With a population of just over 2,000 residents, it comes as a surprise to find that tiny Hinohara Village is able to offer up a nice series of museums and galleries. Adding to the natural surroundings that provide a sense of wonderous isolation, these museums and galleries offer a bit of local culture to an already lovely area. Here is an introduction to these locations and how to reach them.
Hinohara Toy Museum
In a nod to the village's woodworking traditions, the Hinohara Toy Museum has been purposefully built out of wood. The museum's two floors feature huge play areas for children. The first floor is reminiscent of traditional Japanese landscape design, one inspired the mountains, forests and rivers of the area. The second floor continues on with a large play space for kids that includes toys - made out of wood of course.
A 23-minute ride from Musashi-Itsukaichi Station on the JR Itsukaichi Line or a 35-minute no.18 bus trip form the same station.
Hinohara Village Local History Museum
Like many local museums, the Hinohara Village Local History Museum isn't particularly large but it does do a decent job of reflecting the area's long history and heritage. There are plenty of historical tools, representations of local fauna, dioramas and of course, it is all surrounded by Hinohara's splendidly verdant green location. The free admission helps too.
A 20-minute ride from Musashi-Itsukaichi Station on the JR Itsukaichi Line or a 30-minute no.18 bus trip form the same station.
Kazuma School Annex Memorial Hall
A challenge to get to, to be sure, but the Kazuma School Annex Memorial Hall is a literally a moment stopped in time; the school remains exactly as it was on the day that it closed in 1999. Posters, desks, chalkboards, everything is as it was, leaving visitors with a wistful feeling of days gone by. Usually only open on the weekends, this curious relic from the past has free admission.
A 40-minute ride from Musashi-Itsukaichi Station on the JR Itsukaichi Line or a 60-minute no.10 bus trip form the same station.