Historic village ? all history of Hokkaido accumulated in one place

Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido, is a new city in the history of Japan that is more famous for its modern attractions and up-to-date architecture. However, it features a magnificent site that preserves the history of the entire Hokkaido accumulated in one place, the Historic Village of Hokkaido. The Historic Village is an open-air museum in the suburbs of Sapporo.

The Historic Village of Hokkaido is located in the Nopporo Forest Park (Shinrin Koen) outside of Sapporo. It exhibits about sixty typical buildings from all over Hokkaido, dating from the Meiji and Taisho Periods (1868 to 1926), the era of the most extensive development of Hokkaido. The open-air museum is divided into a town, a fishing village, a farm village and a mountain village section.
The buildings, gathered in the Historic Village, are of traditional Japanese and Western styles and include homes, farmhouses, a shrine, a church, a newspaper office, a post office (from which you can mail a letter), a police box (manned by a sword-wielding police officer). You can see Sapporo's first railway station and the newspaper building from the seaside town of Otaru.

There are also many small businesses, including a blacksmith, a brewery, a barbershop, a grocery, an inn and a sleigh factory -- all of them stand in the Village as they would have looked in the past. Depending on the season, visitors can travel through the village on horse-drawn carriages or sleighs. The stroll through the Historic Village sites can take you two hours or even more; if you are a more devoted observer, the site promises much to explore and admire. Children will also have fun in exploring the village, since there is even an old-fashioned playground with stilts, a seesaw and other original Japanese play equipment.

Next to the Historical Village there is The Historical Museum of Hokkaido (kaitaku kinenkan), which documents the history of Hokkaido's development.

To get to the Historical Village, you should take a local train from Sapporo Station on the JR Hakodate Line to Shinrin Koen Station (about fifteen minutes), from where the museum is a five minute bus ride or a fifteen-twenty minute walk.

Along with learning the history of Hokkaido through the sites of the Historic Village, you can learn the history of chocolate during your visit to Sapporo. Ishiya Seika Co., Ltd has a factory in Sapporo, producing confectionary products, including cookies Shiroi Koibito (White Beloved Ones in Japanese) that are known not only in Japan, but also in many parts of the world. Shiroi Koibito is a white chocolate between two cookies, which is a symbol of today's Hokkaido. A tour of the factory is not a simple walk around a conveyor belt, but a total travel to the chocolate's history, culture and production. The factory consists of five thematic zones. For instance, in a confectionary kitchen you can learn how to make chocolate and experience producing your own bar. In another zone, designed as a 19th century English pub, you can taste chocolate drinks, cakes and cookies.

If you like history and beer, a visit to Sapporo Beer Museum is for you. Hokkaido is a birthplace of beer in Japan and all-important exhibits from its history are housed in this museum. Thus, your tour of Sapporo will be quite entertaining and informative: you will get to know about three diverse and captivating histories: the history of Hokkaido, chocolate and beer.

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