Teddy bears, cannabis, stained glass, classic cars, trick-art and toys are just a few eclectic examples of what can be seen in specialist museums in this popular getaway destination which is located up in Tochigi prefecture just over 20 kilometres north of Pyramid Onsen.
For someone with an interest in military things, I was primarily interested in visiting Nasu on a recent trip to see what has been billed as the only war museum in Japan. I have no idea of the validity in that statement as I always thought the Yushukan Museum next to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo was basically a war museum. I can only guess it’s got something more specifically to do with the exact wording of the places.
Anyway, despite the bus dropping me off right across the road from the museum (unbeknownst to me at the time!) I nearly walked past it as it just looked like a shabby building beyond a sizeable gravelly car park. The penny dropped a few minutes later that that was the museum I’d come to see.
I was aware beforehand that the entrance fee was Y1000 (Children:Y500). It’s more than I’d like to pay but when you compare it to other museums in the country it probably ain’t so bad. There is the feeling though that more people would check out this place if it was a few hundred yen cheaper.
You do get an A4 brochure too which gives great detail about the exhibits of what is basically one man’s personal collection. Sure, he has received donations to exhibit from many people but it is principally his collection. Some may even say that it feels more like a collection than a museum but I think that’s a bit harsh. It may all be presented in a fairly cluttered fashion, and the place could certainly do with a bit of clean but it does the job of creating an interesting place for one to explore and see all the exhibits up close.
For the record the brochure is only available in Japanese, and likewise for all the information in the museum too so without any details you are basically just left to look at the items and wonder about the story behind each exhibit.
The museum possesses a wide range of real, preserved exhibits starting off with the tanks and airplane engines outside. Not all is as it seems though as this tank (below) is not at all authentic but was just made for a music video featuring an idol girl group.
The museum consists in simple terms of the aforementioned outside area plus two fairly large rooms which are packed full of war history related materials including various weapons used both inside and outside of Japan during wars from various periods of Japanese history.
Among the dozens and dozens of weapons, flags, maps, helmets, uniforms, posters, photos and other military equipment are some life-sized dolls which really help visualise and communicate the truth of war to future generations.
Back outside and opposite the ticket office to the left side of the museum space is a small wooden hut filled with some lovely paintings of soldiers in action.
Nasu Senso Museum is located at 2725 Takaku Otsu, Nasu, Nasu-Gun, Tochigi. It takes just under 20 minutes from Kuroiso Station via Toya Bus. It’s open every day between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm. Entrance is 1000 yen.
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