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Thursday, 13 October 2016

Hakata Machiya Folk Museum

This is technically my belated birthday post haha. For my birthday, it rained the entire day, which meant that I couldn't go to Yanagawa as planned and ended up spending the day in the city. So, I decided to visit the Hakata Machiya Folk Museum.

The museum is a small but lovely place, good for spending about half a day. Do be aware of the timings though, because they have craft demonstrations.

Anyway, the first floor is dedicated towards Fukuoka Folk Culture.

My ticket!
There's a video on the Yamakasa festival, which has English subtitles, so definitely make time to watch it. I found the history and details on it fascinating (plus I don't like waking early so this is as close to seeing the actual race as I'll get)

My companion for the day liked it too. 
They also had these telephones where you could learn Hakata-ben (Hakata dialect). Each phone is a different lesson, but you will need to know Japanese to understand these lessons.

And this is a peek into life in olden times!

The first floor also has a few other exhibits (including a who's who), but it's pretty tiny. The second floor is where artists show visitors how traditional Hakata crafts are made. There are scheduled times (which you can check on the website), so make sure you come at the correct time or you'll have to wait. There's a different craft every day (there's like 3 and they rotate among that), and on the day I went, it was on making tops!

The tops are really gorgeous, and the master was very friendly.

I love the rightmost one. 
When I pulled out my DSLR, he was like "I feel like an aidoru", because there was another lady taking photos too (only she was a professional). And he was very patient and let me ask loads of questions. I imagine that they're used to visitors, so perhaps they'll know English. I'm not sure though, but this master has been to Singapore (for performances), so it's a possibility.

In the next building, there's a weaving demonstration going on! There's also a set time for it, so be careful not to go at the wrong time. When I went, the weaver was tying the strings together (prep work), and apparently that takes two to three days! Like the top master, she was very patient in explaining what Hakata ori was and what makes it special.

The Loom
The loom isn't actually the most traditional version. The paper below basically replaced a human being and functions as a giant (and old) computer.

The other side of the hall is done in the style a traditional "Machiya". Actually, the buildings are preserved Machiya, which are basically townhouses.

There's also a garden, which I would have liked to explore but couldn't because of the rain.

There's a little showroom for Hakata ori and a box of traditional toys that you can play with!

The gift shop sells a variety of items - from things made with Hakata ori that is weaved at the museum (there are some lovely wallets there), to beautiful postcards and traditional toys and sweets.

The museum is pretty small, but the live demonstrations mean that there's an excuse to stay longer and see how traditional crafts are made. Plus, I saw a soba restaurant right next to it, so that if you're hungry, you can always kill time there.

You can get to the museum from Gion subway station. Also, Gion has a few temples, and the museum does have walking tours for that (I'm not sure if it costs extra, because again, it was raining).

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