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Nikko Edo Mura

 Nikko Edo Mura

Nikko Edo Mura is one of Japan’s most realistic and interesting experiences. It is an educational theme park that exhibits life in the historic and culturally-rich Edo-era. It is a massive and elaborate reconstruction of a traditional historic town of the Edo period of the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries. Here, ninja lurk in trees, samurai warriors and feudal warlords stride through the streets, geisha demurely scurry past, and merchants operate a variety of stores. 

The moat surrounding Edo Mura

The entrance (traditional sekisho, or checkpoint), Kabuki-mon is guarded by samurai (warrior) with swords and chonmage (shaved heads). You will need to buy a pass called tegata and receive a guide written in English including a detailed map of Nikko Edo Mura at the ticket office. It is an authentic reproduction of the daily life of Japan's Edo Period. Those will be streets, shops, clothing of people, shopkeepers and teashop waitress, ticket collectors, hairstyle, Ryo currency (pre Yen currency), buildings and so on. Those details make the atmosphere of the village more realistic, and are often used as sets for TV commercials, dramas and movies.

A good walk through Edo history can be found at the Kira kohzuke-no-suke residence where over 20 significant events of the period are depicted in quality wax displays. It begins with Tokugawa Ieyasu’s victory in the battle of Sekigahara in 1600 and ends with the ritual suicide of 20 boys in Aizu in 1868. And for a chilling insight into traditional methods of torture and punishment, the Kodenma jailhouse next door also has an excellent series of wax displays.y the Ryogoku Bridge.

The town stretches several blocks and features an extensive samurai museum and a variety of performances. One morality play, called a geisha show, features the conflict between two local warlords for the favours of a court prostitute. After much posturing and threatened violence, the demands of shame and honor are met as the main protagonists commit, or are honorably released from the obligation to commit, hari-kiri (ritual suicide).

A performance near the Ryogoku Bridge

Other areas of interest include the "water magic" show at the Japanese Traditional Entertainment Theatre, the Mysterious Ninja Residence where the distorted angles have everyone falling over, The Roke no Sato movie set used by NHK for shooting samurai dramas, the Kita-machi Magistrate Office Theatre (English translations available for large groups), and the Japanese Traditional Cultural Theatre where the most beautiful oiran perform on the grand stage. Audiences happily applaud the play’s events and toss coins, wrapped in small sheets of paper, onto the stage.

It takes about 2 hours to travel to Nikko Edo Mura by train and about 2.5 hours by car on the Tohoku Expressway. Kinugawa hot spring resort is just up the road and a great place to soak the bones after a good day’s walking. Nikko is also nearby and a full-day’s adventure may also include a trip to Toshogu Shrine -- the burial place of Tokugawa Ieyasu, Kegon Falls and Chuzenji Lake.

Visitors to Nikko Edo Mura may choose to pay a basic entrance fee of 2,800 yen which includes a ticket to one of the theaters, or a 3,900 yen pass which includes 4 theater performances, or a 4,500 yen free pass to all attractions.


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