The Spirit of the Ainu to Future Generations “Kaneto Kawamura Ainu Museum”
The Ainu are the northern aborigines from the Hokkaido region.
The “Kaneto Kawamura Ainu Museum” was opened by Kawamura Itakishiroma, the father of Kawamura Kaneto, with the goal in mind to share and protect their people’s culture for future generations.
It began in 1916 as a private archive.
It is the oldest facility in Japan being used as an archive for Ainu culture.
Visitors are greeted by the exterior of the main building (the museum) with a characteristic design by the late Ainu sculptor, Sunazawa Bikky, along with folk craft shops, workshops and “Chise” (traditional Ainu houses) that stand upon the premises.
These “Chise” were faithfully reconstructed using 3 tons of bamboo grasses by volunteers in 2006.
Take a look inside and you can see where a fire burns in a hearth to honor the gods.
There are about 500 goods on display in the museum.
Our Ainu tools and clothes are all items that were collected by the second-generation curator, Kawamura Kaneto,
The museum also lends out our characteristic clothing with Ainu patterns at no charge.
Within the building is even a room fully equipped for performances of the folk instrument known as the “Mukkuri” and traditional dances. We also offers programs where you can experience Mukkuri performances and these traditional dances.
Kawamura Kaneto may have strove to preserve Ainu cultural folklore but he was actually also famous as a superior surveying engineer for the railroad. He was called a genius for his skills.
For that reason, within the building there are many documents related to railroads and surveying equipment that were actually used also on display, making this an exhibit for railroad fans to enjoy as well.
Kaneto Kawamura Ainu Museum
Address: Kitamon-cho 11,Asahikawa, Hokkaido
Junior and senior high school students 450yen
Elementary school students 300yen