Take the Kanten Train to the "Japan Taishomura" in Gifu!

Take the Kanten Train to the
This time I would like to introduce the "Japan Taishomura" and the Akechi Railway, a popular local railway in the Gifu prefecture that you can take to get there.

The Taishomura is a theme park created from a whole village named Akechi-cho, where historical streets and houses built during the Taisho period remain until this day.
Every bit of the village filled with the Taisho Roman style is remarkable and picturesque. It is a wonderful place to visit and to take a nice walk while enjoying taking photos.

Taking the "Kanten Train" to the Japan Taishomura

the Kanten Train

|Enjoy the local specialities of the peaceful countryside

When you visit the Japan Taishomura, I highly recommend taking the Akechi Line, which is the local railway in Gifu. The Akechi Line runs for 25km from Ena Station to Akechi Station. There are several types of trains that you can ride, including the "Kanten (agar) Train" and the "Kinoko (mushroom) Train", in which you can enjoy a delicious meal made from local ingredients, while looking out over the beautiful rural landscape. (Advance reservations are required)

Here is a report of my experience of the one-hour trip ride on the "Kanten Train". On this train, they serve a traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony cuisine that uses agar, a speciality of Yamaoka-cho, Ena-shi.

|Get ready for the Kanten cuisine, and let's head over to Ena Station!

the Kanten Train
The dining car "Kanten Train" only operates once a day, departing from Ena Station at 12:25pm.
the Kanten Train
The fee to ride the dining car includes a one-day unlimited train pass that comes in the shape of a permit card that was used during the Edo period.
the Kanten Train
Here is the long-awatited Kanten Train!

|Our journey filled with Kanten food finally begins

the Kanten Train
Inside the train, there was a long table lined up with triple-stacked bento boxes. The time was just about lunch time, and the other passengers were also curious about what was inside these boxes.
We could not wait to taste the Tea Ceremony cuisine using kanten.
the Kanten Train
The meal began along with the departure of the train. While looking out the window at the casual scenery, I though that for some reason, it looked more wonderful than usual.
the Kanten Train
Placed next to each bento box was a "Tentsuki", which is a tool that you use to make the appetizer called "Tokoroten". "Tokoroten" normally has a particular smell that many people dislike, however this one that was made in Yamaoka, the area famous for production of Kanten, had no bad smell at all. Its light, refreshing taste and smooth texture makes it so delicious, that it will get you hooked.
the Kanten Train
Here is the inside of the bento boxes. There was a wide variety of food, more than enough to satisfy your stomach.
There was so much food that I was not sure I could finish it all, but every piece of of the meal made from Kanten was amazingly delicious, and I ended up finishing all of it, including the dessert.
  • the Kanten Train
  • the Kanten Train
I enjoyed the Kanten cuisine while viewing the peaceful countryside from the train window. The train ride came to an end before we knew it, and we arrived at Akechi Station where the Japan Taishomura is located.
《 Akechi Railway Dining Car "Kanten Train" 》
【Operation Period】April〜September(Every Tuesday to Sunday, and Mondays that are holidays)
【Operation Hours】Departure from Ena Station at 12:25pm-Arrival to Akechi Station at 1:19pm
【Fee】5,500yen per person (includes round-trip fee)
【Capacity】30 persons(Advance reservations are required)
【Website】https://www.aketetsu.co.jp/train/kanten

Get off the train and jump back in time to the Taisho Period! Here is a whole village that was turned into a theme park called "Japan Taishomura"

Japan Taishomura

|A theme park with neither gate nor ticket

After fully enjoying the Kanten cuisine and the beautiful scenery on the dining car, the train arrived at Akechi Station. In just about 5 minutes from the station, I could see the "Japan Taishomura", which is famous for its old-fashioned townscape that retains the features of the Taisho Period.

Speaking of historical theme parks, there is also the "Museum Meiji-mura" in Aichi prefecture, and the "Nihon Showa-mura", which is also in Gifu. What is different about the Japan Taishomura, is that it is a theme park made up of a whole village called Akechi-cho, which has a population of about m5,000 people.

When it comes to theme parks, most people have an image of there being an entrance gate that divides the inside and outside of the park. However, because the park is an acutal village where people live, there is neither an entrance gate nor entrance fee, unlike the other theme parks.
Japan Taishomura
The reason that Akechi-cho created this park is connected to the recession of their local industry, depopulation, and the former national railway Akechi Line that was taken out of service in 1981.

The citizens who had a sense of cirisis for their future suggested to make their village that was reminiscent of the Taisho period, a tourist site.

|Take photos on the stone pavement of the Taisho Alley

As the name of the park suggests, once I stepped into the village filled with retro buildings, I really felt that I slipped back in time to the Taisho period.
I was fascinated the moment I stepped onto the stone pavement of the Taisho Alley, where warehouses with black colored wainscots and old houses are lined up on each side.
Japan Taishomura
These buildings that are lined up along both sides of the alley were once warehouses, including some that were used to store annual rice tax and some that were used by kimono fabric shops since the Edo period.
This old-fashioned alley where the atmosphere of the Taisho period remains, is the ideal place for taking photos.

|Did you know that this year is Taisho 107?

Japan Taishomura
  • Japan Taishomura
  • Japan Taishomura
I walked up the gentle slope of the Taisho Alley, and came to a fashionable western-style wooden building painted in light blue, with a wooden gate and a street lamp. Built in 1906, it was once the town office, and is currently a museum and rest area called the "Taishomura Village Office".

The sign placed beside the entrance says "Today is Taisho 107". In fact, the end of the Heisei period is coming, but here, instead of "Heisei", they are still using "Taisho" even today. These little playful ideas were also amusing and fun.

|The old and historical items inside the village office

Japan Taishomura
Inside the village office, there were many items and funishings that are reminiscent of the lifestyles during the Taisho period, such as a retro telepone.
Here you can rent a kimono designed with a special pattern called Yagasuri, which looks like arrows. You can take fashionable photos inside the office or on the Taisho Alley while wearing a kimono.

|The Taisho Modern-style museum that stands on a hill

Japan Taishomura
After leaving the Taishomura Village Office, I continued up the hill to the beautiful western-style building called the "Taisho Roman Mansion". This Taisho Modern-style building was built in1994, as a memorial hall for the Japan Taishomura's first village mayor, actress Meiko Takamine, and the village council chairman, Kiyotaka Kasugano.
Japan Taishomura
Inside the mansion is an exhibition of many old items including European furnitures and music boxes from the Taisho period. There is also a special display of a collection of reference materials of the Taisho period.

|Visit the Taishomura Romantei at the end of your trip

Japan Taishomura
  • Japan Taishomura
  • Japan Taishomura
After you exploring the village, you should stop by at the "Taishomura Romantei" with a clock tower, located near the Taishomura parking lot.
Inside the shop there are many stylish accessories, Japanese cheap candies, and famous local products that you can buy to bring back as gifts and souvenirs.

You can rent a kimono here as well, so if you want to walk around the town wearing a kimono, you should go to the Taisho Romantei first.
Outisde the Taisho Romantei there is a photo spot where you can take a commemorative photo in your kimono. How about taking a Taisho Roman-like, Instagrammable photo here?
《 Japan Taishomura 》
【Address】1884-3 Akechi-cho, Ena-shi, Gifu prefecture
【Open Hours】
All facilities 9:00am〜5:00pm(Last Entry at 4:30pm)
※Winter Season(December 15th〜End of February)10:00am〜4:00pm(Last Entry at 3:30pm)
【Closed】New Year Holidays(December 29th〜January 3rd)
【Fee】 Please check the official website for fees to enter each facility
【Access】About 5 minutes by foot from Akechi Railway Akechi Station
【Website】http://nihon-taishomura.or.jp/
The Japan Taishomura has many more fascinations that you must see in addition to these. You might need about 3 hours just to look around at all the spots scattered around the village.

There are many more historical Japanese houses, Taisho Roman-style western buildings, and photogenic spots. It may be fun just to take a relaxing walk and look for places to take good photos.
Wouldn't you want to take a trip to experience the Taisho Roman, view the quiet countryside and have a local cuisine on the Akechi Railway dining car?

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