Apart from exploring UNESCO Heritage sites, part of my travel is also to learn and understand the history of the particular region / country that I am visiting. Therefore, when visiting Sapporo, one not to be missed is the Historical Village of Hokkaido (開拓の村, Kaitaku no Mura).
Historical Village of Hokkaido (開拓の村) is an open air museum located in the suburbs of Sapporo which exhibits over 60 typical buildings from all over Hokkaido. These carries the era when Hokkaido’s development was carried out on a large scale, dating from the Meiji and Taisho Periods of the 1868 to 1926. The open air museum covers four different sections, a town, fishing village, farm village and a mountain village.
Located in the Nopporo Forest Park, outside of Sapporo, our journey started by taking the JR train from Sapporo Station to Shinrin Koen Station (frequent departure and fare starts from 260 yen). From the station, we took a short 5 minute bus ride (there are bus timing between 1 – 2 buses per hour and the fare is at 210 yen) to the final destination, Historical Village of Hokkaido (開拓の村).
Hours & Entrance Fees to Historical Village of Hokkaido (開拓の村)
- Hours : 9:00 to 17:00 (until 16:30 from October to April) – Admission ends 30 minutes before closing
- Closed on : Mondays from October through April (or Tuesday if Monday is a national holiday) / December 29 to January
- Entrance Fees : 830 yen (680 yen during the winter) adults
- Note : Admission is free for jr high school students and younger, senior citizens age 65 and above as well as handicapped person
- Website : Historic Village of Hokkaido (開拓の村)
Upon arriving at the entrance, we started our exploration with the Town section which is the bulk of the Historical Village of Hokkaido (開拓の村). Here, we see many interesting and learned about the significant history of the development of Hokkaido into the level it is at today.
One of the few interesting building that I liked is the Kurumasa Inn where until 1984, was a flourished inn as a lodging for travelers or a place to wait while waiting for trains. It is a 2 storey wooden structure located originally in Asahikawa that was build in 1919.
Another interesting building is the Police Box at Minami 1-Jo, a red brick police box that kept watch over the town until 1971. This single storey brick building, build in Sapporo in 1911, is unique as it features an exceptional Japanese-style roof.
Sake, Japan unique rice wine…. how not to check out Takei Sake Brewery, a partial 2-storey wooden structure build in Toman Village back in 1886. Takei Sake Brewery is famous for their “Matsu no Tsuyu” and “Tama no Kawa” sake that were brewed in the Brewery.
Interesting history learned from Shimauta Post Office, a 2-storey wooden structure that opened in 1886 in Setana, herring fishing was flourishing during the period and the post office was used for money remittance by the fisherman who came from Honshu to Hokkaido to work.
What makes the visit more interesting? It is the snow that starts to fall as we were enjoying our exploration. Coming from a humid non-4 season country, one can imagine how excited we were!
As it was winter where the day were shorter, by 4 pm, the sky were already dark. How unfortunate as we needed to rush through the remaining of the interesting Village which resulted in us not being able to fully explore the place.
The memorable exploration @ Historical Village of Hokkaido (開拓の村) ended early evening with us taking the bus back to Shinrin Koen Station where we took the JR train back to Sapporo Station.
Note : For those that have extra time, Historical Museum of Hokkaido (開拓記念館, Kaitaku Kinenkan) is located just about 10 minutes walk from Historical Village of Hokkaido (開拓の村). The place documents the history of Hokkaido’s development. The museum has eight areas that chronologically cover the prefecture’s history from its first occupation by humans about 20,000 years ago to the post war years after 1945 and into the future, hence it is worth exploring.