Blackcabbit (aka. Dionnie Takahashi) is an illustrator living in Japan. She loves drawing whimsical animal characters, as well as doing handmade crafts to beautify the world she lives in.
Last month, we brought the kids to Boso no Mura (房総のむら/Boso Village) in Inba-gun, Chiba Prefecture. Visiting the open-air museum is like traveling back to Japan in the olden days. The residences, shops and farmhouses are reproduced to look like buildings from Edo and Meiji Period.
What I like most about this place, is that they allow visitors to learn about Japanese culture and history through hands-on activities and experiences. They offer over 350 different types of workshop in a year. See examples (in Japanese).
At the Merchant street, which is a reproduction of a typical commercial street in the past, they have shophouses that are open for visitors to try their hands at traditional techniques for various handicrafts as well as local food preparation.
Usually, the classes requires prior reservation. However, there are activities that can be applied on the spot (first-come-first-served basis). These are listed on the noticeboard nearest to the entrance/ticket office. Activities that were available for us on that day were: tea ceremony; Tokoroten (jelly strips); Chiyogami Rousoku (colored pattern paper candle making); Mon-kiri-gata (paper cutting), coasters (either indigo leaf designed or a tatami-typed). To take part, just go to the designated shophouse.If I did not have my restless little ones with me, I’d have spent my entire day attending classes for papier mache, kokeshi wooden doll painting, colorful decorative futomaki-zushi (thick sushi), making buckwheat noodle, Ukiyo-e wood printing… (Okay, I will wait until my kids are in elementary schools and do these classes together). Gosh, there are just too many activities to choose from.
For further details, please check out the activity schedule on the Boso Village website (in Japanese).
Apart from craft-making or cooking classes, Boso Village also holds farming-related events about planting and harvesting crops of all sorts, especially Chiba’s specialties – peanuts and sweet potatoes. The staffs will share their wisdom by teaching traditional farming methods and tools.My husband had a great time trying out the Takeuma (竹馬/stilt walking), while Fireball tried the Take-pokkuri (竹ぽっくり/bamboo clogs) making POK-POK sounds all over the place. LOL.
Actually, Boso Village is a really large park, more grounds to cover than we expected. Primarily, it has two areas: (1) The Crafts-Making Area, which includes the merchant street, a samurai residence, farmhouses, watermill and village kabuki stage. (2) The Fudoki no Oka Area (風土記の丘エリア), where visitors can learn about history and nature, includes archaeological artifact museum and reproductions of ancient tomb, a tomb mound, pit dwellings, residences, a school.
Adults: 300 yen
High school/College students: 150 yen
Senior citizens 65 years or older, and junior high school age and under: FREE
Park Opening Hours:
9 am – 4:30 pm / Closed on Mondays.
1028 Ryukakuji, Sakae-machi, Inba-gun, Chiba Prefecture 〒270-1506
See access to Boso Village’s official website.
(English is available but information may be limited).
The archeological museum was the only place we visited in the Fudoki-no-Oka area. In the red brick building, we saw a model of the burial mound and excavated artifacts such as Haniwa (clay figurines), remains from the primal & ancient times, as well as a skeletal replica of a Naumann elephant.