Hyper Edohaku app by Edo-Tokyo Museum


Museums are magical time tunnels that tell stories through curated displays. But what happens when a museum with thousands of artefacts is closed for renovation for three years? Edo-Tokyo Museum came up with the perfect solution – the Hyper Edohaku app, an app which allows virtual visits to Edo-Tokyo by anyone, anywhere, and any time. 


Gamified exploration of Edo-Tokyo


Hyper Edohaku - Edoha-kun
Image adapted from: 江戸東京博物館【公式】

Start your day in a traditional Japanese tenement house as Edoha-kun, a boy who lives in Edo (present-day Tokyo). The world outside is bustling with activity in preparation for kawabiraki (川開き祭り; river festival marking the commencement of the boating season). 

Hyper Edohaku - 4 stages
Image adapted from: Edo-Tokyo Museum

After leaving your house, the game will bring you through different settings of varying themes – Ryōgokubashi Bridge, Ekoin Temple, and Sumida River. 

Hyper Edohaku - collect artefacts
Image adapted from: Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History&Culture

To move on to the next stage, you must find a minimum number of items relevant to each setting’s theme. After unlocking all the stages, you will be free to hop back and forth through the entire map to find all the artefacts featured in the game. 

Here’s a sneak peak of what to expect as you run along the virtual streets and river banks as Edoha-kun: 

「ハイパー江戸博」紹介動画 Hyper Edohaku
play button
「ハイパー江戸博」紹介動画 Hyper Edohaku

Video credit: 江戸東京博物館【公式】


Interesting encounters with historical characters & events


Hyper Edohaku - kawabiraki
Image credit: Edo-Tokyo Museum

Along Edoha-kun’s journey of discovery in Edo, you’ll uncover storylines inspired by real events captured in ukiyo-e (浮世絵; Japanese woodblock paintings) and nishiki-e (錦絵; traditional colour prints). 

Hyper Edohaku - wrestling kappa
Image adapted from: Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History&Culture and Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History&Culture

Gape at kappa (河童; Japanese river spirits that resemble turtles) wrestling on a bridge, fresh out of water from A Hundred Tales from Japan and China

Hyper Edohaku - sumo wrestlers
Image adapted from: Edo-Tokyo Museum and Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History&Culture

If you’d like to get in on the action, become a wrestler yourself at Ekoin Temple’s much-hyped sumō-wrestling tournament.

Hyper Edohaku - Misemono Spectacles
Image adapted from: Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History&Culture and Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History&Culture

Next, pass by an awe-stricken crowd that’s gathered before an elephant and a camel parading at Misemono Spectacles, Edo period’s “freak show”. 

Hyper Edohaku - meet Hokusai
Image adapted from: Edo-Tokyo Museum and Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History&Culture

You’ll also bump into famous historical characters, including Katsushika Hokusai, a renowned ukiyo-e artist who spent much of his life in Sumida Ward. 


The idea behind Hyper Edohaku


Hyper Edohaku - app cover
Image credit: Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History&Culture

Hyper Edohaku is the first Japanese smartphone game produced by a museum. Following the theme of “Finding, Discovering, and Collecting Edo”, the app encourages users to learn about Edo Japan’s culture and way of life simply by playing a game. 

Hyper Edohaku - 3D renders
Image credit: Edo-Tokyo Museum

Created as part of the Tokyo Smart Culture Project, 100 out of 370,000 museum artefacts were painstakingly chosen to most effectively pique users’ interest. 

According to Taro Nitta, Chief Curator of Edo-Tokyo Museum, a key feature of the app is digitalising realistic reduced-scale models from the museum’s permanent exhibition. 

Hyper Edohaku - Ryōgokubashi Bridge
Image credit: Edo-Tokyo Museum

The setting is modelled after paintings of the west end of Ryōgokubashi Bridge, and the characters are reproduced via 3D and CG.

Another curator of the museum, Shoko Haruki, shares that Hyper Edohaku serves to promote the Edo-Tokyo Museum to an overseas audience. 


Travel through space and time with Hyper Edohaku


Hyper Edohaku offers an immersive experience that will surely upgrade your Edo period knowledge in time for the Edo-Tokyo Museum’s 2025 reopening. The app comes in both Japanese and English versions, and is available on iOS and Android.

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Cover image adapted from: Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History&Culture, Edo-Tokyo Museum, Edo-Tokyo Museum

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