Japan, once an isolated nation, moved towards opening its doors to the world and the Western influence during the Meiji Era. It was a time for the new government to aim at making Japan a democratic nation, favoring equality and human rights as well as freedom of expression. Thus, modern infrastructures were built at this time. Much of the architecture from this era is still exhibited in “Meiji-mura,” a theme park in Inuyama which preserves the historic buildings.
Meiji-mura was established by Dr. Yushiro Taniguchi, who was also the first Director of the museum. He invited his friend, Mr. Moto-o Tsuchikawa (President of the Nagoya Railroad) to cooperate with him and soon they were able to open the museum complex. Taniguchi’s desire to reconstruct and preserve the western-style of the Meiji Era was bolstered upon seeing the demolition of the Rokumeikan. This was a Western-style building where diplomats and foreign dignitaries could meet with high-ranking Japanese citizens. There are 10 buildings with a similar history which were chosen and regarded as “Important Cultural Property.”
Meiji-mura was officially opened on March 15, 1965. The buildings have been arranged so that they can truly display their value as part of Meiji era culture. It has an environmentally friendly feel and as such, the gardens, walks and trees are greatly cared for. It is a perfect place for people to experience social education while discovering the spirit of the Meiji Period.
Meiji-mura is open daily from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM from March to October. It closes as early as 4:00 PM from November to February. It is always closed on Mondays from December to February. The museum can be accessed by bus from the Meitetsu Inuyama station east exit. The journey by bus takes 20 minutes.