Prefectural museums in Japan are not always guaranteed to excite but the Aomori Prefectural Folk Museum in Aomori is an exception and well worth a visit for its broad sweep of Tohoku culture from the Jomon Period to the present day.
The Aomori Prefectural Folk Museum is housed in a grand 1930s building that was previously a bank. The museum itself opened in 1973 and its several floors have exhibition rooms dedicated to a variety of subjects as well as occasional special exhibitions - such as the comic cut-outs of people sleeping off too much sake at cherry blossom time (see image below).
The Archeology Exhibit has some fantastic earthenware and clay figures from the Jomon Period sites around Sannai-Maruyama, just west of Aomori city and the Aomori Prefectural Folk Museum is an important reference for anyone interested in this early period of Japanese history.
Aomori's nature is covered with dioramas and taxidermy exhibits and the nature Exhibit includes a model of the Aomori Elephant or Naumann Elephant, named after the fiery German geologist Heinrich Edmund Naumann (1854-1927), who spent a decade teaching and researching in Japan in the 1870s and 1880s.
The History Exhibit covers Aomori's history from the Nara Period onward including the history of the powerful Edo era Tsugaru and Nanbu clans, the Hakkoda-san Incident of 1902 and World War II. Original photographs, uniforms and newspapers help recreate 1940s Aomori, which was heavily bombed by the US air force.
The Folk Customs Exhibit displays agricultural implements, clothes and a number of oshira - pillar like household gods unique to the Tohoku area.
Other exhibits include an Apple Exhibit dedicated to Aomori's agricultural mainstay - apples, a Personal Experience Room, very much with school children in mind, where visitors can play with various exhibits, the Pioneers of Aomori Exhibit dedicated to such Aomori alumni as writer Osamu Dazai (1909-1948), Pulitzer Prize-winning war photographer Kyouichi Sawada (1936-1970) and singer Noriko Awaya (1907-1999) and the "Refined" Collection Exhibit, over 11,000 pieces donated by a local doctor.
The Aomori Prefectural Folk Museum is one block south of Yatai Mura and about a 15 minute walk from Aomori Station.
Aomori Prefectural Folk Museum
Tel: 017 777 1585
Aomori Prefectural Folk Museum map
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