Tuesday 13 March 2018

Hokkaido Pt 11: Hokkaido Historical Village

Visiting Hokkaido Historical Village was a great experience and one that I would gladly recommend as a 'Must Do Thing" in Hokkaido! This place which is listed as one of Hokkaido's top attractions is a window to Hokkaido's past. It is a place where you can get peeks and glimpses into Hokkaido's pioneering days dating back 100 years. Hokkaido Historical Village in its winter setting is also the epitome of that 'wintry charm' that I'd travelled this far to seek.

But is Hokkaido Historical Village really an old village? The answer is no and yes. 'No' because it was established not too long ago in 1983 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Hokkaido since its pioneering days. And 'Yes', because it features century old buildings that have been dismantled from all over Hokkaido and relocated at the site to be meticulously reassembled again.

Hokkaido Historical Village is built on a 54 hectare site in the midst of Nopporo Forest Park. It is quite far from Sapporo City but there is easy accessibility to it via subway lines and public buses.  It features 60 historical buildings that were built in the late 19th century and early 20th century, a period that corresponds to the Meiji and early Showa Eras.

The buildings are a mixture of Japanese and Western architectural styles. Not all the buildings are original buildings relocated from their original venues. Some, especially the stone buildings which are difficult to be dismantled are just exact replicas of the originals. 

The 60 buildings and all the surrounding monuments are like an open-air museum opened to the public for a fee. (Entrance fee is ¥800 for adults and ¥600 for children).

The village not only features buildings and monuments which you can look from the outside, but exhibits in the form of tools, furniture and gadgets used in the past are also displayed in some of these buildings. They are set up alongside figurines to depict a lifestyle of the past giving visitors an opportunity to walk back in time.

For  ¥250 you can ride the horse drawn sleigh which will bring you around the village. This was a common mode of transport used in the olden days. In summer, the sleigh is replaced by a horse drawn trolley but the entire village can also be explored on foot.

The village is divided into four sections namely the town, the farming village, the fishing village and the mountain village. The town occupies a squarish plot with 3 parrallel streets and 3 shorter streets perpendicular to them. The town buildings are lined up in neat rows but the buildings on the other sections are more randomly scattered.

This building is a replica of Kaitakushi Sapporo Headquarters of the Colonization that burned down in 1879. The original structure was made of wood but this rebuilt version is concrete. It is currently used as a Visitor's Centre.

This two storey wooden building was Asahikawa's oldest dyeing shop. 

This building used to be a buckwheat noodle shop in Otaru way back in the early 20th century. It was dismantled and brought to this site to be reconstructed.

Kurumasa Inn used to be a lodging for travellers until 1984.

In the background are buildings which used to be Yamamoto's Barber Shop (forefront), Shimauta Post Office (small building left to it) and Hokkai Middle School (green building at the rear).

This pink building is Urukakawa Subprefectural Government building.

In the background is Ryuunji Temple, a farm temple of the colonial period.

This structure standing on the Farm Village used to be a storehouse.

Much to my delight there were very few visitors at the time of my visit. Ronnie and I  literally had the whole village to ourselves. 

As we trod the path, I couldn't help but noticed how fine and clean the snow was. Humorously the thing that came to my mind was 'Ice Kacang', a sweet icy dessert that is popular in my home country. I was thinking how wonderful it would be if I could make 'Ice Kacang' from the snow here as I often lament about the lack of fineness in the ice that is shaved for the dessert.

I was also awed by the wintry landscape of the village. An entire village is apparently piled with tonnes of pure white snow making everything in its midst so prominent and enhanced, including my old winter cap that has a dull colour tone.

There are sleds which you can use for free near the main building. We had lots of fun here, pulling the sled to the top of a slope and sliding down at the mercy of gravity.

It is so awesome everywhere and I went a-snapping-happy!

The workers must have worked very hard to keep the streets and walking path passable. The snow has actually risen to a height exceeding one meter on the ground.

My visit to Hokkaido Historical Village is most unforgettable. The desire to indulge in snowy, winter landscape and a nice wintry ambiance has been fully satiated. As we chased after the bus when we exited the village,  I looked back to take this last picture of the old Sapporo Railway Station which is now the management office  of the village.

Getting To Hokkaido Historical Village
  • The nearest subway station to this attraction is Sapporo-Shin Station.
  • From the subway station head to Shin Sapporo Bus Terminal north lane which is just adjacent to it. 
  • Take JR Hokkaido Bus to Kaitaku-no-mura (Historical Village)
  • Take bus no 22 from Bus Stop no10
  • The ride costs ¥210 (as of time of this post)
  • The ride is about 15 minutes 
  • Get Off The last stop

About JR Hokkaido Bus
  • Always enter from the middle door and exit from the front door
  • Take ticket from the machine as you enter the bus (the machine is at the entrance door)
  • Prepare the exact amount of money to pay.
  • There are money changing machines beside the driver, (for both notes and coins)
  • Insert the accurate amount of bus fare into the paying machine beside the driver 
  • You are always under the watchful eyes of the driver who is also very helpful should you need assistance
Hokkaido Historical Village is open everyday except Mondays. They are open from 9am to 4.30pm and the entrance fee is ¥800 per adult.

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