Photo By: Douglas P Perkins
Region
Tohoku
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Akita
Population
1,189,215

Namahage (Demon) Museum

Unleash all your demons.

Japan has its fair share of legends, monsters and mythical beasts. However, over the centuries, few have ever had anything like the longevity, intrigue or wide-ranging appeal of Namahage. Namahage is an oni, a giant and fearsome demon, common in many Japanese folk tales. He is primarily associated with  Oga City, Akita Prefecture.

Today, his red-faced, angry visage can be seen emblazoned across t-shirts, stationery and all manner of other souvenir goods throughout Akita. However, to get the complete picture on this loveable demon, a visit to the Namahage-Kan (Namahage Museum) is a must.

The museum itself actually has a number of different rooms, dedicated not just to Namahage, but also to the history and folklore of his birthplace, the Oga Peninsula and Shinzen Mountain.

Photo by: kanegen A dancing drummer wearing a Namahage costume, performed Namahage-Daiko in Akita station.

The Shinpi Hall takes you back to Oga’s past. Computer interfaces offer an interactive journey as you take a tour around various artifacts and tools from simpler times. Center piece to this exhibit is a miniature forest, which combines real trees with interactive panels and screens. Most striking among the many items in this room is a traditional style boat carved out of an entire tree. In the past such boats were commonly used by the village fishermen.

Akita

Lake Towada in Autumn, in Aomori and Akita, Japan
Next we move on the Namahage Densho Hall, a movie theatre exhibit playing a documentary about the history of the Namahage Legend and his impact both on the local community and on Japanese folklore in general.

Next up is the main event, The Namahage Seizoroi, The Namahage Exhibit. Here, you’ll enter a hallway full of Namahage monsters, decked out in their colourful Oni masks, straw coats and brandishing a variety of weapons.

And as you head towards the back of the hall, the lights dim and you’re in for a big surprise! OK, so you’ve got up close and personal with Namahage and lived to tell the tale, so why not have a go at becoming an Oni yourself?

The final room of the main exhibit is the Namahage costume booth, giving you the chance to get masked up, put on your straw clothes and enjoy a photo opportunity you’ll never forget.

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Trivia

Lake Towada in Autumn, in Aomori and Akita, Japan

Akita

The best way to enjoy Akita is simply to go outside and be among it.

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Things To Know

Hours and Fees

The Namahage Museum is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission costs ¥500 for adults and children (under 18) cost ¥250. A discount is available if you are visiting in a group of 15 people or more and make a prior reservation.

How To Get There

Address

Japan, 〒010-0685 Akita-ken, Oga-shi, Kitaurashinzan, Mizukuisawa−地内 なまはげ館

By train

To get to the Namahage museum from Tokyo, take the shinkansen (bullet train) to Akita Station. The shinkansen takes about 4 hours from Tokyo. Once you arrive at Akita, take the JR Oga Line for 1 hour to Hadachi station. From Hadachi Station, the museum can be reached by taxi in about 20 minutes.

Where To Stay

Seiko Grand Hotel
  • Kitaura-yumoto Kusakihara 50-1 Oga-Shi, Akita 010-0687
  • 7.5/10
  • 5.2 km
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Oga Kanko Hotel
  • Kitaurayumoto Kusakihara 21 Oga-Shi, Akita 010-0687
  • 6.8/10
  • 5.2 km
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Umi to Irihino Yado Teisui
  • Togashiohama Tsubogasawa 31 Oga-Shi, Akita 010-0673
  • 8.6/10
  • 5.3 km
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Oga Hotel
  • Kitaura Yumoto Kusakihara 13-1 Oga-Shi, Akita 010-0687
  • 7.3/10
  • 5.4 km
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