April 13, 2024
Photo by Miyuki Takiguchi, other photos by Takahiro Takiguchi

Photo by Miyuki Takiguchi, other photos by Takahiro Takiguchi ()

Situated in the center of Honshu and a 5-hour drive from the Kanto Plain, Meiji Mura (village) in Inuyama City is a 25-acre open-air museum and theme park, home to more than 60 historical buildings built in the Meiji era (1868 – 1912).

The historical buildings were originally built in other locations in Japan but were relocated into Meiji Mura for preservation. Among the preserved buildings in the park, 12 are designated as national cultural assets.

Since old-fashioned buildings are beautifully arranged throughout the vast park, many movies and TV dramas have filmed here throughout the years.

My wife, daughter and I recently visited Meiji Mura to step back in time to when Japan transformed from a samurai society into a modern western-style nation to feel its unique quaint, old-timely atmosphere.

Hundred-year-old hotels, banks, theaters, schools, churches, courthouse, prison, factories, army barracks, bridges and lighthouses in the park made us feel as if we were strayed back in time. We saw a restaurant in the preserved Imperial Hotel offering dishes cooked with the recipes from the Meiji era. And the majestic Saint Francis Xavier Cathedral, originally built in Kyoto City, overwhelmed us with its gorgeous altar filled with beautiful decors and sculptures. The preserved Kabuki theater, barber shop and sento public bath from the early 1900s gave us a glimpse into the life of common people back in the day. Through documents, artifacts and tools displayed at the preserved schools, factories, army barracks and hospitals, we learned how the Meiji era was full of ups and downs. Besides the food and snacks of the Meiji era available in the park’s restaurants, you can hop on the nation’s oldest streetcar or steam locomotive running through the park. And if you wish, you and your loved one can even tie the knot at one of the beautiful churches. Meiji Mura is situated at the side of Iruka Pond and surrounded by green mountains. We really enjoyed the extremely refreshing, cool mountain air during our trip to old Japan.

We visited the park around 3 p.m. and we were not able to check out all the buildings and monuments by the 5 p.m. closing time. So, if you are planning to visit Meiji Mura, be sure to give yourself several hours to enjoy whole park.

We found Meiji Mura a great daytrip spot filled with picturesque attractions perfect for photos. Make plans to head to Meiji Mura and walk back in time.

Meiji Mura (village) Location: 1 Uchiyama, Inuyama City, Aichi Prefecture Hours: Mar – Oct, 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Aug, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Nov, 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. (until 5 p.m. on Sat, Sun & holidays), Dec – Feb, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Admission: adult 2,000 yen, high schoolers 1,200 yen, elementary and middle schoolers: 700 yen URL Tel: 0568-67-0314


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