Showa Mura

On December 31st, some friends took my mum and I to Showa Mura in Gifu Prefecture.  Sorry, that website is in Japanese and I can’t find any real information about it in English (unlike its slightly more popular cousin, Meiji Mura).  Showa Mura, as you would expect, celebrates the Showa period of Japanese history, 1926 – 1989.

Unfortunately it was a really cold day, and it seemed like a lot of the museum was probably closed for the winter.  In fact, by the time we decided to leave a snow storm had begun and it was like a completely different day!  Probably not the best day to go to an open-air museum, but it was still fun.

The museum has a character, of course:

Showa Mura's character - he was everywhere!

…who was dotted about the whole place, often munching on an onigiri!

The first thing we did at the museum was to make senbei, Japanese rice crackers.  That was fun and interesting.  Senbei are something I eat often, but never thought about how they’re made.

First you get these flat discs…

Making senbei

Then you put them on a kind of stick and heat them over the fire…

Making senbei

And before you know it they puff right up and you have senbei!

Kazue with senbei

After lunch, we caught a bit of a traditional Japanese “paper drama” (kamishibai):

Kamishibai (Japanese "paper drama")

This was interesting and reminded me a little of punch and judy, at least in style. The man in the red jacket was talking quite animatedly and he would change the picture (which was on a kind of paper board) to continue the story.

We saw some old buildings, including this school, which we went into to escape the cold a bit!


Unfortunately, not long after this, the snow storm began and we were forced to retreat!

New Year's decorations in the snow

The New Year’s decorations got a bit of a battering…

…and so did poor little onigiri man!

Frozen onigiri!

I think Showa Mura would be a really great place to visit with a family, on a lovely sunny day. It’s a shame there’s no information online about it in English, but if you go there, they do have an English pamphlet (of sorts) and a limited amount of English around the site.

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