Experience life in old Japan at Nikko Edo Wonderland

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September 28, 2016

Come dress up like a samurai and experience village life in Nikko’s Edo Wonderland. Situated on a beautiful mountainside, Edo Wonderland is a recreation of a feudal village populated by actors in period garb. Here, visitors can learn Japanese history through plays and skits by professional performers, get dressed up in recreations of feudal era clothing, and try lots of local dishes at the many restaurants and food stalls.

Once in costume visitors can ride down the serene river in a boat piloted by costumed performers, or follow the courtesans’ parade as it strolls through the town. Along the way, they can stop in at the jail, the haunted house, or try their hand at medieval weaponry.

In the jail, visitors are encouraged to experience life as a medieval felon by climbing inside the cramped, narrow cells. Beside the jail, visitors can experience medieval interrogation methods like kneeling under the rocks - literally kneeling on a board while another is placed on your lap and then having larger and larger rocks piled on until you confess your crimes!

The haunted house is easily found by the collection of large weapons mounted on the door. Visitors enter and are immediately greeted by an animatronic representative of hell. Further demons and devils await while spooky music plays throughout the dark passageways. Beware the ghosts in the corners and get through as quickly as possible!

Several storefronts house weapon ranges - shuriken, courtesans' darts, archery, and rifles - where participants can try their hand for ¥600 per round. Small prizes are given out for good marksmanship, including postcards just for trying.

Access & Information

The park is very accessible by both car and bus. By car, take Route 121 to Nikko and follow the signs for Nikko Edo Wonderland. By train and bus, travel to Kinugawa-Onsen Station and board the bus for the park (stop 3). Alternately, take the free bus from JR Nikko Station. It is open everyday except Wednesdays and periods of national holidays (Golden Week, etc.)

Costs are a tad on the high side - adults (including children over 12) cost ¥4,700 for a day pass or ¥4,100 for an afternoon only pass. Not factoring in shows and presentations, the park takes an hour or two to meander through, making it an ideal lazy afternoon retreat.

The park is handicapped and child-friendly; strollers can be rented for ¥200 per day.

Official website: http://edowonderland.net/en/

Address: 470-2 Karakura, Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture, 321-2524

Joel Neff

Joel studied Communication at Northern Arizona University way back in the 90s and has spent the past twenty years trying to figure out what to do next. So far that has included working as a photographer, teacher, writer, editor, game maker, and dog walker. He still doesn't know what's next.

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