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“Like a little Japanese Colonial Williamsburg...” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Nihon Minkaen Folk House Museum

Nihon Minkaen Folk House Museum
7-1-1 Masugata,Tama-ku, Kawasaki 214-0032, Kanagawa Prefecture
+81 44-922-2181
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Ranked #2 of 49 things to do in Kawasaki
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Attraction details
Tokyo, Japan
Top Contributor
104 reviews 104 reviews
56 attraction reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
“Like a little Japanese Colonial Williamsburg...”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2013

...but nicer! As others have mentioned, it's 21 minutes on the Odakyu Line from Shinjuku in Tokyo. The local, section semi-express, semi-express and the express all stop the the station: Mukugaoka Yuen. The rapid express and the Tama Express don't, so be careful! Admission is just 500 yen, and well worth it! Very picturesque in any season, rain or shine. There are always a couple demonstrations going on, traditional holiday decorations, and sometimes even a small kabuki performance in the theater there. Plenty of good toilets and drink machines discreetly placed here and there, and even a restaurant!

Visited January 2013
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57 reviews from our community

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English first
Singapore, Singapore
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“great for architecture buffs”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2012

this museum is only half an hour away from shinjuku (plus a 15 minute walk), but offers excellent respite from the city. the houses here are from different parts of japan and are grouped by region, giving the visitor an idea of what the villages would have looked like. each exhibit is accompanied by a write up on the history of the house and the family that used to inhabit it. there are also demonstrations by volunteers of traditional crafts like basket weaving and such. other volunteers kept a fire for heating inside some of the houses and would explain the feature of the house to visitors. english support was great and some volunteers spoke english. there's also a soba restaurant inside one of the houses with reasonable prices. note that the museum is on a hill so you would have to walk upslope for most of your visit unless you start at the rear entrance

Visited September 2012
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Pearl City, Hawaii
20 reviews 20 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
“An educational trip back in time”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 11, 2012

My husband and I visiited the Japanese Open-Air Folk Museum in the afternoon enroute to Tokyo and enjoyed it. The site has a collection of 25 folk houses dating from the 17th to 19th century that were disassembled in locations throughout Japan and carefully reconstructed in exact likeness at this site. All are national treasures of Japan or the area they came from. Each house showcases different construction materials and styles designed to suit the weather conditions of its location. When we visited, there were volunteers on site threshing straw, reroofing the thatched roofs, and cooking in the hearths inside the homes. It felt like we were taking a trip back in time.

What struck me the most was how hard it must have been to live in that time. No heating or lighting other than the one hearth in the middle of the house that fills the house with smoke. Living on the 2nd floor of the house, above their horses (and which I assume were pretty smelly). We particularly liked that the story of the owners was described for each house.

The houses are located on a peaceful forested trail. We had the feeling like we were taking a stroll in the woods. It was a pleasant and unexepected reprieve from the city. At the entrance, there is an exhibit hall. It explains why the house constructions differ and how they were deisgned to suit their particular area.

My husband and I enjoyed our visit and would recommend it as an early afternoon trip. The site takes about 3-4 hours to visit in total. The museum's English website has a lot of pictures and useful information:

Visited February 2012
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Penang, Malaysia
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Interesting open air museum”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2010

I went as a side trip on the return journey from Kamakura back to Tokyo. I had to change trains at Musa shikosugi; then to Noborito. Upon reaching there, I was too tired to walk the estimated 20 mins to the park so I took the Odakyu rail one stop to Mukogaoka-yuen. Didn’t cost much but still had to walk another 12 mins!

Reached the park at 3.45 pm. Looked deserted; maybe it was near closing time (5 pm). It is quite a big museum sprawled over a park by a small hill. There are about 23 old houses laid out in an organised manner (what wouldn’t be in Japan?) so it was a breeze to go through them all in about 1 hr.

In short, interesting if you are into culture and anthropology; but I wouldn’t go a second time. The long trip does not justify it; unless you are coming from/to Tokyo. There isn’t much else to see or do in that town, as far as I know.

Coming back I took the direct Odakyu train (think it was 300 yen) back to Shinjuku; which took about 45 min.

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