SEE HOKKAIDO: Historical Village of Hokkaido, Pt. II

It was getting late and I knew that most of the guests had already left because I was surrounded by old buildings, silence, and no one else. It was a little disconcerting, but the open fields of the Farm Village before me and the tall trees of the Mountain Village beyond that made me feel like I was in a part of the Shire – or maybe wide open spaces just remind me how teeny tiny I am.

Historical Village of Hokkaido

The Farm Village is one of the four areas of the Historical Village of Hokkaido. Like the Mountain Village and the Fishing Village, and unlike the Town, it does not have a lot of buildings, actors, and free food. I think that the best feature of the villages is how they actually make you feel like you’re standing by the seaside, surrounded by farmlands, and lost in a mountain. The environment, combined with old architecture, is what makes these villages memorable.

Historical Village of Hokkaido
Aoyama Family’s Structures for Herring Fishing (Fishing Village). The Aoyama Family Structures are seven buildings clustered together beside the lake. The main building is the most popular because they give away free tea there. Only kidding. That’s just me. Aside from the small kitchen where tea is brewed and given out to every guest, the main building has rooms that were used by the family and the fishermen who came to Hokkaido to work in the 1900s. The auxiliary facilities were storehouses for nets and rice, but there’s not a lot to see so most guests don’t even bother to walk a few meters to look inside.
Historical Village of Hokkaido
Ogawa Family Dairy Barn (Farm Village). The Dairy Barn was obviously not in good shape but even in that state it was a beautiful view on the field of green grass beyond the wooden fence. There wasn’t a lot to do except to admire it but it was one of my favorite buildings in the museum.
Historical Village of Hokkaido
Settler’s Thatched Hut (Farm Village). It took some courage to walk through a path in a desolate, woody place on my own to get into a thatched hut that might have been housing a 100-year-old ghost. But I was determined to see the first shelter ever built by settlers in Hokkaido, so I bravely trudged on, forced myself to look inside without imagining said ghost, quickly took a picture, and left without looking back.
Historical Village of Hokkaido
Wood-cutter’s Shanty (Mountain Village). It takes an even more courageous person (which I’m not) to go inside a big, empty building in the middle of a forest under a darkening sky. Whereas the settler’s hut was isolated, the shanty was surrounded by trees that seemed intent on scaring me. If the settler’s hut had a ghost, the shanty probably had twenty. With axes. Sure, it was interesting to see their living arrangements (gettit? (〃 ̄ω ̄〃ゞ) but the emptiness and the dim lighting creeped me out so I contented myself with looking in from the safety of the doorway.

By the time I got away from the shanty and the mocking stares of the trees, the Town was almost empty and the inn, the grocery stores, and the clinic were closing for the day. The 54-hectare outdoor museum felt even wider, emptier, and quieter, and I couldn’t help but feel sad because, despite spending almost 3 hours going around the museum, I wanted to go around once more so I could again feel the wonder and the chill in seeing a part of Japan and history.

Historical Village of Hokkaido

 
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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