Location: 5-7-13 Minami-azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo 〒106-8575 (nearest station: Hiroo Station, Hibiya Line)
National Astronomical Observatory of Japan
The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan features a 19th-century German-made Repsold Transit Instrument, an astronomical tool used to measure star positions. Given Important Cultural Property status in 2011, the instrument sits original structure housing the instrument reflects the style of the times.
Location: 2-21-1 Osawa, Mitaka-shi, Tokyo 〒181-8588 (nearest station: Chofu Station, Keio Line)
Tokyo Metropolitan Archives
The Tokyo Metropolitan Archives is home to documents reflecting Tokyo's administrative establishment as Tokyo Prefecture and City during the Meiji Restoration and up until the mid-20th century. A repository of the creation of modern Tokyo, the documents were given Important Cultural Property status in 2014.
Location: 1-20-1 Tamagawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 〒158-0094 (nearest station: Nishi-kokubunji Station, JR Chuo Line)
Printing Museum Tokyo
The Printing Museum Tokyo is the home of the Suruga-ban Copper Type, the country's first copper type featuring 38,000 characters (from an original number of 110,000). Ordered to be cast by Tokugawa Ieyasu in the early 17th-century, the collection was awarded Important Cultural Status in 1962.
Location: 1-3-3 Suido, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 〒112-8531 (nearest station: Edogawabashi Station, Yurakucho Line)