Hida no Sato (Hida Folk Village) is a wonderful open air museum situated on the outskirts of Takayama, a delightful town in the mountains of central Honshu, north of Nagoya. The site consists of around 30 old buildings from all over the mountains that were dismantled and then rebuilt here in the 1970’s. The buildings are mainly large farmhouses of various types and most are over 100 years old.
The old buildings have been re-erected as a small village in a rural landscape
The Hida region of Gifu Prefecture is subject to heavy snowfall (often up to two metres) and the different styles of architecture show alternative approaches to dealing with this climate. In the north of the region the farmers built using steeply sloped roofs so that snow would slide off. This is the “gassho-zukuri” (praying hands) style of building used at the nearby Shirakawa-go village that is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Other areas built houses with very strong, low-pitched roofs so that people could climb up and shovel off the excess snow.
The “gassho-zukuri” farmhouses were built with steep thatched roofs
Other buildings have shallow-pitched roofs where snow could be easily cleared
Visitors are able to wander around and enter the buildings. Inside are many of the everyday tools and artifacts used by their original inhabitants. Each structure also functions as a museum for one aspect of traditional mountain life, including weaving, house building and repair, cultivation, transport, etc.
The houses are packed with many original artifacts
This building displayed many examples of looms and other fabric processing equipment
Models are also used to show house construction techniques and such things as farm layouts.
A model showing the construction of a “gassho-zukuri” house
The immense size of many buildings is very impressive. Large extended families would have all lived together under one roof.
Many of the farmhouses are very large spaces
Buildings also feature space for the domestic animals alongside the people
Hido no Sato even features an original village well that has been painstakingly reconstructed on the site.
A village well
A view down the well showing the handmade wooden buckets
A fascinating old photo showing one of the buildings before it was moved
Hida no Sato is a very peaceful and picturesque place to visit
Some old thatched roofs have developed into interesting little ecosystems
The village even has a couple of little rice paddies that were developing a nice crop when we visited
This is a wonderful place to visit and certainly proved much more interesting than we had anticipated. In one part of the site visitors can watch traditional craftspeople at work and buy their wares.
The doll is called “Sarubobo” and is a traditional symbol of Takayama