The Museum was first opened on 15 April, 1995.
The museum shows the history of the creation of the water supply system from the earliest beginnings of Edo from 1590 until modern day Tokyo.
The museum has two floors. The second floor depicts the history of the waterworks until the end of the Edo Era, while the first floor shows how the system was upgraded to the modern waterworks of today.
Upon arrival you will receive an interactive audio player to listen to a detailed explanation about every item on the way. The trip through the museum starts on the second floor and lets you step back in history when the waterworks were called "josui". The starting point of the "josui" was the Koishikawa canal, which was built under orders of Tokugawa Ieyasu. This canal gradually developed into the Kanda canal, which took its water from the Kanda River and supplied the Kanda and Nihonbashi areas.
Water was lead through stone and wooden pipes to wells where the citizens could draw their water for their daily life.
Edo grew very rapidly over the next century into the biggest city in the world. Water was a vital commodity for the survival of the city and therefore the Tamagawa Canal was dug from the Tama river to supply Toranomon, Shiba, and Yurakucho. This was a gigantic undertaking in its time, not only because it had to be dug by hand, but also because it project practically had to be redone from scratch. When the canal was opened the water disappeared into a big sinkhole.
Furthermore the shogunate was not prepared to come with further financing which left the two brothers Sho-emon and Sei-emon (also known as the Tamagawa Brothers), who had been commissioned with the construction with no other choice but to sell their properties, which drove them to the verge of bankruptcy. In spite of all construction was completed in 1653.
When the Tokugawa Shogunate collapsed and Edo became Tokyo the water supply system remained unchanged, but many problems arose with the ever-growing population. Canals got contaminated and after cholera broke out in 1886 it was decided that the system should be upgraded and modernized. Filtering stations were constructed and the Ogouchi dam was built in the Tamagawa. Over the next century until now, many other adjustments have taken place resulting in a supply that is mostly taken for granted, but demands respect when we realize that more than 12.000.000 million people receive clean and safe water each day of the year.