Walking on Drift Ice
Nihon Minka-en is a charming open-air folk house museum located in the outskirts of Kawasaki City in Kanagawa Prefecture, and is home to 25 beautifully preserved Japanese buildings from the Edo Period which have been relocated from eastern Japan. There are a variety of buildings, from farmhouses to a shrine, a water mill and a kabuki stage, and many have been designated as Important Cultural Properties.
The museum provides wonderful insight into the lives of the people from the Edo Period, and gives visitors the chance to enjoy different regional architectural and cultural styles in one location.
What makes the museum particularly special is the fact that most of the buildings are open to visitors. Many feature simple mud floors and open hearths in the kitchen, while some have tools or machinery that would have been used. There is also an exhibition hall which covers how the buildings were designed and built, and what they were used for. While a visit in spring (cherry blossom season) or fall (when the leaves turn
red) is recommended, the museum holds seasonal events throughout the year, from festivals and craft workshops to folk storytelling and plays.
English tours of the museum are available (bookings must be made at least two weeks in advance through the museum website).
By public transportation
Nihon Minkaen is a 15-minute walk from Mukogaoka Yuen Station on the Odakyu Odawara Line (20 minutes from Shinjuku Station) or a 25-minute walk from Noborito Station on the JR Nambu Line (30 minutes from Kawasaki Station).
Hours: 9:30 to 17:00 (Mar. to Oct.), 9:30 to 16:30 (Nov. to Feb.)
Admission: 500 yen for adults
Airport: Haneda Airport
Mondays (except national holidays) and days following national holidays (except weekends) and from December 28 to January 4