Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Pioneer for a Day, Sapporo-style

21st October, 2003 - After a late night in Moiwa-yama, we headed off the next day to the Historical Village of Hokkaido (Kaitaku no Mura)...Actually, T-chan just calls this the pioneer village. This is one of those living museums where you get to experience life back in Meiji Period Hokkaido. It's a long drive by car, and about 1 hour by public transport from Sapporo Station by train (shown below) which takes about 460 yen. After you get off the Shinrinkin Kouen station, there's about a half hour walk. You can also take the JR bus (to Kaitakunomura) from Sapporo Station.

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 I'd suggest getting there by car.... and for this reason, it's most probably focussed purely on local Sapporo residents rather than "tourists" per se. There's a lot of things to see here... but not much in English. The museum is separated into four areas... residential, agricultural, mountainous and fishing. Cost is about 830yen.

The first thing you see is the re-located original Sapporo Station as the grand entrance to the Park, originally constructed in 1908 it was in place until about 1952. It's a grand provincial style station - a fitting front gate to the park.

Alongside the train station (front gate) is the Development Commission Headquarters Building (like the pre-cursor to the Old Hokkaido Government Building) was first constructed in 1873.

The horse drawn cart is a "icon" of the park (yes there's a horse out the front)...but as you might have guessed, the horse had an easy morning! Actually, being a Thursday, there was almost no one around during the main part of the day. It wasn't so much a living display as a ghost town...

And the ghosts had a particularly solid feel... like some archeological dig of a Japanese Pompeii, the inhabitants of the town forever caught in-between a moment of time. Another mystery...for some reason, all of the pioneers had really bad hair (actually - this may not have been far from the truth).

And sometimes it feels like we're the ghosts walking around this strange silent place.

The Watanabe General Store... has everything an aspiring pioneer could ask for. Hmmm - now where's the thermal underwear? There's lots of shops and businesses, which you can enter and walk around. I'm not sure if it's normal, but there was no one there to provide explanation, and it felt weird - like sneaking into someone's house after they'd gone out for the day...

There are some nice buildings located around the town (which measures about 50+ hectares).

Beyond the buildings, there's a nice feel to the open-air museum, being on the verge of Nopporo Forest Park, there's a beautiful presence in Autumn...

The golden leaves provided a bit of colour in the absence of visitors...

And if nothing else, you can enjoy the walk around the precincts

The wooded walks are refreshing and there's sweet little moments to be found all the way through the forest.

And at the end of the day, there's always a friendly bout of Sumo to get your appetite in order...

And you might need to take a moment to reflect upon the truth of things at Ryuun-ji... a Jodo sect temple completed in 1893.

It was a fun day at the Historical Village... and whilst it was very quiet (especially in the morning), I can imagine that weekends might get a bit busy. There was a lot more than I could include in this post, and as such, if you've got an interest in the late 19th century Meiji period Japan in Hokkaido, it might be worth the effort. It's worth going, especially in Autumn, but perhaps only if you have your own transport.
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