We can all agree that 2020 has been a tough year for a lot of people. Have you dreamt of escaping the present day and taking a trip to an era with a completely different way of life that’s full of the beauty of history? A short distance from Nagoya city, you’ll find the Museum Meiji-mura―an outdoor museum that gives you an experience that is almost like a trip to the Meiji era (1868-1912).
Meiji-mura is an open-air museum where numerous Important Cultural Properties preserved from the Meiji era (1868-1912) have been relocated. The Meiji era is surely one of the important periods in Japan’s history. Following a period of national isolation, Japan shifted towards incorporating culture and institutions from Europe and America, leading to civilization and new technology that would form the basis for modern Japan, something which no one at the time could ever have imagined. Here at this open-air museum, you will be able to experience the Meiji era’s architecture, food, transportation methods, and more.
Getting Into the Mood
Even under this challenging situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, Meiji-mura still has a lot to offer, with careful measures taken to ensure safety and prevent transmission of the virus. A highlight is the steam locomotives and trams from the Meiji era for visitors to travel across the site on. This is surely a treasure trove for vehicle lovers, and a unique experience you won’t find anywhere else.
*Steam locomotives may be suspended.
*The number of passengers per vehicle is limited to prevent crowding.
Grab yourself a ticket at the station and hop on board these classic vehicles for a premium view of autumn foliage amidst a backdrop of historical architecture. You’ll also save time to allow for more exploration of all Meiji-mura has to offer!
To make the most of your experience, why not dress in clothing that differs from your daily life? At the Haikara Costume House, you will be able to dress up in a hakama and spend your day in traditional attire with the “Stroll Plan (with a charge)”. Alternatively, if you prefer to be an elegant mademoiselle or monsieur, opt for the “Photograph Plan (with a charge)”, where you can put on a Meiji era-style dress or frock coat and impress your family and friends with some aristocratic photos at the costume house.
* The “Stroll Plan” is only available to the first 20 customers each day.
* The “Stroll Plan” is not available to those under 150 cm in height.
*Please use your own camera or mobile phone for photographs.
Unfortunately, the service is currently suspended due to COVID-19, but be sure to put it on your bucket list for when it is safe again! Meanwhile, feel free to wear your own kimono or anything that goes with the atmosphere for a more immersive experience. And of course, you’ll want to take advantage of the numerous photogenic Cultural Properties like the Marquis Tsugumichi Saigo House and the Imperial Hotel (main entrance hall) by taking lots of photos to show off to any friends still stuck in the current day!
Snacks and Restaurants
Worked up an appetite? Throughout Meiji-mura, you’ll find restaurants as well as toothsome light meals that you can nibble on the way to your next destination. Be sure to stop by the ”Shokudoraku’s Korotsuke” shop to try their delectably crisp fried korotsuke (croquettes). If you’re into Japanese literature, or simply love food, you might have noticed that the korotsuke resembled and rearranged based on the recipes described in “Shokudoraku”―a best-selling novel and foodie bible from the Meiji era. With carefully selected ingredients, the traditional taste that has been passed down from the Meiji era will surely delight you with its deliciousness.
*Available Matcha Tea Set and Japanese sweets vary by season
If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll want to head straight for the “Kyoto-style Sweets Cafe-Nakai Tea Room” for the matcha set consisting of a cup of matcha tea and traditional Japanese sweets that’s sure to satiate your cravings! History lovers will surely enjoy the quintessentially Japanese ambiance of this Registered Tangible Cultural Property.
At Meiji’s Western-style restaurantーOmurice & Grill Roman-Tei, you’ll find nostalgic dishes that were typically served in a Western-style restaurant at the time, including omurice (omelet rice) and hayashi rice (hashed-beef rice). My personal favorite has to be the hayashi rice featuring beef and onions in a red wine and demi-glace sauce―a typical Western-influenced Japanese dish that is still popular nowadays. If you’re not a fan of this type of cuisine, don’t worry―there are many more restaurants and cafes around Meiji-mura to be discovered.
A Souvenir for Your Future Self
Before you leave, don’t forget to stop by the post office near the Shimbashi Factory of the Japan National Railways (the Machinery Hall). Amongst all these souvenirs at Meiji-mura, what caught my eye the most was the special “Heartful Letter” service where you can send a letter to a designated address that will be delivered ten years later to yourself or your loved ones. Write down things that made you happy, your worries, or your hopes―there is no more touching a souvenir than a memory preserved.
What are You Waiting for?
Meiji-mura also offers special packages to make your trip easier. A special discount ticket including a Meitetsu (Nagoya Railroad) bus ticket to Meiji-mura and admission ticket to Meiji-mura is available. For more information, please check out Nagoya Railroad’s official website. So why not take a trip back in time to the Meiji era, where you’re sure to forget your everyday worries?
- 1 Uchiyama, Inuyama-shi, Aichi Prefecture, 480-0000
- It is approximately 20 minutes by bus from the east exit of Meitetsu Inuyama Station.
It is approximately 80 minutes by short-distance express bus from Meitetsu Bus Center.
*Hours vary depending on the season. Please confirm the details on the official website
Please confirm the details on the official website
- Adult 2,000 yen
Senior (aged 65 or over) and university student 1,600 yen
High school student 1,200 yen
Junior high school student 700 yen
Elementary school student 700 yen
*Senior (age 65 or over), university students, and high school students
may be asked to present ID to verify their age.