Take a trip back in time to medieval japan at Esashi-Fujiwara Heritage Park
Located in Oshu City, Iwate Prefecture, Esashi-Fujiwara Heritage Park offers visitors a unique opportunity to step back in time and experience the rich history and culture of medieval Japan. This meticulously recreated Heian period city, which was built in 1993 for an NHK period drama, is a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and cultural enthusiasts alike.
The park is designed to resemble a Heian period city, which was the golden age of Japanese culture and art. As you enter the park, you will be greeted by a stunning sight of palatial red buildings and meticulously landscaped grounds. The atmosphere is reminiscent of Kyoto or Hiraizumi in their heyday, transporting you to a different era.
One of the highlights of the park is the intricate architectural replicas that are masterpieces in their own right. These replicas are modeled after actual Heian-period buildings from Kyoto and Hiraizumi, which were powerful political bases in the 12th century. The attention to detail in these replicas is truly remarkable, and they offer a glimpse into the architectural grandeur of the time.
Visitors also have the opportunity to dress like Heian royalty in extravagant kimono. The park provides a wide selection of kimono for both men and women, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the world of the Heian aristocrats. This unique experience offers a rare chance to step into the shoes of the noble class and appreciate the beauty and elegance of Heian fashion.
For those looking for a more active experience, the park offers the opportunity to try your hand at samurai-style archery. Samurai archery, also known as kyudo, is a traditional Japanese martial art that requires precision and concentration. Under the guidance of experienced instructors, visitors can learn the basics of kyudo and try shooting arrows at targets. This hands-on experience allows visitors to gain a deeper understanding of the skills and discipline required of samurai warriors.
Esashi-Fujiwara Heritage Park is easily accessible from Mizusawa-Esashi Station. The station is on the Tohoku Shinkansen, and a shuttle bus to the park runs at limited intervals from the station. Alternatively, visitors can also opt for a quick taxi ride to the park. It is advisable to check the shuttle bus schedule in advance to ensure a smooth and convenient journey.
Once inside the park, visitors can explore more than 120 structures that have been painstakingly recreated to resemble a 12th-century Japanese city. Inside these structures, visitors can see mannequins depicting life as it was during the Heian period. The mannequins’ dress, facial features, and hairstyles are representative of the time, offering a vivid and immersive experience.
Signage throughout the park provides ample explanations of the displays in English, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese, ensuring that visitors can fully appreciate the historical and cultural significance of each structure. The park’s commitment to providing multilingual information demonstrates their dedication to creating an inclusive and educational experience for visitors from around the world.
In addition to the main attractions, Esashi-Fujiwara Heritage Park offers a range of activities and experiences to enhance your visit. For those interested in traditional Japanese culture, there is the opportunity to try your hand at calligraphy or participate in a tea ceremony. These activities provide a deeper insight into the arts and customs of the Heian period.
Period dramas continue to be filmed at the park, and visitors may be lucky enough to witness a TV show or movie being shot during their visit. The park’s authentic setting and attention to detail make it an ideal location for filmmakers looking to recreate the atmosphere of medieval Japan. If you’re a fan of Japanese cinema or television, this is an exciting opportunity to see the behind-the-scenes action.
If you visit the park on a Sunday between late April and early November, you can also catch a visually striking performance of shishi-odori, a type of folk dance unique to the Tohoku region of Japan. Known as the “deer dance,” shishi-odori features dancers wearing unique costumes and somewhat menacing deer masks. The dance is a celebration of the region’s rich cultural heritage and is a captivating sight to behold.
For families visiting the park, the Heian Trick Art Hall area is especially recommended. Here, visitors can enter various rooms to see curious pieces of trick artwork based on themes from medieval Japan. The interactive nature of these exhibits makes them particularly appealing to children, who can have fun posing and taking photos with the artworks.
Exploring Esashi-Fujiwara Heritage Park generally takes a couple of hours, depending on how much time you spend dressing up and delving into the various structures. The park covers 20 hectares, so there is plenty to see and explore. There are also shops and restaurants within the park where visitors can take a break, enjoy a meal, or purchase souvenirs.
If you have extra time to spare, there are also other attractions and activities to explore around Mizusawa-Esashi Station. The area is well-known for its cast-iron products, such as wind chimes, bells, pans, and teapots. These traditional crafts make for unique souvenirs and gifts to take home.
Overall, a visit to Esashi-Fujiwara Heritage Park offers a fascinating glimpse into the history and culture of medieval Japan. Whether you’re interested in architecture, fashion, martial arts, or simply immersing yourself in the atmosphere of a bygone era, this park is sure to leave a lasting impression. From the meticulously recreated structures to the hands-on experiences, there is something for everyone to enjoy and appreciate. So why not take a trip back in time and discover the wonders of Esashi-Fujiwara Heritage Park?
Address And Maps Location:
86-1 Konamaru, Oshu-shi, Iwate-ken