Friday 26 October 2012

Day 574: Boso No Mura

The reconstructed rural idyll
The real 21st century thing
 I knew from last time I was in Narita that there was some kind of museum of domestic architecture nearby called boso no mura (meaning village in a forest, I think).  I'm interested in domestic architecture and wanted to spend my second day there. There's a range of rather fiddly options for getting there, but the one I chose, especially since it's a beautiful day, was to take the train one stop to the next village then walk about 2km.  It couldn't have worked out better - the countryside is full of tiny backroads and paths, more flowers and butterflies than I would have expected at this time of year, bright sunshine and, especially, crystal clear air. It turned out that learning the hiragana proved useful already because the signs were a lot more helpful than the map I printed out.  See, that says boso no mura!

That's a little cemetery in the background, at a crossroads.

In the end the biggest risk wasn't getting lost, but getting distracted by the many interesting detours I could have taken on the way to the museum. I am thinking that although Japan is surely THE most expensive of Asian countries this is surely related to the fact that you can potter around in it without getting hassled to death.  That's quite a big compensation for doing without a bunch of things.

This is a burial mound I passed on the way.  It turns out there are about 100 in the immediate area but this is one of the largest

The boso no mura museum isn't exactly on the international tourist trail.  It's the kind of place where you find school field trips in the week and family outings at the weekend.  You can get tea and cakes there, see how your great-granny lived, just after a really thorough spring clean anyway, and go for a woodland walk among the ancient burial mounds afterwards.  Still, it's the ideal place for tourists who are usually interested to see the traditional lifestyles of the country they're visiting while having a good time.

Looking towards the reconstructed merchant's street at boso no mura.

The farmhouse kitchen with views into the living area and workroom
View across the living room towards one of the tatami rooms, in what I imagine was quite a fancy family house.

Altogether different and much older style of accomodation built in a sunken pit with a tent of thatch over it.

Miniature terracotta army outside one of the burial mounds.  After seeing the big one in Xian it was an interesting association.
 I returned to Narita more or less the way I came and went to find some barbecued eel and sake.