Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Chiba Prefectural Boso-no Mura

The Chiba Kun Ambassadors had our first tour four days after the appointment ceremony. The destination was Chiba Prefectural Boso-no Mura (千葉県立房総のむら) or Boso Village, a unique museum that reproduces a Japanese scenery of 150 years ago at the Boso area. Here, visitors get to learn about the history and deepen their understandings of traditional skills and lifestyles in Boso area not only by the exhibitions but also by their own experiences. Among the interesting attractions in this village are old samurai residences, farmhouses and old buildings.

This place is basically divided into two areas, namely "Fudoki-no-Oka area" (風土記の丘エリア), where visitors can learn about history and nature from the many excavated artifacts from tombs and ancient temples in Chiba prefecture,  and "Furusato-no-Wazataiken area" (ふるさとの技体験エリア), an area where visitors can experience first-hand various types of Japanese culture such as traditional crafts and events that have been passed down through the generations.

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Chiba Prefectural Assembly Parliament.

This building is the Chiba Prefectural Assembly Parliament, which is currently used as the administration building for Boso Village. It was built in 1880 and used until 1911 as the second generation assembly parliament. The current building is reproduced based on the photographs of the same building taken at that time. The design of the building is a fusion between the eastern and western architecture. The roof has a unique Japanese influence, while the veranda and windows are designed to resemble the western-style.

We only got to explore the Furusato-no-Wazataiken area during the tour this time, mainly due to the tight schedule. This area is mainly divided into two parts - "Shouka-no-Machinami" (商家の街並) or "merchants street" and "Bukeyashiki & Nouka-no-yousu" (武家屋敷・農家の様子), which translates "Samurai residence and farmhouses".

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The shops, such as soba restaurant and rice shop, line up on both sides of the commercial street.

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You can tell that this is a soba restaurant based on the soba-like curtain that hangs down the window.

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Although most of these shops are made of wood, there are some shops which were built with concrete, as one of the preventive measures against fire.

Machinami (街並) is a reproduction of a typical commercial street consisting of 16 shops, an information office, a guardian deity for children, the town square and Inari shrine, modeled after those found in Katori city (formerly Sawara city). These buildings were commonly found from the last years of the Edo period to the early years of Meiji period.

A short walk along this street gives a feel of bustling town market through the demonstrations done at most of the shops.

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The fire watchtower, standing at more than seven meters high. Whenever a fire occurs in the village, the bell will be rung to warn the villagers.

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Anyone knows why visitors are not allowed to walk along the centre of the street? Make your guess in the comment box, alright?

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A paper shop (紙の店), called Heguri-ya (平群屋), where visitors can try on the origami (折り紙) and kami-ningyo (紙人形) crafts.

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Sakura-do (佐倉堂) is a pharmacy (薬の店), where several types of traditional medicine prescriptions and equipments are displayed.

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Inside the shop, there are many signboards written with the names of the medicine, a main characteristics for a pharmacy in those days.

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Woodwork factory (木工所), called Nagara-ya (長柄屋). There are many types of wooden clogs displayed on the shelves inside this shop.

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Sugidama (杉玉) or sakabayashi (酒林), a ball made of the leaves of Japanese cedar, which is usually hung outside the liquor and fuel shop (酒・燃料の店) 
called Shimousa-ya (下総屋) to indicate that new sake has been produced at the store.

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Chiyogami (coloured pattern paper) candle making (千代紙ろうそく) is the making of beautiful candle by clipping the patterns from colourful chiyogami paper 
and paste them on the cone shaped candle and finish it by coating the surface with wax.

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Inari shrine (稲荷の社), the Shinto deity for rice. Inari God has been worshiped as the God of food by the people since the olden days.

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A group photo of all the Chiba Kun Ambassadors at the Machinami street.

Bukeyashiki (武家屋敷) represents middle-class samurai's warriors residence of Sakura clan in the last years of Edo period. Bukeyashiki of Sakura clan is characterised by the construction on high premises. 

The main building is modeled on Takei's house in Miyakoji (宮小路) in Sakura city. It consists of guest's room called genkan (玄関) and zashiki (座敷), and family's rooms that include ima (居間), chanoma (茶の間), daidokoro (台所), and doma (土間). There are many bukeyashiki in Miyakoji at present, which remind us of the Edo period.

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The entrance to the samurai residence. Take notice to the few steps that lead to the main door.

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A reproduction of a middle-class samurai residence built in the latter half of the Edo period.

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Kazusa farmhouse (上総の農家), a reproduction of the village's headman's (or nanushi (名主) in Japanese) farmhouse in Oami-Shirasato town (大網白里町). There is a mezzanine in the main building of the house.

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Shimousa farmhouse (下総の農家), a reproduction of the village's headman farmhouse built in the middle of the Edo period in Narita city.

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Ash cottage (灰小屋) is a place to store ashes and manure. It was used extensively from ancient human excrement to make compost. 
Ash cottage is also equipped with a toilet.

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Mr Ishizaki from the International Affairs Division, trying out the take-uma (竹馬), a Japanese traditional stilt.

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These hanging stuff are called tsuna-tsuri (綱つり), made in the shapes of octopus, shrimp, scrubbing brush, etc.  It is commonly found in Kanada (金田) area 
in Kisarazu city (木更津市) and is believed to bring prosperity to the city and to prevent misfortune from outside.

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Some cracks on the concrete road at some parts of the village from the March 11th earthquake.

Our next stop was the open field near Awa farmhouse (安房の農家). Here, several activities can be enjoyed throughout the year while learning the farmer's wisdom, device and hardship though traditional farming methods.

Among the activities provided are rice planting, harvesting, and also crop harvesting. Visitors can enjoy first-hand experience of harvesting peanuts and sweet potatoes, which are the specialties of Boso region, and also other crops such as potatoes, soy beans, vegetables and plums. This was the part that I look forward the most because I got to harvest the fresh peanuts along with a few other Chiba Kun Ambassadors.

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The farm which is planted with various kinds of crops like rice, groundnuts, and vegetables.

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Each of us got to harvest five plants of peanuts each. It takes about three months for the peanuts to be mature enough to be harvested.

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Zoltan from Hungary and me with our peanuts (pun unintended) haha!

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Here are my peanuts (again, pun not intended) lol!

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After harvesting the peanuts, it was time to pluck them one by one. I was the last person to finish plucking my peanuts =.= (photo credit: Laura)

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With the two ladies who assisted us in the peanut harvesting. The middle lady has worked in this village for seven years.

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The three happy Chiba Kun Ambassadors with our freshly harvested peanuts.

Rakkasei (落花生) or peanut is well known throughout Japan as the specialty of Chiba prefecture, as it produces top peanuts in terms of quantity and quality. Chiba prefecture produces almost 75% of the country's total production and the main location is Yachimata town (八街市) in the central region.

From Boso Village, we headed to our next destination, in which I will reveal in the next entry. 

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The Chiba Kun Ambassador with his peanuts, getting ready to leave Boso Village for the next destination haha!

|| INFORMATION ||
Opening hours: 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Closed: Mondays (Tuesday if Monday falls on a holiday), beginning and end of the year, other extra holidays.
Admission: 300 yen (adults), 150 yen (high school/college students), free admission (senior citizens of 65 years and above, junior high school students and below).
Address: 1028 Ryukakuji, Sakae-machi, Imba-gun, Chiba Prefecture, 270-1506, Japan.
Tel: 0476-95-3333    E-mail: mura@chiba-muse.or.jp

6 comments:

TZ said...

I like those old houses... are those really old house or they are rebuilt to attract tourists?

DT said...

i guess the red cones must be marking where the ground crack during the earthquake? so tat visitors dun trip over the crack ground....am i right?

calvin said...

@ tz:
the old houses are replicas from the olden days. they assembled these houses in this museum and now it is one of the tourist attractions in chiba.

calvin said...

@ dt:
you are absolutely correct! give yourself a pad on your back (^.^;b

All About Ipoh said...

aiyoo... only a pat on the back nia meh....so kiamsiap... at least this chiba-kun should give me some red maple leaves and yellow gingko leaves in season now lar :P

calvin said...

@ all about ipoh:
haha! the state of economy of chiba kun is not very good lately. and i have not went to see the maple leaves yet this year >.<

anyway, i will belanja you a plate of ngar choi kai when i drop by ipoh one day, deal? =D