Hansen’s Disease Museum, More Cycling and Eating – Day 136

(Before getting into this blog post, the main photo above is of this really cute gift I received from Atsuko, the old lady who I spent New Years Day with – see my other blog posts! It was a Congratulations present for the Coming of Age ceremony I took part in last week – hand painted boxes with biscuits inside! I like the photo so I thought I’d use that as the main photo for this blog post… Anyway, carry on reading for this blog post!)

Now that classes are coming to an end, my free time is ever increasing. For some reason there were no classes at university today, but I had the day off anyway as my class on Wednesday has now finished (last week was the final class).

Being stingy as ever, I looked up free things to do last night in preparation for today and I was getting really psyched for some free museums that I had planned to go to, but quite a few of them were closed this Wednesday. Boo.

My breakfast today - spinach omelette with cottage cheese

My breakfast today – spinach omelette with cottage cheese

But I found one that wasn’t closed today, and so I hopped on my bike and went to the ‘National Hansen’s Disease Museum’ in Higashimurayama.

Front of the museum

Front of the museum


Only 35 mins away by bike, I was really excited about going to this museum. Partly because it was free (of course) but also I had no idea what Hansen’s Disease was.

Random statues outside the entrance

Random statues outside the entrance

So this museum is all about, yes you’ve guessed it, Hansen’s Diease.

But what is it?

In actual fact, this disease has another name that is more familiar to me – Leprosy.

Exhibition room 1

Exhibition room 1

This was a really interesting museum that was set up “for the purpose of eradicating the prejudices and discrimination associated with Hansen’s disease and restoring the dignity of patients and former patients by promoting public edification and dissemination of accurate information regarding the disease” (from the website).

Heading into the second exhibition room

Heading into the second exhibition room

It was really interactive and there were loads of videos and photographs that helped tell the situation of Leprosy in Japan.

Watching some testimonials

Watching some testimonials

The biggest problem was that it was all in Japanese. Of course, I didn’t expect anything less, but I was hoping there was going to be some English translation or something like that written next to the Japanese. I didn’t know any of this medical vocabulary in English, let alone in Japanese so my brain started to hurt not long after I arrived, hahaha! Nevertheless, it was good kanji reading practise.

Leaflets and brochures

Leaflets and brochures

They even had some waxwork figures to show what the living conditions were like for those who had Leprosy and were segregated from society. I was the only one walking around when I went and it was kinda scary – I don’t like waxwork figures as I always feel like they’re going to come alive at any second.

Waxwork models depicting the living conditions of  a person with Leprosy

Waxwork models depicting the living conditions of a person with Leprosy

There was even artwork and pottery made by people with Leprosy on display. I think it was really good how the museum thoroughly covered all areas concerning this illness, from the causes and prejudice right through to the recovery and success stories.

Totoro clay figurine made by a patient

Totoro clay figurine made by a patient

DSCF1141After visiting the museum, I cycled around the area and picked up something to eat from a nearby supermarket. I then decided to head to Tachikawa, which is the next big ‘town’ after Kunitachi on the train line. Up until now, I had never been there but I recently found out that there is a Takashimaya and Isetan department store there. As you know, I love going to these two department stores. Why?


Cute Heart-shaped baked goodies!

Cute Heart-shaped baked goodies!

Yes, I love going to the food section of department stores as there are normally free samples and I love looking at all the sorts of cakes and delicacies you can buy.



I normally don’t buy anything as I can’t afford it but today I splashed out and bought this baked goodie that had white bean paste inside. I’ve had it on several occasions but I realised when I was writing this blog post, that I don’t know the name of this wonderful treat. It is like a taiyaki – baked doughy outer layer with bean paste in the middle. It only cost me 80yen which I thought was a bargain, especially for Takashimaya.

The stall where I got my goodie from - see all that paste lined up on top of the doughy mixture?

The stall where I got my goodie from – see all that paste lined up on top of the doughy mixture?

Now I’m looking up things to do in the next coming weeks. I might go to some other museums and art galleries tomorrow, but I have my part time job so we’ll see how things go.

Sorry, this was a bit of a random blog post and very factual. Nothing much has been happening since my last post, but I’ve written all my essays and done my presentations for this semester (completed everything last night!) so I should be doing more interesting posts in the future!

Thanks for reading!!

This entry was published on January 22, 2014 at 2:09 pm. It’s filed under Japan and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

5 thoughts on “Hansen’s Disease Museum, More Cycling and Eating – Day 136

  1. Sorry for not being able to rendesvous in Tokyo. My mum wanted to stay with me all the time, therefore, we did just that. I am planning to visit Japan again soon. Hopefully, we can meet there and then (^-^)

    • Hello! Ah don’t worry about it 🙂 I hope you had a great time here with your mum! I completely understand- it must’ve been really relaxing and comforting to spend time with her. Do let me know when you’re here again! X

      • I am so relieved that you forgave me! I hadn’t seem mum for 2 years and we had a lot of catching up to do. Unlike me, mum is a very shy and private person. I did suggest if we could see you together but she didn’t give me a straight answer. She was not clingy or anything but she seemed to think I was to be around her all the time. So I did not even see any of my Japanese friends either. Oh well… But we shall see each other next time for sure. I want to hear you speaking in Japanese! (^-^)

      • Wow, that is a long time since you last saw her! I’ve always been brought up with the concept of Family comes First, which hasn’t always been the most convenient way of doing things but that’s how it goes! So don’t worry about it 🙂 hope you are well back home in London. Hahaha, I have to brush up on my Japanese before I see you!

  2. I’d never heard of Hansen’s Disease either, I was surprised to learn it was leprosy. How sad it must have been for the people infected with it, being treated like total pariahs and sent away. I remember my mother telling me about the leper colonies in Japan when I was a little girl. I get scared of those waxwork figures too! There were a number of them at the Historical Village of Hokkaido and they even had sound effects so it seemed like they were talking, creepy!

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