Are you interested in seeing traditional Japanese residences that existed more than 200 years ago? Why not visit the Japan Open Air Folk House Museum (Nihon Minka-en) in Kawasaki? It is an outdoor museum that showcases traditional Japanese houses that have been preserved over the years. It is also a sanctuary for folk materials and other items related to folk houses which are considered important cultural assets of the country. Read on to find out more!
The museum consists of 25 buildings on display. Many of these have thatched roofs, called gassho-zukuri in Japanese, which can also found in the famous Shirakawa-go in Gifu. Part of the museum’s facilities is a traditional craft hall with an indigo-dying workshop, and a restaurant where you can try soba noodles made with spring water. To get a better grasp of how the Japanese Folk Houses were built, the Exhibition Hall houses two permanent exhibition rooms. At the main entrance, you can find a souvenir shop selling postcards, indigo-dyed products, and other museum memorabilia.
The museum displays several old folk houses which are located on the slopes of Tama Hills. They are divided into five areas namely Post Town, Village in Shin-etsu, Village in Kanagawa, Village in Kanto, and Village in Tohoku. Along the path, you’ll be able to find several interesting stone elements which traditional people deemed important in their daily life in times gone by.
If you want to learn a lot while touring the museum, you can make use of a guided tour in English by making a reservation at least two weeks in advance on this website. The tour happens in groups of 5 to 30 people per day and is free of charge. The museum is open daily, except on Mondays from 9.30 am to 5.00 pm (March to October) and 9.30 am to 4.30 pm (November to February). The entrance fee for adults is 500 yen while high school and university students’ fee is 300 yen. You need to show your ID if you want to make use of the lower fees. Free admission is given to kids up till junior high school age.
Some items are available for borrowing (free of charge). These items include baby strollers, wheelchairs, and lockers. Toilets for babies and physically disabled people are also available.
If you are in Tokyo or Kanagawa, grab your chance on a sunny day and don’t miss out on this interesting open air museum!
You can click here for the museum’s homepage.