"The old western-style building constructed by referring to a picture alone"
was designated one of the country's important cultural assets in February, 1976. The
two-story wooden structure consists of small buildings in the shape of a katakana 'ko' ('コ'),
a traditional Japanese arrangement, with 255.74 square meters of floor space on each
On the first story, there is a lounge, a tea room, and exhibition rooms and on the
second story, a guest room, a meeting room and more exhibition rooms. On display are
pianos, rickshaws, bicycles, tools and utensils, and black lacquer furniture embossed with
gold. The second floor veranda railing, restored from a Meiji period photo, is bronze with
an Arabesque pattern. The bronze door of the otherwise stone gate outside also was
As you listen to the music box or gramophone records, you can drink coffee or eat rice
balls and other snacks. While there are still few important historical buildings in Japan
where one may drink and eat inside in this fashion, the Agency for Cultural Affairs is
planning practical ways cultural assets can be preserved in living form and available to
Meiji Hall was built in Maebashi in 1878 as the Gunma Prefectural Public Health Center
and Medical School, on the site which is now Gunma Hall across from the prefectural
office. Later it was converted to a prefectural girls' school, a teacher's college linked
to an elementary school, a product exhibition hall and a prefectural farmers' co-op. In
1928, in order to build the present day Gunma Hall, the structure was moved to the village
of Aioi where it served as the Aioi public office.
After Aioi was amalgamated with Kiryuu, the building was used as the Aioi Citizens'
Hall and Aioi branch office of City Hall until 1982. Between January, 1983 and March, 1985
the structure was completely restored to its original form. During the repair period, the
documents stating that the building had been bought and relocated by Aioi village were
discovered. Including Meiji Hall there are 312 western-style structures built during or
after the Meiji period within the city limits.
Exhibitions, such as those of the works of city residents, are held two or three times
a year. Hours are from 9am-5pm a.m. Closed Mondays. Open national holidays but closed the