Ogi Folk & Sengoku Ship Museum

Old schoolhouse crammed full with folk items

By Alena Eckelmann   Oct 11, 2012 - 3 min read

A charming 1920s schoolhouse, located near Ogi Town, was preserved from demolition by converting it into a folk museum. Most of the previous classrooms are now full from the floor to the ceiling with folk items. The purpose of some of these items from the old days can only be guessed by us modern people. 

This schoolhouse got lucky but there are so many other old school buildings in the Japanese countryside that were closed due to a lack of children and that gradually fall apart.

Here in the old Ogi school house, now Folk Museum, there are over 30,000 exhibits of all sorts of daily-life objects that were donated by villagers. There are many kitchen utensils as well as agricultural, fishery and carpentry tools and farming equipment of old times. Items seem to be from the Meiji, Taisho and early Showa eras. One classroom was preserved to give you an experience of school in the old days here.

A replica of a 19th century freight ship sits in the hall of the Ship Museum, which used to be the sports hall of the school. There I had a closer look at the carpentry skills required to build such a masterpiece. Shipbuilders lived and worked in the nearby village of Shukunegi which rose to shipbuilding fame in the 17th century.

Gold and silver was found then in the Aikawa District of Sado Island, which led to Sado Island's very own “Gold Rush”. The Tokugawa Shoguns were quick to get the mines under control and to set up a system of mining management and transportation back to their capital in Edo, now Tokyo.

Ships like the one on display in the Ogi Ship Museum sailed from port to port around the Sea of Japan trading various local ware, such as rice, for other products. Captains also brought home pottery from distant places in Japan, and some examples of these pottery items are also shown.

Today the ship is dragged out of the building once a year and sail is set at the annual festival in Ogi Town. The ship’s keel doesn’t feel the water anymore but instead it revels in Ogi’s festival frenzy. 

Practical information:

Full name in English: Sado-koku Ogi Folk Museum (Sengokubune "Hakusanmaru" Exhibit Hall) 

Name in Japanese: 佐渡国小木民俗博物館・千石船展示館

Opening hours: 8:30 - 17:00 daily (closed 29.12. - 3.1.)

Entrance fee: yen 500 (adults); yen 200 (children)

Phone enquiries: 0259-86-2604

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Alena Eckelmann

Alena Eckelmann @Alena Eckelmann

Celebrating my 10th year anniversary in Japan in May 2018, the country that I call home now. I lived in crazy Tokyo for 6 years and since 2011 I call the Kii Peninsula (Kumano, Koyasan and Yoshinoyama) my home. I have visited all 47 prefectures of Japan and for the last 4 years I have worked as a guide for foreign visitors. My special interest is in Japanese nature and spirituality. I love spending time in the forest and mountains and I love visiting temples and shrines. I am also a licensed guide for the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trails and for Koyasan, the Buddhist monastery, in addition to being a practitioner and guide for Shinrin Yoku (Forest Therapy).   In recent years I have taken visitors to walk the Kumano Kodo trails, the Nakasendo trail, the 88 temple pilgrimage trail around Shikoku Island and to Dewa Sanzan, the three sacred mountains in Yamagata Prefecture. If you look for nature and spirituality in your trip to Japan, then Wakayama, Nara and Yamagata Prefectures are ideal places to get started!

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