SEE HOKKAIDO: Historical Village of Hokkaido, Pt. I

He’s been dead for years but he offered to tour me around his clinic. The normal reaction would have been to run away but since he seemed happy to do it, although his mustache was falling off, I agreed to take the tour. His clinic was small but well-maintained and after the tour I finally snapped out of my fascination to ask him for a photo, but he was already speaking to two children who seemed as enchanted with him as I was. It was disappointing but I didn’t feel so bad because I knew I would spend the next two hours taking pictures of the other 51 buildings in the Historical Village of Hokkaido.

Historical Village of Hokkaido Entrance

The Historical Village of Hokkaido is a 54-hectare outdoor museum that exhibits around 60 historical structures that were reproduced or relocated from all over Japan. The structures are grouped together under Fishing Village, Farm Village, Mountain Village, or Town, which was my favorite because I got to speak to a long-dead doctor, inspect the goods in really old grocery stores, and even pray in a church built in Kobe in the 1890s. Here are the buildings I liked the most in one of the coolest towns I have ever been to:
 

Historical Village of Hokkaido
Matsuhashi Family Residence. The red, tin roof is the prominent feature of the Matsuhashi Family Residence, so it’s strange that the thing that I remember most about this building is not the building at all but the old man who was leisurely playing Go on the front porch. He looked completely comfortable that I was convinced he actually owns the house.
Historical Village of Hokkaido
Hokkai Middle School. Hokkai Middle School was the first private junior high school in Hokkaido. I loved its western style and its wooden desks that reminded me of my primary school, but I think I wasn’t the only one who felt nostalgic because the students in attendance were all adults!
Historical Village of Hokkaido
Urakawa Church. Although it’s probably the least popular building in the museum – children were even scared to go inside – this was easily my favorite. I guess I would credit that to the four friendly people who were lounging inside and who talked to me about religion and the church although they probably (like most Japanese) didn’t have religion. One of the men even played a church hymn on the piano while the others sang the song in Japanese. I didn’t know the song and I didn’t understand the lyrics but it was very nice and I would’ve stayed longer if I had more time.
Historical Village of Hokkaido
Kurumasa Inn. I enjoyed walking inside the inn because it wasn’t crowded despite it’s proximity to the entrance of the museum. I also liked that I could go to the second floor, which I couldn’t do in other buildings. Like Watanabe’s Grocery and Takeoka’s Grocery, the second floor of the inn has two mannequins who looked creepier than Dr. Kondo but were too busy “talking” to offer a tour or even their tea.
Historical Village of Hokkaido
Dr. Kondo’s Clinic. If Dr. Kondo is not occupied, take the tour especially since his English was quite good. After, you can explore the building attached to the clinic, which is a traditional Japanese warehouse that Dr. Kondo used as a library.
Historical Village of Hokkaido
Oishi Sweet Shop. They give out free rakugan! ༼ つ ◕_◕ ༽つ
Historical Village of Hokkaido
Sapporo Agricultural College’s Hostel. It was late by the time I got to the hostel, which was a little scary. Its rooms with old beds and radiators, hallways with old colonial windows, and the small, dark room that may have been used by the matron were creepy, but they also added to the allure and the atmosphere of the building that kept me interested in walking around even though I expected to see a ghost (a real one this time) every time I stepped into another empty room.

After an hour of walking around Town, I had seen many buildings and talked to many people that Dr. Kondo’s tour seemed like a long time ago. I still wanted to explore the area more but at the same time I couldn’t wait to see what history and culture and people I would find in the Fishing, Farm, and Mountain Villages of the Historical Village of Hokkaido.

Historical Village of Hokkaido Police

 
HOURS
9:00 – 16:30 (ticket office closes at 16:00)
9:00 – 17:00 (from May to September)
The museum is closed from Dec. 30 to Jan. 03.

ADMISSION
Adult – 830 YEN (April-November), 680 YEN (December-March)
Student – 610 YEN (April-November), 550 YEN (December-March)
Groups with 10 or more people get a discount.

ACCESS
Take a train from JR Sapporo Station to Shinrin-Kōen Station.
Take a bus from the station to the Historical Village of Hokkaido.

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