Upopoy National Ainu Museum and Park
The Upopoy National Ainu Museum and Park, located on the shores of the Poroto Lake in Shiraoi-cho, Hokkaido Prefecture, is a facility overflowing with the allures of Ainu culture. Its name, Upopoy, means “singing together in a large group” in the Ainu language. Upopoy's National Ainu Museum, which is Japan's first national museum to have the indigenous Ainu people’s culture as the subject, introduces Ainu history and culture through exhibits created from the point of view of the Ainu people. It also has areas where visitors can use workshop kits to interact with and learn about Ainu culture, and even a theater where videos are shown on a large screen. The National Ainu Park, an open-air experience center, houses a hall where traditional Ainu dancing, which has been designated as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, is performed, as well as a workshop center where visitors can see traditional Ainu instruments and view paper doll shows performed in the Ainu language. Additionally, there are reconstructions of traditional Ainu living spaces called cise at the Kotan Traditional Ainu Village, and visitors can view the building interiors as well as displays of normal household items and their connections to kamui (deities). Through exhibits and commentary, visitors to Upopoy will be able to feel Ainu culture with all of their senses while breathing in the abundant nature of Shiraoi-cho.
(The text below was provided by the Upopoy National Ainu Museum and Park website.)
The Ainu are an indigenous people in the northern region of the Japanese archipelago, particularly Hokkaido. The Ainu culture is distinctive, with a language that is unrelated to Japanese, a spirituality that holds that spirits dwell in every part of the natural world, traditional dances that are performed at family events and festivals, and crafts such as wood carving and embroidery that incorporate unique patterns.
Upopoy serves as a national center for the revival and development of Ainu culture, an invaluable culture in Japan that is at risk of extinction. Upopoy was created to fulfill multiple roles and functions as a symbol of Japan’s long-term aim to build a vibrant society with a rich, diverse culture in which indigenous peoples are treated with respect and dignity, without discrimination.
Upopoy is not only a space and facility for revitalizing Ainu culture, but also a base for larger initiatives to revitalize and expand the Ainu culture... As a national center for learning about and promoting Ainu history and culture, Upopoy enables people of all nationalities and ages to learn about the Ainu’s worldview and respect for nature. It also acts as a symbol of a society based on mutual respect and coexistence, passing on and sharing various aspects of Ainu culture, which has developed over many years and is influenced by the surrounding nature.
Photographs provided by The Foundation for Ainu Culture
- 3.0 Hours
- Telephone Number
- Postal code
2-3 Wakakusacho, Shiraoigun Shiraoicho, Hokkaido
- Method of payment
- Cash, Credit Card, Mobile Payment Apps, IC Cards
- Official URL
- Recommended season
- January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
- Regular Holiday
- Admisson Fee
JPY1200 / Adult
Age 16-18: JPY 600
Under 13yrs: Free
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