We travelled back in time to the Edo period of pre-modern Japan. What’s the secret?
Easy. Take a two hour train from Tokyo up north to Nikko, get on a bus, and pay ¥4000 to get inside. Haha.
I’d known this place for a while and always wanted to go because it’s a historical themed village where everything and everyone is straight out of feudal Japan over two centuries ago. Doesn’t that sound fun? The only thing is it’s pricey and far from Tokyo, so it does take some effort to get here. But I finally did and it was great! We were immediately greeted by a ninja.
The staff are all appropriately dressed as Edo people living in the village, whether they’re swordsmen or townsfolk or the local police. But the best part is that everyone else become part of the village too! Exhibit A: Three female ninjas in pink visiting for the day.
We wanted to join in the fun too, so we went to dress up. Renting the outfit cost us another fortune, but we got to wear it till the end of the day and it is pretty much the real deal, so it’s money well spent. I’ve worn kimono and yukata, but I’ve never gotten to be an Edo swordswoman.
A samurai needs to eat too. The streets were lined up with traditional stalls and I got a stick of hot dango (which was not a good idea to eat while wearing a ¥3000 rented costume).
Nikko Edo Wonderland was having an anniversary campaign when we were there, so all the activities were free that month! Which was frankly amazing, because we must’ve saved at least a thousand yen painting our own daruma dolls and making strawberry daifuku.
More things you can enjoy for free—picking a fight with random villagers in the street and practising your sword skills on them.
They even had the cutest black shiba inu! I think I took about a few hundred pictures of Hachi. And then one with him, because I liked him so much.
Definitely another place I’d recommend people to go to for a day trip out of Tokyo. It was one of the more unique attractions I’d visited in Japan, and the people at the village are so committed and good at their role that you really don’t feel like you’re in the 21st century at all (except when you’re taking selfies in your kimono with your iPhone). Go back in time and explore old Japan!