Hokkaido Kaitaku no Mura is a the only chance to research Japanese history and earn some otaku credits.
During her recent travels around Hokkaido Prefecture, our Japanese-speaking reporter Saga Togashi visited the site of the worst bear attack in Japanese history. However, her journey wasn’t all about the battle between humans and wild animals as she also stopped by Hokkaido Kaitaku no Muraor Hokkaido Pioneering Village in Sapporo.
The open-air museum has more than 50 historic buildings, relocated to or reconstructed on site, and guests can go in and explore almost all of them. In addition to history buffs, Kaitaku no Mura has recently seen increased interest from anime and manga fans, as several of the buildings have served as filming locations in historical adventure series Golden Kamuy.
As a huge fan of the series, Saya was hoping to see all that Kaitaku no Mura had to offer. However, it turns out to be a very big place. So if you find yourself running out of time while you’re there, here are their top five picks.
5. Kondo Clinic
Hokkaido is Japan’s northernmost prefecture, and this clinic was built in 1900 when physician Seikichi Kondo moved from the port city of Hakodate to the smaller town of Furubira.
Examination, operating and waiting rooms are located on the first floor of the wooden building, and the doctor’s living room is on the second floor.
The interior is amazingly well preserved, as if time had just stood still and frozen everything in the state it was a century ago. It is also an exact match for the clinic in which Golden Kamuys Kano Ienaga is being treated for her injuries.
4. Yamamoto Hair Salon
Originally located on a hiking trail leading to a Shinto shrine, this barber shop went through several owners after being founded by a Mr. Yamamoto.
“Yamamoto” will ring immediately Golden Kamuy Fans, as there is a barber shop in the series with the exact same name.
▼ It looks peaceful here, but a fierce battle ensued between Tamotsu and Umakichi.
3. Urakawa Government Building
This building was originally constructed in 1919 when the Japanese government established facilities to manage the developing network of new communities being established in Hokkaido. Although you can only access the first floor in some of Kaitaku no Mura’s buildings, you can go up here.
to Golden Kamuy However, fans will recognize the building more as a model for the Sapporo World Hotel, which is the setting for the series’ “Murder Hotel” arc.
2. Hirosue Photo Studio
This is a reconstruction of a photo studio that operated in Iwamizawa from the Taisho era (which ended in 1926) to 1958. Architecturally, like many buildings designed during this period, it is a mixture of Western and Japanese elements.
The first floor appears to have been a living space, with the second floor’s sloping roof and abundant sunlight being the photo space, as seen in Golden Kamuy if some of the performers let themselves be photographed there.
1. Residence of the Fukushi family
Narutoyo Fukushi was a shipbuilder, interpreter, meteorologist and surveyor and this was his family home from the mid-Meiji period (1868-1912) to 1922. Inside Golden Kamuybut it is the hideout of Toshizo Hijikata and his allies.
That concludes Saya’s top 5, but again, she recommends seeing as much of Kaitaku no Mura as possible, with some of the other highlights of her visit being the soba shop (which still serves noodles if you’re hungry)…
…and the ryokan inn.
But rather than trying to cram in more than you can comfortably see, it’s best to spend as much time as you like in each building, as you can soak up decades and decades of history.
Hokkaido Kaitaku no Mura / 北海道開拓の村
Address: Hokkaido, Sapporo-shi, Atsubetsu-ku, Atsubetsu-cho, Konopporo 50-1
Admission 800 yen (adults), 600 yen (high school students/students), free for middle school students and younger children
Open 9am-5pm (May-September), 9am-4:30pm (October-April)
closed on Monday
Photos © SoraNews24
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