Shiraoi, located near the southeastern shore of Hokkaido, is home to Poroto Kotan, a recreated Ainu village of thatched communal huts and a museum beside a small lake (Poroto Kotan in the Ainu language means āBig Lake Villageā.). Poroto Kotan provides a rare opportunity to see traditionally dressed men and women perform ancient Ainu ritual dances. You can also listen to the haunting music of the āmukkurā, a mouth harp made of bamboo and thread that creates a strange, resonating sound. Lectures in Japanese are given in the thatched-roof straw huts, which have smoked fish hanging from the rafters. But, best of all, is the museum with descriptions of Ainu history, culture, society and traditions, along with displays of utensils, clothing, jewelry and other everyday artifacts.