If you drive past the onsens, out to Rt. 243, you will see a pretty distinct cement building. We were curious and found it was a museum for Ainu culture and were excited to go in because we wanted to learn more about Ainu culture.
The museum is small and has some interesting Ainu artifacts. You can also embroidery your own Ainu style bookmark. Admission is 420 yen. A tiny and very friendly lady at the gate told us if we hurry, we could catch the film on Ainu culture. We watched it in Japanese, it was fine, boring in parts, but showed how Ainu people live today, how they made their clothes, other anthropological stuff. We left the viewing room, looked at artifacts, beautifully carved tools, embroidered dresses and chatted with the friendly lady.
Then, she found out that I was from the U.S. and asked us if we wanted to see the English version. It was a completely different film. THIS IS WHAT MAKES THE MUSEUM WORTH IT. It was a heartbreaking look into the history of the Ainu and how their lands, livelihood and culture were taken away. I was so upset and angry after watching. It was really moving and truly educational. If you care to learn about the people who were originally in Hokkaido, it is worthwhile coming here.
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