Built in 1873, the former Kaichi Primary School houses more than 80,000 educational artifacts from the Meiji Restoration, when education was to become the unifying tool for the rapid modernization of post-feudal Japan. The displays in the former classrooms include wall charts (used prior to the introduction of textbooks) and 19th-century desks and writing slates. The building was used as a school until 1960. Its bizarre style reflects the architecture of the period: a
mishmash of diverse Occidental elements fashioned from Japanese materials. A big, fancy cupola sits atop the shingled roof; the white walls made of mortar are dotted with red, slatted windows; and the front door, hidden in the shadow of the blue, grandiose balcony, is protected by a skillfully carved dragon.
2–4–12 Kaichi, Matsumoto, Nagano-ken, 390-0876, Japan