This is so Hokkaido!

Japan’s First Ainu-themed National Center Opening May 29th, 2020, the ‘Upopoy’ center symbolizes ethnic coexistence!

Image is for illustration purposes/Courtesy of Agency for Cultural Affairs

Opening in May 2020, Upopoy is located in the township of Shiraoi, about 40 minutes from New Chitose Airport, or about 65 minutes from Sapporo by limited express train. Upopoy is Japan’s first Ainu-themed national center, and symbolizes ethnic coexistence.

The Ainu people have developed a unique culture, with aspects including the Ainu language, which is in a different language family than Japanese, and Ainu religious perspective, which believes that spirits are found in all elements of the natural world.

Upopoy offers opportunities to experience the diverse beauty of Ainu culture, with facilities such as the National Ainu Museum, the first national museum in northern Japan, and the National Ainu Park, a participation-oriented, open-air museum.

With much anticipation, Upopoy will open on May 29th.We invite you to join us in experiencing Ainu culture in Shiraoi, Hokkaido!

Main Facilities at Upopoy

National Ainu Museum

Image is for illustration purposes/Courtesy of Agency for Cultural Affairs

Japan’s northernmost national museum, and Japan’s first national museum to focus on the history and culture of the indigenous Ainu ethnicity. A wide variety of exhibitions offer diverse viewpoints about Ainu culture, which lives on to this day, and the people related to this vibrant culture. Multilingual indoor exhibitions feature descriptive panels, signage, and audio guidance in Ainu, Japanese, English, and other languages.

Amidst the abundant nature of the shores of Lake Poroto, a wide variety of exhibitions offer diverse viewpoints about Ainu culture, which lives on to this day, and the people related to this vibrant culture.

National Ainu Park

Through performances including traditional Ainu dance, and diverse experience program offerings, this open-air museum allows visitors to experience and appreciate how Ainu culture has been shaped by its natural environment. Enjoy Ainu dance performances accompanied by mukkuri and tonkori music, or even try participating yourself.

Enjoy traditional performing arts which have been handed down by generation to generation of Ainu people. Or, experience the wonders of Ainu culture through an abundance of interactive programs featuring musical instruments, traditional arts and crafts, culinary culture, and more.

Experience and Enjoy the Wonders of Ainu Culture at the National Ainu Park!

Experience a replica of cise, Ainu traditional housing.

Try on Folk Costumes

Enjoy taking photos as you try on Ainu folk costumes decorated with traditional Ainu patterns.

  • Time Required:15 minutes
  • Available:Every day
  • Activity Fee:1,500 yen (individual) or 500 yen (group) per person.
  • Group fees apply when participants do not require individual photographs.

Traditional Performing Arts Program

This program features traditional Ainu performing arts, including traditional Ainu dance, a designated UNESCO intangible cultural heritage, as well as musical instruments such as mukkuri and tonkori.

Experience Ainu world views and outlook on nature through a special performance featuring the latest imaging techniques and video of some of Hokkaido’s most beautiful sights.

  • Time Required:60 minutes (20 minute performance)
  • Available: Daily
  • Activity Fee: Free of charge (included in entry fee)

 Experience Ainu Cuisine

Ainu cuisine embodies the wisdom of Ainu lifestyle and the gifts of nature. You will encounter a wide range of cooking techniques, dishes using seasonal ingredients, and food education programs as you experience the depth of Ainu culinary culture.

 Experience Ainu Music

Experience the unique tones of traditional Ainu musical instruments such as the mukkuri (mouth harp) and tonkori (five-stringed harp). Our staff are happy to teach how to play the instruments, and first-timers are more than welcome.

Try Playing the Mukkuri

Experience the unique tone of the mukkuri (Ainu mouth harp), and learn the basics of playing this instrument.

  • Time Required: 30 minutes
  • Available: Weekends, holidays, and summer holiday period
  • Activity Fee: 1,000 yen
    * Includes cost of mukkuri.
    * Elementary school ages and up.

Try Playing the Tonkori

Experience the unique tone of the tonkori (Ainu stringed instrument), and learn the basics of playing this instrument.

  • Time Required: 45 minutes
  • Available: Weekends, holidays, and summer holiday period
  • Activity Fee: Free of charge (included in entry fee)
    * Elementary school ages and up.

Make your own Mukkuri

Use an engraving knife to make your own mukkuri (Ainu mouth harp). Learn how to assemble the instrument and the basics of playing.

  • Time Required: 60 minutes
  • Available: Weekends, holidays, and summer holiday period
  • Activity Fee: 1,000 yen
    * Elementary school ages and up.

National Ainu Museum and Park at a Glance

Opening Day:May 29th, 2020
Address:2-chome, Wakakusa-cho, Shiraoi Town, Shiraoi District, Hokkaido

Entry Fees

  • Adult (Individual) 1,200 yen
  • High School (Individual) 600 yen
  • Junior High or Younger Free

Park Hours

■May 29- Jul 19, 2020
Weekdays 9:00 – 18:00, Weekends & Holidays 9:00 – 20:00
■Jul 20 – Aug 31, 2020
9:00 – 20:00
■Sep 1 – Oct 31, 2020
Weekdays 9:00 – 18:00, Weekends & Holidays 9:00 – 20:00
■Nov 1, 2020 – Mar 31, 2021
9:00 – 17:00

Closed

Mondays (when Monday is a holiday or closed day, the following weekday) and New Year (Dec 29 – Jan 3)

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