Take the Odakyu Line from Shinjuku to Mukogaoka-yuen, you will get to Nihon Minkaen after 13 minute’s walking from the south exit. This time I will explore the big park sweeping up many traditional Japanese houses.
About Nihon Minkaen
Not only aesthetic but also function is much accounted of in the ancient Japanese architectural, especially in the Minkaen. In order to protect these historic works, the government of Kawasaki City has moved the ancient architectural around Japan to Nihon Minkaen, the Japan open-air folk house museum, from 1967. Now there are 25 historic houses in the Minkaen. Some architectural also display the farm tools and living things to make visitors understand the past of Japan easier.
Learn about the folk house
Firstly, I got into the museum house entrance hall after buying tickets. The design and construction of the folk house is shown with model and illustration to help visitors to learn the knowledge of the folk house.
Following the identification, I saw the Water Mill from Nagono Prefecture. These wooden gears are used as mill and rice polisher.
In this picture, the right one is Sasaki house built around 1731. The relatively light snowfall enabled the use of thin pillars. The houses in the middle and left are the Emuki house and the Yamada house. These two are Gassho Zukuri (steep-sloped roof) style houses.
In some folk houses, the ancient way to set fire around the stove is shown by staff. We just sat on the wooden floor to listen to them.
Have the Soba in Nihon Minkaen
The Yamashita House in Gassho Zukuri style was built around the early 19th century in Shirakawa village, Gifu prefecture. The ground floor is used as rest area and restaurant offering Soba. The second floor is used for displaying the collections such as ancient living things.
You can have the Soba made by the spring from Oshinomura in Yamanashi prefecture. There are vegetable Soba, mashed yam Soba and traditional Japanese desert to choose.
＊ The Soba restaurant opens : 11:00~15:00
The stall outside the Yamashita House offers Japanese snack like baked danko and daifuku.
Nihon Minkaen holds various shows and lectures about folk custom every year. Check out the event information shown on the Nihon Minkaen official site if you are interested in it.
If you are interested in the Japanese folk house or want to learn about the typical architecture around Japan from Nihon Minkaen, I suggest you spend half day to enjoy the historic atmosphere here.
*In order to help the visitors to learn the folks’ house, we introduce a voice guide using smartphones from April 1, 2017. If you download the application on the smartphone, you can listen to the commentary about the folks’ house while watching the floor plan and precious old photos. Japanese/ English / Chinese / Korean is on service. And it is offered free.
NIHON MINKA-EN（JAPAN OPEN-AIR FOLK HOUSE MUSEUM）
Address: 7-1-1 Masugata, Tama Ward, Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture
Open: Mar.-Oct. 9:30~17:00、Nov.-Feb. 9:30~16:30
Closed on: Monday (open on holiday)
Admission Fee: Adults 500 yen/Students 300 yen/65 years and over 300 yen/Children(Junior High School and under) Free/Handicapped Persons Free
For more information → http://www.odakyu.jp/english/