Hatcho Miso Factory Museum

Interesting museums to visit in Aichi Prefecture

One of the best way of knowing a place, its people, history and way of life is visiting a museum. And one of the best ways of knowing Aichi is, of course, to get a glimpse of its varied museums scattered around the Prefecture. Some are small, some are big. There are high tech ones, interactive ones and even a living ones! This list isn’t even exhaustive but provides a good mix of the traditional and the industrial, the historical and modern and offers you an interesting Aichi way of life from food to drinks to commerce and industry.

View of Okazaki Castle in the background with a statue of General Honda Tadakatsu in the foreground

Okazaki Castle & Ieyasu Museum

Okazaki Castle, though smaller in size to Nagoya Castle is the birthplace of the much revered Tokugawa Ieyasu, one of the three who unified Japan and all born in Aichi. The castle’s several floors have exhibits on Samurai warrior and weapons, daily life, historical and cultural exhibits. The castle grounds have beautiful gardens and the oldest operation municipal Noh theater as well as several sculptures.

At a separate building is the Mikawa Bushi and Ieyasu Museum which is a beautiful and very informative exhibit dedicated to the Mikawa clan and their rise, the Mikawa warriors and of course, Ieyasu. You can also wear replica Samurai armor and check out a stunning samurai sword gallery. Roaming the castle grounds, you might also encounter the group of Samurai performers who are in full armor.

Okazaki Castle & Ieyasu Museum
〒444-0052561, Kosei-cho
Okazaki-City, Aichi

Nagoya Castle is one of the historic castles around Japan and was built on the orders of Ieyasu Tokugawa to secure a vital road and fend off attacks from Osaka

Nagoya Castle and Hommaru Palace

Until 1945, Nagoya Castle complex including the lavish Hommaru Palace was the best preserved in Japan which was built by Tokugawa Ieyasu starting in 1610. But war almost totally destroyed it when US air raids reduced the city to ashes. Reconstructed in 1959 and the Hommaru Palace starting in 2008 (and targeted to finish in 2018), the Nagoya Castle complex offers an interesting exhibit on castle life, weapons and Samurai armor. The reconstructed palace will then display the rich and lavish artworks done in gold leaf that used to decorate the original structure but was fortunately stowed away from destruction. The Omotenashi Bushotai troupe entertains visitors with their Samurai period presentation on the Nagoya Castle grounds. Check them for schedules.

Nagoya Castle and Hommaru Palace
〒460-00311-1, Hommaru, Naka-ward
Nagoya-City, Aichi

Hatcho Miso Factory Museum not only shows how hatcho miso was traditionally done in a series of tableaus but you can also visit these large oak vats where soybean is fermented

Hatcho Miso Factory and Museum

Miso is quiet popular in both Japanese and Chinese cooking. Made from fermented soybeans, it has several varieties and is an important ingredient in soups, sauces and dips. In Aichi, hatcho miso, a dark and very pungent variety is very popular and the Hatcho Miso Factory and Museum is the best place to learn as well as taste this one. Housed in historical wooden buildings, hatcho miso has been produced by this company since 1645 and the various stages in the traditional preparation of the hatcho miso is shown in several life sized tableaus. But it is visiting the storage area, with those huge wooden vats that stores tons of miso that is being fermented for up to two years is the best part and is just so surreal! At the end of the tour, you can taste miso soup and can buy different products of miso at the shop or even eat miso flavored ice cream.

Hatcho Miso Factory and Museum
〒444-0923 69, Oukan-dori
Aza, Hatcho-cho
Okazaki-shi, Aichi

Learn how traditional sake in Japan is brewed and prepared in this free museum

Kunizakari Sake Museum Handa

Vinegar and sake (Japanese rice wine) are two of Handa City’s most popular exports and the Kunizakari Sake Museum is an interesting structure to learn all about sake. It is housed in a modest 200 year old structure and includes traditional implements in making sake. Entrance is free and there is a guided tour. The best part? The sake tasting both traditional and flavored!

Kunizakari Sake Museum Handa
Nishihon-machi 2-24
Handa City, Aichi

A historic heritage structure, this Victorian architecture is the brewery of Kabuto Beer

Handa Red Brick Building

During the Meiji Period (1868-1912), one of the most popular beer brands was Kabuto Beer which won a gold medal in the Paris Expo in 1900. That beer was brewed in this red brick building built in 1887. Surprisingly, it is European in Architecture, specifically Victorian in design as Japan during this period emerged from its self imposed isolation and invited European architects to build in order to catch up with the West. It’s a beautiful structure that is now a museum not only on the history of the structure but also about Kabuto Beer which has been revived but produced in limited quantities at another local brewery.

Handa Red Brick Building
〒475-08678, Enokishita-cho
Handa-City, Aichi

Sanshu Asuke Yashiki village museum

Sanshu Asuke Yashiki

Korankei is probably the best place to view the colorful leaves of Autumn but one other attraction in the area is the Sanshu Asuke Yashiki, a living historical museum that replicates a village in the Edo period (1603-1868). It showcases Japanese traditional handicrafts like basket weaving, straw making and others that are slowly disappearing in the country. You can also try a hand in these crafts.

Sanshu Asuke Yashiki
36, Iimori, Asuke-cho
Toyota-city, Aichi

Tokoname is one of six ancient kiln towns in Japan and this village with an established pottery foot path to better enjoy and know the pottery heritage of this town

Tokoname Pottery Footpath

Tokoname is known as one of six of Japan’s ancient kiln towns dating from the Heian Period (794-1185) and this city is known for its iron rich clay that produces reddish ceramics that has been used in making pottery, bricks, tiles and other ceramic products that have been popular all over Japan. Although it’s fame as an industrial town is already history, the city is becoming popular again, this time for tourists as it offers an interesting glimpse with its still many old kilns, some dating back to the 19th century, factories, and quaint buildings.

The Tokoname Pottery Footpath is an exciting activity as it takes you around the historic town, past many kiln and factories, galleries and cafes, walking along sections with walls decorated with various ceramics and even visit an oversized Tokonyan, the famous beckoning cat or Maneki-Neko which is produced here. There are also interesting ceramic art scattered around the town, products by international ceramic artists who participated in the Tokoname City Summer Residency thus enriching the experience of the place.

Tokoname Pottery Footpath
〒479-08363-8, Sakaemachi
Tokoname-City, Aichi

This museum is the only one in Japan that specializes in the development and production of decorative tiles with interesting samples from around the world

INAX Live Museum

In the same city as the Tokoname Pottery Footpath, the INAX Live Museum offers an interactive and display sections in one area. The INAX Tile Museum might perhaps hold one of the world’s biggest variety of tiles, from ancient to modern from around the world. It also showcases different replicas where tiles are used as decorative items in Ancient Egypt, a dutch kitchen or an English bath or an islamic dome.

Another interesting area includes the actual factory and kiln that now holds 150 richly designed and elaborately decorated porcelain toilets from Japan’s Meiji (1868-1912) and Taisho (1912-1926). There is also the Clay Works and Tiling Workshop housed in two other buildings where you can make or paint your own.

INAX Live Museum
〒479-85851-130, Okuei-cho
Tokoname-City, Aichi

Tour around the Toyota Plant and Museum in Toyota City and get a glimpse of how cars are assembled and a little bit of history.

Toyota Plant and Museum

It’s a city and it also has one of its car assembly plants making Lincoln and high end sedans here in Toyota City. Of course, I’m talking about Toyota, the car maker and we visited this particular plant, where it all started. You not only get a glimpse of the history of this car maker but also witness its process of making cars, from parts to finished product! It’s a fascinating visit and looking at all those high tech processes plus the human factor makes you admire the car maker more. Guests should set an appointment for the free tour here.

Plant tour & Toyota Kaikan Museum
1 Toyota-cho, Toyota, Aichi
471-0826 Japan

An interesting industrial heritage museum that not only showcases Toyota’s automobile production in various stages and in in various eras but also shows the textile industry’s development in Japan from loom weaving to automation

Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology (Toyota Techno Museum)

This should not be confused with the Toyota Automotive Museum but the Toyota Techno Museum offers an immersive experience that offers a glimpse of one of Japan’s top corporations: Toyota, from its beginnings as a textiles factory by founder Sakichi Toyoda, to its transition as one of the world’s top automobile producer, Toyota, spearheaded by Sakichi’s son, Kiichiro.

The stunning brick building, location of the original textile factory houses two industrial museums: one for textile production and the other on automobiles. It’s a big museum and interesting one as it not only showcases the technology used in both industries but its development and future. One of the most popular attractions is the robot that plays the violin at designated times of the day.

Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology (Toyota Techno Museum)
〒451-00514-1-35, Noritake Shinmachi
Nishi-ward, Nagoya-City, Aichi

#robot playing the #violin #AichiPrefecture #AichiNowSP #japan #langyawtravel #skyroaming

A video posted by Estan Cabigas (@langyawtravel) on

Thanx to Aichi Prefecture for making this trip possible. To know more about tourism in Aichi, check the official Aichi Now website.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

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