Japan Open-Air Folk House Museum, or Nihon Minka-en, is located in Kawasaki city, which is about half hour away from Shinjuku station on the Odaikyu line. Despite it being so closely situated to Tokyo, you would feel like you are at a peaceful countryside even before reaching the museum. If you are looking for a break from the bustle of city life, this is the place to go. Especially if you are a history and architecture buff.
There are 23 original traditional houses from different parts of Japan in this open-air park. The houses all have their own stories, which you will be able to read in English in the signs right outside the houses.
Of course, the houses are not mere empty husks, they are furnished on the inside as well so that you can really get a feel of the way of life in the past.
Some of the houses have very friendly volunteers inside who are more than happy to share more of the history of the houses with you.
At the moment the front part of the museum is undergoing some construction works, so you might feel at little underwhelmed when you first enter, but once you reach the central area where the famous gassho-zukkuri houses of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama are located at, you will be feel like you have gone back in time. Around this area, you can also find a soba noodle restaurant located at the first level of a gassho-style house.
According to the volunteer, the thatched roofs of gassho-style houses are steeper than that of most houses to ensure the snow doesn’t accumulate and cause the roof to collapse. The term ‘gassho’ is also the pose that Japanese people use when they put their hands together to pray to the gods, and the roofs closely resemble this pose, thereby earning this namesake.
You can find out more about this picturesque museum at their homepage:
And of course follow me on my journey below!
Address: 7-1-1 Masugata, Tama Ward, Kawasaki City, 214-0032 Japan
Opening hours: [Mar. – Oct.] 9:30 – 17:00 [Nov. – Feb.] 9:30 – 16:30
- 13 minutes walk from the south exit of Mukogaokayuen station (Odakyu line)
- 25 minutes walk from the “Ikut a Ryokuchi” exit of Noborito station (JR Nanbu line/ Odakyu line)