Since 1975
  • facebook
  • twitter

New Ainu Center to open in Hokkaido in the spring

Antique Ainu kimono with traditional embroidery at the Hokkaido Museum. (Shutterstock)
Antique Ainu kimono with traditional embroidery at the Hokkaido Museum. (Shutterstock)
Short Url:
05 Jan 2020 08:01:43 GMT9
05 Jan 2020 08:01:43 GMT9

TOKYO: A new national center aimed to revitalize and develop the culture of the Ainu indigenous people will open in Shiraoi in the northernmost Japan prefecture of Hokkaido on April 24.

The government, which is preparing the National Ainu Museum and Park, nicknamed Upopoy, hopes that the facility will become a sightseeing spot, with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics just around the corner.

Upopoy is an Ainu word that means "singing in a large group."

"We'll publicize it in hopes of reaching our goal of one million visitors per year," said an official of the tourism ministry, which is involved in the project to build the facility.

The government is building the center as an upgrade of a now-closed museum for the Ainu people in Shiraoi, which had Ainu settlements, after a new law calling for respect for the Ainu culture took effect in May 2019.

Popular eateries in Hokkaido will be invited to provide special dishes with an Ainu twist that will only be available at the facility so that visitors will be able to experience the food culture of the indigenous people.

Staff members at the new center are already busy practicing an improved version of ethnic dance performances given at the now-closed museum.

On the visitor target, the ministry official said, "It won't be easy, but it is not an unachievable number."

The old museum had 200,000 visitors per year in recent years. But it once attracted as many as 800,000 people annually, mainly thanks to bus tours.

"Our next challenge is how to make the 'Upopoy' nickname and attractions known more widely to draw more visitors," the official added.

JIJI Press

Most Popular

return to top