This is quite a unique museum as visitors get a rare opportunity to walk through and experience ancient Edo period style architecture first hand. In my opinion this sure beats looking at objects and pictures and reading guide boards in a closed building. Sure, the latter still exists in part inside each of the 23 buildings but you are reading the information (in English as well as Japanese) within the walls of the traditional houses.
Nihon Minkaen can be found in Kawasaki City (7-1-1 Masugata, Tama-ku is the actual address) and Mukugaokayuen on the Odakyu line is the closest station. Asif and I took the 15 minute walk from the station (approximate time) a week ago to see these valuable historic creations which have been relocated from all over Japan.
This folk village has been reconstructed to feature a variety of buildings such as farmhouses, a water mill (above), a kabuki stage, a ferryman’s hut and an exhibition hall featuring your more common museum-type stuff displays.
The place seemed to be full (not literally) of people sitting around doing some water paintings of the more beautiful farmhouses which are the ones with the thatched roofs. There are also a few people in some of the houses doing stuff like sewing or boiling water and inviting you to sit around the lingering smoke. Not sure if they can actually cook you up some soba noodles or not as I declined the offers as it was too hot and I don’t like smokey places whatever kind of smoke it is.
I also got a bit frustrated with a women in one of the farm houses as she just laughed every time I spoke some basic Japanese phrases to her. Sure, she meant no ill feeling to me but it is annoying that some narrow-minded Japanese people laugh just because a foreigner is speaking (or trying to speak) their language. Naturally, it works both ways and we often get complimented for just saying a word or two in Japanese. Anyway, I digress….
Overall, this place is a cheap (500 yen entry), pleasant half day trip from the city offering an insight into Japan’s traditional architecture whilst the surrounding hills also provide a welcome nature break from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo city life.