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Upopoy National Museum Photo Gallery: The Soul of the Ainu

Ahokkaidao-upopoi-photo-gallery photo collection of the Ainu National Museum, Upopoy. I hope it can be useful for those planning to visit Hokkaido. In addition to exhibits, a wide variety of live performances and experiences are offered, including Ainu art, dance, song, musical instruments, storytellers, cuisine, clothing, woodcarving, and more.

Cover of Upopoy Ainu Museum Photo Gallery

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2 Chome-3 Wakakusacho, Shiraoi, Shiraoi District, Hokkaido 059-0902

Man wearing Ainu attire at Upopoy

At Upopoy's traditional village, you can have various experiences. Here's a male storyteller dressed in Ainu attire.

Inside a traditional Ainu house in Upopoy'Kotan

Inside the traditional village's houses, there are many tools that the Ainu people used. There are various tools called 'inau,' which were crafted by whittling wood and served different purposes.

Hearth inside the Kotan house

Near the hearth, there were also Inau placed. Perhaps they are offerings to the god of fire?

Man wearing Ainu clothing at Upopoy

The male storyteller and tourists gather around the Irori hearth, and he shares stories about the Ainu way of life.

Household items used by the Ainu people

Ritual tools used by the Ainu inside one of the houses in the Kotan village.

Woman playing the Ainu instrument Mukkuri at Upopoy

A woman playing the traditional Ainu instrument, the Mukkuri.

Inside Upopoy's Ainu gathering hall

The gathering hall in the Kotan is spacious with a high ceiling and numerous exhibits. The salmon hanging over the hearth are all real.

Woman singing an Ainu lullaby

A woman sings an Ainu lullaby in the Ainu language.

Building at Upopoy National Ainu Museum

Rainy Kotan Upopoy.

Exhibition of Ainu handicrafts

Exhibits like the stick with Dango known as "Shitonic," a flower arrow called "Epereai," and Inau are on display.

Ainu bear decoration

Ainu decorations applied to a young bear.

Exhibition of Ainu traditional attire

Exhibits of Ainu patterned jackets, women's ceremonial attire, winter clothing, and impressive glass bead necklaces and earrings worn by women.

Wooden Ainu decorations known as Inau

An Inau with a human face carved into it.

Flower-shaped Ainu arrows called Eperai

A flower-shaped arrow called "Epereai" in Ainu culture.

Sheath for Ainu wood carvings

A intricately carved wooden sheath for a short sword with detailed Ainu patterns.

Ainu ornaments jewelry

Ainu Jewelry.

Man demonstrating Ainu weaving.

Artisans demonstrate their craftsmanship at Upopoy Workshop, and the crafted items are also on display.

Man in Ainu attire carving wood.

A man demonstrating the creation of a wooden craft. He certainly has a dignified presence.

Man demonstrating wood carving at Upopoy.

The staff told me, "Feel free to approach and ask questions," but I was so overwhelmed by their intense focus on creating their artwork that I couldn't bring myself to interrupt them with questions.

Exhibition of woodwork with Ainu patterns.

The tray with Ainu patterns carved into it. They are lovely.

Building from Hoshino Resorts near Upopoy.

There's an interesting building by the lake at Upopoy. When I looked into it, I found out it's a Hoshino Resorts facility called "KAI Poroto." I'd love to stay there sometime.

Ritual Inau of the Ainu.

Ainu ritual decoration known as "Inau." An exhibit at Upopoy. Dated 2004.

Ainu ritual.

Just a few generations ago, the land of Ezo (Hokkaido) was home to such Ainu activities.

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© 2023 Takashi Hirose

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