The Rakugeikan Medical Museum was formerly the main hospital in Gujo Hachiman and opened as such in 1904. Now it is a museum with displays of rather gruesome medical instruments, an old X-ray machine, beds, doctors' white coats, anatomical books and diagrams, screens and other assorted medical paraphernalia.
If you are at all squeamish, this may not be the right museum for you, but the Rakugeikan does provide a fascinating insight into Meiji era medical practice when new techniques were being introduced from the west.
One such new Western technique was the X-ray known as rentogen (レントゲン) in Japanese. The name comes from Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen (1845-1923) a German physicist who invented the X-ray and earned himeself the first Nobel prize for physics in 1923.
What really strikes the visitor is how small the place is compared with Gujo's modern hospital and how steep the wooden staircase is. It must have been a struggle to get the patients up to the wards on the second floor.
The Rakugeikan Medical Museum is located very close to Gujo's Tourist Information Office, itself housed in an historic building and also supplies a space for displays of arts by local citizens of Gujo.
Hachimancho Shimadani 789 - 1, Gujo
Hours: 10am-4pm; closed Monday or the next day if Monday is a public holiday
Admission: 210 yen
Tel: 0575 66 1011
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