A village of thatch-roofed farmhouses you can go inside! You don’t have to go to Okayama to see traditional Japanese houses – the Nihon Minka-en is a beautiful natural park set up like a village, with 23 traditional thatch-roofed farmhouses that have been lovingly moved here from all over Japan. They’re all built without nails, using carpentry and thatching methods that have been used for hundreds of years.
If you have children along, ask for the special stamp page when you buy your tickets – at each house, there is a little wooden “shrine” where kids can stamp a picture of that house on their sheet.
Note: This is an all-day trip to really do it right, and quite a bit of hilly walking. It’s about a 15-20 minute walk to the entrance (flat ground), then a good 2 hours of walking (up hills) inside if you stop and read about each house. There are rest stops with benches and sometimes picnic tables every few houses, and halfway through (around House #10) there is a vending machine for drinks and a restaurant that sells lunch (noodles, etc.)
Hours: 9:30 – 16:00
Open: Six days a week, closed Mondays, the day after a holiday, and from Dec 29 – Jan3. Open on all other holidays.
Admission: Adults:¥500, Children: ¥300
Nearby destinations: Harajuku, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Yoyogi Park
And while you’re there, read a novel set in Tokyo!
“A genuinely gripping crime thriller which wrong-foots and perplexes the reader throughout, drawing us in emotionally . . . Highly recommended.”