If you have ever wondered what it might be like to walk the streets of Japan during the Meiji period (1868-1912), you would be hard pressed to find a better way than to visit Meiji-Mura for a day… or three! This place is huge, 1,000,000m2 to be exact…
The making of Meiji-Mura can be largely credited to two men: Dr. Yoshiro Taniguchi (1904-1979) and his schoolmate Mr. Moto-o Tsuchikawa (1903-1974). This was no small feat; seeing that these buildings would likely be destroyed due to the rapid expansion and other factors in Japan, Dr. Taniguchi went about collecting these buildings, dismantling them and rebuilding them in all of their former glory at a location not far from Nagoya.
When it comes to the subject of moving house (literally), I’m far from well-versed on the subject. Just moving my belongings is difficult enough! But it doesn’t take much to see that an incalculable effort has been made by the those who sourced, dismantled, transported and rebuilt these awe-inspiring structures to their original glory – this is truly one of mankind’s amazing accomplishments. These buildings are not only houses but post offices, town halls, prisons, hospitals, barracks, hotels and cathedrals etc etc etc. Not only that, but the ongoing maintenance and efforts to keep things in their original guise, yet still allow people to walk through and experience them, is most praiseworthy.
The outside influence of Western design and technology took hold very quickly during the Meiji period, as is evident in the structures throughout Meiji-Mura. That said, though, the Japanese were able to keep a distinct flavour of their own which culminates in a unique architectural style found only in Japan.
Efforts have skillfully been made to provide authentic-to-the-period gardens and to agree with the surrounding terrain and environment.
Not only buildings were collected but a plethora of antique machinery, fittings and other rare and valuable equipment. You can even board a working steam train or electrical car!
At the beginning of this post I mentioned that you would need a day or three to visit Meiji-Mura, one day really isn’t enough. In fact, I will be going back as I bought an annual ticket (which were very fairly priced). You can walk, wheel or bus/train hop around the village. At any rate, you will need more than a day to experience all the subtleties of Meiji-Mura, and even the obvious stuff for that matter, it really is big and detailed. Not everything is small in Japan…
This video should illustrate my point entirely.
So, if you are on the tourist trail and passing through Aichi-ken (or Nagoya), you would do well to pencil this in.