Open-air museum Meiji Mura opened in 1965 to preserve and exhibit Meiji architecture. Buildings of artistic and historical value, mainly from the Meiji Era (1868-1912), have been relocated and restored, and are arranged and displayed in a way that best demonstrates their value as cultural assets. The original locations of the relocated structures range from throughout Japan to as far away as Seattle, Hawaii, and Brazil. The vast grounds, covering approximately one million square meters, offer visitors the feeling of having traveled back in time to the Meiji Period.
Meiji Mura also offers a variety of interesting experiences. One of the most unique is to ride on a steam locomotive built in the Meiji Period (though operation is occasionally suspended). It is a rare opportunity and a valuable experience, not only in Japan, but anywhere in the world, to actually ride in a vehicle that was manufactured more than 100 years ago. In addition, visitors can take commemorative photos wearing Meiji-era schoolgirl costumes and summer uniforms, stroll around the village, ride the Kyoto City Tram (the first streetcar in Japan), and play traditional Japanese games such as target practice and Japanese archery.
Meiji Mura also offers visitors the opportunity to savor food from the Meiji Era (1868-1912). At the "Shokudoraku Curry Bread" restaurant, visitors can enjoy fried curry pockets created based on the recipe from the novel "Shokudoraku." The chicken and crushed peanuts make for a unique flavor. At Oi Beef Hot Pot Restaurant, visitors can enjoy beef hot pot, once symbolic of Japan's civilization and enlightenment. Visitors can enjoy the atmosphere of the Meiji Era in the Oi Beef Hot Pot Restaurant building, constructed in around 1887. At Japanese Restaurant Hekisuitei, visitors can partake in other dining experiences unique to Meiji Mura, such as the waffles made by reproducing and arranging a recipe from "Manbo-chinsho" published in the 6th year of Meiji (1873).
Getting there and around
Take Nagoya Railroad Inuyama Line, get on at Meitetsu Nagoya Station and get off at Inuyama Station (approx. 30 min.).
Take the Gifu Bus for Meiji Mura from Meitetsu Inuyama Station (approx. 30 min.).
Take a short-distance highway bus bound for Meiji Mura from Meitetsu Bus Center at Nagoya Station (approx. 80 min.).
In the fall, the village offers quaint scenery as many deciduous trees such as the dogwood turn red and yellow to beautifully complement the buildings.
In spring, approximately 1,000 cherry trees bloom, including weeping cherry trees in late March, Somei Yoshino cherry trees in early April, and Yaezakura cherry trees from mid-April, offering beautiful scenery at different times of the year.
St. John's Church／聖ヨハネ教会堂
Temples & Shrines
The church was built as Kyoto Gojo Anglican Church in Japan and is designated as an important national cultural property. Based on the Romanesque style from medieval Europe, the building has a detailed gothic design. The interior of the second-floor chapel is cruciform in shape, with a thin framework of arched canes and reinforcing steel bars that create the impression the interior is larger than it is. Stained glass windows bathe the rooms in bright colorful light.
Villa of Prince Kimmochi Saionji 「Zagyo-so」/西園寺公望別邸「座漁荘」
“Zaigyosoh” was built in Okitsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, as the villa of prince and former Prime Minister Saionji Kinmochi, an important figure in the history of Japan who made great achievements in the Meiji government. The residence, built in the sukiya style, retains the atmosphere of its time, rich in history. The shoji screens in the second-floor tatami room open onto a beautiful view of Iruka Pond with the distant mountains in the background. The rooms are filled with furniture that was actually used by Kinmochi Saionji, providing a glimpse of what life was like in those days.
Tokyo blind school carriage porch/東京盲学校車寄
The Tokyo School for the Blind car stop is tucked away in a corner of the Japanese Garden in Meiji Mura 1-chome. The stylish exterior of the building is a reconstruction of the carriage porch of the Tokyo School for the Blind, which was built in 1910. The surrounding Japanese garden is exquisitely maintained and offers beautiful surroundings of fresh greenery in spring and autumn leaves in fall.
At Meiji Mura, visitors can rent "Madonna," an audio guide available in Japanese and English.
Unique Local Experiences
In Japan, there is a children’s story called "Momotaro," in which a boy born from a peach eradicates Onis (demons) that cause people harm. It is said that Momotaro’s birthplace is in Inuyama City, and the city’s Momotaro Shrine is dedicated to him. The shrine’s rare peach-shaped torii gate and unique concrete statues created by concrete sculptor Shoun Asano can be seen at the temple, which has been introduced on Japanese TV programs as an interesting and unusual spot.
Travel Advice and Tips
Meiji Mura is a very large attraction with a lot to see and do, so plan on spending a whole day there. In addition to Meiji Mura, Inuyama City has many other attractive sightseeing spots such as the national treasure, Inuyama Castle, and there is no reason why you cannot visit various tourist attractions if you travel quickly.
However, if you make the journey to Inuyama, you might consider staying overnight and taking your time to properly enjoy Meiji Mura and other tourist spots to the fullest.
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