Tokyo's history is riveting, making this museum's job easy as it vividly portrays the history, art, culture, architecture, and disasters of Tokyo from its founding in 1590—when the first shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, chose it as the seat of his government—to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Displays begin on the sixth floor, where you'll begin your journey through the centuries with a walk over a replica Nihombashi Bridge, once the starting point for all roads leading out of Edo (old Tokyo). Displays of the Edo Period (1603–1868) center on the lives of the shogun, merchants, craftsmen, and townspeople, and though descriptions are mostly in Japanese, no explanations are necessary for the replica kabuki theater, models of Edo and a feudal lord's mansion, maps, photographs, portable festival floats, and a life-size replica row-house tenement, measuring only 10 sq. m (108 sq. ft.), where most of Edo's commoners lived. Other displays relay the events of the Meiji Restoration and Japan's opening to the rest of the world; the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 killed more than 100,000 people; the bombing raids of World War II that destroyed much of the city (although I must add that Japan's role as aggressor is disappointingly glossed over); and Tokyo today. It takes a good 2 hours to see the museum, but you will enhance your visit with a free audio guide or museum tour offered by volunteers daily from 10am to 3pm (last tour). Tours last from 1 to 2 hours, depending on your interest, and are good for gaining an understanding for displays that are only in Japanese, but you'll probably still want to take time seeing the museum on your own.