Think art and museums, and you can only think of heading west. East, in particular Japan, isn’t really known for their museum scene. But if you are an art lover, looking to explore the world of creativity off the beaten path, these museums in Japan are worth getting lost in.
Hakone Open-Air Museum
Spread over 70,000 sq mts, this open-air museum in the mountains of Hakone is filled with outdoor sculptures and installations created by both Japanese and international artists. No matter what season, the art works are always set to beautiful backdrops. The stained-glass Symphonic Sculpture that towers over the garden, allows you to climb stop it offering an unbeatable view.
Aomori Museum of Art
The Aomori Museum of Art is housed within a sleek building that in itself is an objet d’art, and has on display famous works of art, many of which offer a unique commentary on the country’s Aomori culture – its past, present and future. The museum design was inspired by the nearby Sannai Maruyama Jomon Archaeological site.
Nima Sand Museum
Nima-born architect Shin Takamatsu drew inspiration from the sands of Kotogahama Beach to create the museum’s awe-inspiring glass pyramid structures. It has the world’s largest hour glass, which is 5.2 metres tall.
Omiya Bonsai Art Museum
Located in Omiya Bonsai Village in Saitama, this museum is home to over 120 bonsai trees, some over 1,000 years old, and draws practitioners and fans from across the globe.
Fujiko F Fujio Museum
An absolute must-visit for anime addicts and manga maniacs – especially for those who grew up with the much-beloved robotic cat, Doraemon! Opened on Doraemon’s birthday (September 3) in 2011, the museum opens the Anywhere Door into the world of Doraemon and its creators.
Japan Ukiyo-e Museum
This is the largest private collection of Ukiyo-e, a genre of Japanese woodblock printing and painting that was popular between the late 17th and 19th century. Ukiyo-e literally translates to “pictures from the floating world”. The museum showcases over 1,00,000 privately-owned pieces, including prints, painted screens, scrolls and more.
Itchiku Kubota Art Museum
Textile master Itchiku Kubota single-handedly revived and modernised an ancient kimono-dying technique called tsujigahana (similar to tie-and-dye). The museum pays homage to his craft, with a kimono collection unmatched in Japan. More than 100 kimonos are on permanent display, but only a quarter of them are exhibited at any one time. The collection’s highlight is ‘The Symphony of Light’, a collection of 80 kimonos representing the four seasons.