Travel in Japan

Boso no Mura, the Open Air Museum Where Japanese History Comes to Life

Last Updated on 2021-07-04 by Teni

Following up my post, 15 Awesome Things To Do On The Narita Airport Transit & Stay Program, is a look at Boso no Mura, the open air museum where Japanese history comes to life.

What is Boso no Mura?

Chiba Prefectural Boso no Mura (千葉県立房総のむら | Chiba Kenristu Boso no Mura or Boso Village) is one of the attractions featured on the Narita Airport Transit & Stay Program, free tours operating out of Terminals 1 and 2 of  Narita International Airport and guided by English-speaking volunteers.
But, Boso no Mura celebrates more than the days of samurai. On your way to Boso no Mura, you might see terracotta statues in the neighboring area of Fudoki no Oka. Those are haniwa (埴輪), clay figures buried with the dead during the Kofun period (3rd to 6th centuries). You’ll seee lots of haniwa at Boso no Mura as there are fmore than 110 kofun or burial mounds, some with haniwa.
Relive days gone by with the following activities at Chiba Prefectural Boso no Mura*:
*“Boso,” by the way, refers to the name of the peninsula that encompasses the entirety of Chiba Prefecture. The characters for Boso (房総) refer to the three former provinces located there: Awa (安房), Kazusa (上総) and Shimousa (下総).

Wear a Kimono or Be a Ninja or Samurai for a Day

Kick off your visit by stopping by the Cosplay Annex. Don’t be mistaken by the word “cosplay:” Here, you’re not dressing up as a Sailor Scout or a Final Fantasy Character, but rather the Cosplay Annex offers more than 100 different historical costumes of Edo Japan (1603-1868), including samurai and ninja.
What’s more, the Cosplay Annex has a selection of costumes for children and infants, so it’s a wonderful opportunity for families to dress up together. What could be more awesome than the annual Christmas card featuring a family of ninjas, complete with a baby samurai?!
I’ve never worn a hakama, so I decided dress up as a haikara san (ハイカラさん, the term used for fashionable Japanese women of the late 19th and early 20th century who wore modern clothes.
After changing, you can enter Boso no Mura and enjoy the historical atmosphere even more.

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Stroll Merchant’s Street

Merchant’s Street is a promenade that is an Edo Japan replica complete with old buildings still standing  in Katori (formerly Sawara) City, Chiba. It consists of 16 different shops, an information office (called “Fusaya”), town square, and even a shrine (to Inari).

Casual diner (めしや | meshiya)

The tea shop (お茶の店 | ocha no mise)

But, Merchant Street is far more than a replica– As an open air museum, the shops at Boso no Mura are fully functional, meaning that you can step inside, see authentic tools, participate in craft making or watch artisans show off their skills.

The pottery shop (瀬戸物の店 | seto mono no mise)

Shop with books and kawaraban (本と瓦版の店 | hon to kawaraban no mise)

*Kawaraban, Japanese roof-tiles

Tatami shop (畳の店 | tatami no mise)

Craft making at the candle shop

This craft involves using chiyogami (intricately decorated colorful sheets of paper) to wrap a candle that is later dipped in a vat of hot wax to seal the coating.

I chose a panda motif as my girl loves pandas!

Woodwork Factory (Nagaraya)

Kazusa crops and fields

Beyond Merchant’s Street are fields where some of Chiba’s produce are harvested. The encompassing shrubbery are actually tea leaves!

Kazusa Farmhouse

This farmhouse features the architecture of the late Edo period and is a reproduction of a home owned by the head of a village in the Kazusa district.

Tea Ceremony (茶道 | sadou/chadou)

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Experience a Japanese tea ceremony at Boso no Mura. Your instructor will teach basic etiquette for drinking matcha and how to prepare it. The tea ceremony is held in a separate building by the samurai residence.

Tea ceremony fees:

Matcha with higashi (干菓子), a “dry” confectionery made from rice flour – 300 yen
Matcha with namagashi (生菓子), sweets traditionally used in Japanese tea ceremonies – 400 yen
Matcha with namagashi, with the opportunity to prepare matcha yourself – 500 yen

Festival Square & Village Kabuki Stage

There were plenty of families enjoying this part of Boso no Mura on the day that I visited.
Anyone arriving to Japan via Narita Airport should definitely consider a visit to Boso no Mura as it’s an excellent opportunity to see Japanese history come to life.

Boso no Mura Access

A free guide can take you to Boso no Mura from Narita Airport as part of the Narita Airport Transit & Stay Program.

The Narita Airport Transit & Stay Program operates tours led by English-speaking volunteer guides knowledgeable in the sights and delights of the Narita area.

Once you arrive at Narita Airport, head to the Narita Airport Transit & Stay Program’s counter in Terminal 1 or Terminal 2. Participation in all tours is free of charge, though you will have to pay for your own expenses such as transportation and entrance fees.

READ: Cosplay in an Edo Period Reproduction in Sakae Town (Tour 4)

On the other hand, if you have the time and prefer the additional freedom of visiting on your own you could spend the better part of a day here. It’s an expansive complex that will take hours to explore thoroughly.
If you opt to visit Boso no Mura on your own, you have 2 options: Take the JR Narita Line From JR Narita Station to JR Aijiki Station. From there, take any bus bound for Ryukakujidai Shako, then get off at Boso no Mura. It’s a three minute walk from there.
– From JR Narita Station take a bus bound for Ryukakujidai Shako, then get off at Ryukakujidai Ni-chome. From there it’s a 10 minute walk.
Boso no Mura
1028 Ryukakuji, Sakae Machi, Inaba-gun, Chiba Prefecture, 270-1506
〒270-1506 千葉県印旛郡栄町龍角寺1028
Tel: 0476-95-3333
MAP | Website

Boso no Mura, the Open Air Museum Where Japanese History Comes to Life