Open-Air Museum of Old Japanese Farmhouses, Osaka, by Carrie Kellenberger

Easier than a trip to the countryside is a visit to this collection of traditional Japanese country houses, transported here and painstakingly reconstructed. Most striking is the giant gasshō-zukuri (steeply slanting thatched-roof) farmhouse from Gifu Prefecture, and a thatched-wall farmhouse from Nagano, which looks to be wearing a shaggy coat. Many of the houses, which you can enter, have displays inside on traditional rural life. The whole place comes alive with fiery red maple leaves during November.

Take the Kita-Osaka Kyūko line (an extension north from the Midō-suji subway line; ¥90 surcharge) to Ryokuchi-kōen Station. From the west exit, go straight (past McDonald's), follow the road down to Hattori Ryokuchi Park (服部緑地公園), and walk through the park to the museum.