Monday, August 25, 2008

Meiji-mura Museum

Wishing to escape the confines of my apartment and the heat I travelled to Meji-Mura Museum for the day.
Meji-Mura is an open-air museum that contains over 60 buildings from the Meji Era 1868-1912.Various buildings from all over Japan have been brought there and are on display.One can walk into a school,a jail and a traditional bath house for instance or eat at one of the restaurants that operate out of the historical premises.
Meji-Mura is located near Inuyama which is about a 45 to 60 minute train ride from Nagoya depending on which train you use.From Inuyama Station you need to catch a shuttle bus which takes you to Meji-Mura.A little expensive and time consuming to get there(the shuttle bus takes about 20-30 minutes depending on traffic) but worth it.There are ample signs in English at Inuyama Station that direct you to the Museums shuttle bus stop.
The small building above comes from Tokyo and was the residence of Ogoto Mori and Soseki Natsume.Various displays inside each building,sometimes in English,inform you of the former occupiers and the history of the building.

An old wooden Post Office building in the grounds of the Museum still operates a postal service.Apart from this wooden building there are others built of brick,stone and other materials which makes a refreshing change from the drab grey concrete of more recent constructions.
The Museum has the buildings organised into five main areas.While it is possible to see all these areas on foot I recommend spending a little extra yen and using the buses,train and trams which travel between the various locations.
A standard adult ticket is 1,600 yen.I decided to purchase a 2,200yen ticket which enabled me to use the Museums transport services to get around.

One of the more interesting buildings on display for me was Frank Lloyd Wrights Imperial Tokyo Hotel.The entrance way and front half of the building has been reconstructed.The exterior design reminded me of some kind of South American temple.On entering the foyer I was surprised by how low the ceilings were and how dark it was.
You can buy refreshments and sit at one of the tables and chairs Wright designed but I preferred to grab an ice cream and sit on the lawn in front of the building.

As well as private residences and commercial buildings there are a number of public buildings such as schools and a hospital.Within the hospital building there is a large room on display which gives one an idea of what a hospital ward would look like in the latter Meiji period.

The final photo shows a foreigner residence from Kobe which was built in 1867.The house is a mix of Japanese and European design.The back half of the house is distinctly Japanese with a traditional tatami room occupying the upper storey.

To sum up,I'd recommend this as more of a day trip rather than a half day excursion given that it took me an hour and a half roughly to get there from Nagoya.
The sheer size and layout of the Museums grounds provide one with lots of walking exercise.There are plenty of places to eat there though if you are on a budget take your own lunch and sit in one of the many landscaped areas or gardens.
The variety of buildings in terms of size,construction and use mean theres always something different to look at.
The only minor quibble I had was the piped music that seemed to follow me around the grounds.A mournful violin tune was emitted from speakers strategically placed around the gardens and buildings.It seemed at odds with the bright sunny day and the friendly staff.I was thinking at one point of doing a "Anna Karenina" near the steam train station such was my annoyance at this noise pollution.Apart from this annoyance which seems common to such public places,I remember the same thing at Okazaki Castle,Meji Mura is well worth a visit.


sivaluk_htn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tim said...

Hi Sivaluk,
sorry about the delay in getting back to all means post a link about meiji mura on your travel guide