Dating back to 1917, Oasa-cho in Naruto city, Tokushima prefecture has deep connections with Germany. At the time, the world was in the midst of the First World War.
The Oasa town area, called Bando at the time, was the location of a prisoner of war camp for captured German prisoners. However, although they may have been prisoners of war, they lived a relatively free and comfortable life, and it is said that they got along really well with the local Japanese people.
As testament to this friendship with Germany, a museum called German House has been built.
Exhibitions show how the camp was laid out at the time, and the kind of life the German prisoners of war lived.
This is a model of the Bando prisoner of war camp.
Featuring a restaurant, a print shop, a library, a concert hall, a park and even a shopping district, the camp was essentially a self-contained town in its own right.
The prisoners of war were prisoners in name only.
The museum has recreated full-scale models of the rooms the prisoners lived in…
Laid out on the table you can see breaded pork cutlets and bread, cheese, beer and other German dishes. They seem to be having quite a nice time…
Apparently, the prisoners formed an orchestra, and held a concert to which they invited local Japanese people. They performed Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, and believe it or not, this was the first time that Beethoven’s 9th Symphony was performed in Asia.
At the museum theater, a reproduction of the concert is held every 30 minutes.
Do come and hear the prisoner’s music!
Upon exiting German House, you see a roadside station almost adjoining the museum.
In one section of the station there’s a shop that offers German beer and sausages.
That’s right, this is what I came to eat (I mean, I did enjoy German House to the fullest)!
You can find several types of German beer within the shop. They also sell sausages that you can take home.
There are many different kinds of sausages, but this time I chose a hot dog with a German white sausage, frankwurst (JPY353).
My goodness, it goes amazingly well with German beer. Germany rules!
Come and taste… I mean, come and experience Japan’s friendship with Germany with all your senses!
Naruto German House
Location: 55-2 Higashiyamada, Oasachohinoki, Naruto city, Tokushima prefecture
Open: 9:30 – 16:30
Closed: Every 4th Monday of the month (If Monday is a national holiday, the museum will be open on the holiday and closed the following day), December 28th thru December 31st
Admission: Adults JPY400, Children (elementary & middle school students) JPY100
http://www.city.naruto.tokushima.jp/contents/germanhouse/ (Japanese, but German site also available)
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Chiba Daisuke
Daisuke Chiba / Photo-writer I was born in 1985 in Miyoshi City, Tokushima Prefecture, and now live in Tokushima City. After graduating university, I worked at a publishing company as an editor for various mooks, and in April 2014 I went freelance. I work as a photographer, copy-writer and editor, but also do product development and other stuff as well. If anyone needs me, I can do anything! Except, in spite of my being from Tokushima, dancing - I’m really bad at dancing Awa Odori!
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