Worth Visiting Kata Branch School Museum, Near Lake Tazawa

Worth Visiting Kata Branch School Museum, Near Lake Tazawa

[ Apr.2019 ] On the second day at the lakeside of Lake Tazawa in Akita prefecture, Japan, we headed for a museum called Memory of Kata Branch School, which used to be a very small primary school.

Campsite near Lake Tazawa

On the way, when we saw a campsite, our brother-in-law told us that he had once used this place when he was travelling on his own by motorcycle.

Even now, he likes being independent and on this morning, he got up very early and walked around Lake Tazawa on his own.

Apparently, there was hardly anyone there so he could have the quiet lakeside all to himself.

The museum of this Memory of Kata Branch School was a little inland from the lake.

The entrance fee is usually 300 yen (£2.20, €2.45, $2.80) for an adult, but because one of our family members was a member of JAF (Japan Automobile Federation), we had a discount of 100 yen.

Entrance Kata school

According to the leaflet they gave us, this school was originally established in 1882.

It says “it was the first time for the remote villages, Tagonoki and Osawa, which were far from any towns, to have any educational institutions”.

When they rebuilt the school in 1923, they measured the distance between the two villages and built it exactly in the middle of it.

After that, the number of students went up and up, so they increased the number of classes to three.

However, after the peak in the 1950s, the number of students decreased as the times changed and in the end, they closed the school down in 1974.

After that, it was used as a meeting place for a while, but the building became old and decayed and they planned to demolish it.

Traditional Japanese snow boots

However, the local volunteers who wanted to keep the original scenery of old Japan stopped the demolition and started to restore it.

They took as long as two years doing that and finally, in 2004, they opened it to the public as a museum.

All the visitors have to take off their shoes at the entrance and keep their shoes on the shoe box, as the students had done in the past.

Because it is a snowy region here, there were traditional Japanese snow boots on the shoe box.

table tennis in the gym

This is not a simple museum where you can just look at things, but you can touch and experience everything, such as sitting at the desk in the classrooms, playing the organ, or playing ball in the gym.

My mother sang “Furusato” (homeland), a well known song, as the organ was played by my sister.

My mum also showed her skill on the abacus and my husband played table tennis in the gym with our brother in law .

We really had a good time. In the staff room, there were some very old text books on display.

There were also accordions, chalks, old telephone and so on.

Women toilet

Some things made me feel nostalgic and some were new to me and interesting.

It could be interesting for current primary school students, too, to see the difference.

One thing you have to know is that the toilets are not exhibited with the museum, which means that boys should not go into the girls toilet, and vice versa.

Anyway, it was a very interesting experience visiting the old school when we had so many years since we were students.

Thanks to this museum, we talked a lot about our memories regarding schools. This visit was much more interesting and worthwhile than we had expected.