Learn about Ainu culture at an outdoor museum in Shiraoi, where thatched-roof houses and a village settlement are reproduced.
The Ainu Museum is an outdoor museum that allows visitors to encounter the culture of Hokkaido’s indigenous people, the Ainu. At the museum, thatched-roof homes, called “chise,” form a settlement that seems to blend in with nature along the shore of Lake Poroto. Here, visitors can get a taste of what life was like in the past by witnessing activities such as the production of smoked salmon above sunken hearths, and traditional craft-making using Ainu patterns. The museum also offers a valuable opportunity to encounter traditional Ainu folk dance, which has been designated as an Important Cultural Property of Japan (performance held several times per day). The dances are performed in beautiful, connected-pattern costumes, with a unique musical accompaniment that uses traditional instruments to express variety of emotions and oneness with nature. Visitors can see brown bears and dogs native to Hokkaido, and participate in various cultural activities.
December 29–January 5
Admission fee for Adults: ¥800, High school students: ¥600, Junior high: ¥500
*Separate fees apply for participation in certain activities
¥300 per day
*Renewal of the museum into Hokkaido’s first national museum, the “National Museum of Ainu Culture” (tentative name) has been decided for the year 2020.