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  • Arts & Museums

    »Sagawa Art Museum

    Set on a serene patch of land, surrounded by water, on the Lake Biwa, the Sagawa Museum of Art can be found in the ancient city of Moriyama. This museum is focused on preserving and promoting art and culture in the region, being the home to a wide collection of paintings, sculptures, ceramics and more, by artists of national fame. A visit to this museum is a sure treat to those who wish to discover Japan's treasure of artists and local art. See the website for more information.

    2891 Kitagawa
    Moriyama, 524-0102

    »Gifu Museum of Fine Arts

    Students of the school of symbolism will be interested to know that Odilon Redon [1840-1916] is a featured artist at this museum. A large number of his sketches, oils and prints are in the permanent collection. Other painters of note are Renoir, Miro, Chagall, Laurencin and Bacon; while the nihonga painters include Seison Maeda and Chofu Hasegawa. Good examples of Kenji Kato and Toyozo Arakawa's pottery are in the crafts section. The museum hosts a few visiting displays during the year.

    4-1-22 Usa
    Nagasaki, 500-8368

    »Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park

    Located in the quiet town of Koka, the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park, as the name alludes, is a park dedicated to the art of ceramics. Through their exhibitions, programs and initiatives, the park strives to promote ceramics art in the community, and beyond. Comprising a museum, an institute, and an exhibition hall, this ceramics hub is definitely worth a visit.

    2188-7 Shigarakicho-Chokushi
    Koka, 529-1804

    »Kuramayama Museum

    Material such as mushrooms, animals, birds, rocks, plants, crustaceans and insects gathered from Mount Kurama, which is a natural science preserve, are on display on the first floor. The second floor provides an historical overview of the temple. Kurama-ji was established as a Tendai temple in 770 but has been the headquarters of the Kurama-Kokyo sect since 1949. The third floor houses various Buddhist images.

    1074 Kurama hommachi
    Kyoto, 601-1111


    Dating from the thirteenth century, Nanzenji is an important Zen temple of the Rinzai sect. Nanzenji sits on a large hillside, complete with tranquil ponds and impressive gardens. Before entering the vast wooden entrance gate, San-mon, there is a sublime dry stone garden in the sub-temple, Konchi-in. The main building, or Hojo, contains famous painted screens depicting tigers by the Kano school of artists and more gardens. The temple area is also famous for a number of vegetarian restaurants specializing in Yudo-fu (boiled tofu). Call for hours.

    Kyoto, 606-8435

    »The Nomura Art Museum

    The collection's focus is mainly art objects related to the Japanese tea ceremony. It was amassed by the financier Tokushichi Nomura [1878-1945]. Noteworthy are lacquer boxes by Korin, Yi dynasty tea bowls, an incense box by Ninsei, excellent Ming tea caddies, Song celadons, and paintings by Motonobu Kano, Hoitsu, as well as Buson. Accouterments associated with the Noh theater, such as robes and masks, are splendid. The display is changed every month but note that only about 30 pieces are on view at any given time.

    61 Fukuoka City
    Kyoto, 606-8434

    »Garden of Fine Art

    The Garden of Fine Art situated adjacent to the north entrance of Kyoto Prefectural Botanical Gardens seeks to introduce the work of classical artists to a new audience in a modernistic outdoor setting. Billed as 'The first garden of paintings in the world', the Garden of Fine Art was built in 1990 and holds several enlarged ceramic reproductions of the European Old Masters. These include the Last Judgement by Michelangelo and the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci, plus works by Monet, Seurat, Renoir and Van Gogh. In addition there are pieces by classical Chinese and Japanese artists. The al fresco gallery is traversed by minimalist concrete walkways and bounded by sheer concrete walls with cooling running water-features flowing horizontally and vertically. Admission JPY100.

    Shimogamo Hanki-cho
    Kyoto, 606-0823

    »Imura Art Museum

    Perhaps overlooked or unknown is this delightful small museum, which specializes in ceramics and glassware. The permanent collection of about a hundred items includes crystal works from the house of Baccarat and the Daum family as well as traditional Japanese Edo-era Arita porcelain (Satsuma, Nabeshima and Imari). Some of the Kakiemon pieces include work by the master Imaemon and date to early Meiji.

    29 Matsubara-cho Shimogamo
    Kyoto, 606-0804

    »The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto

    Visitors of the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto are treated to a rich collection of varied artworks by local and international artistes. The museum holds permanent as well as special themed exhibitions throughout the year—paintings, sculptures, sketches and photographs depicting numerous cultures and beliefs across the globe are displayed at this esteemed venue. Check the website to find out more on admission prices and art sales.

    Okazaki Enshoji-cho
    Kyoto, 606-8344

    »Kyoto Museum Of Traditional Crafts

    Associated with the many local crafts that were particularly predominant when Kyoto served as the imperial capital, the Kyoto Museum Of Traditional Crafts explains through videos and graphic displays the talents of the artists of Kyoto. Explanations are made available in English. Some of its prominent exhibits include textiles, altars and masks. The on-site museum shop sells a range of crafts and artifacts. For more details, do call ahead.

    9-1 Seishoji-cho
    Kyoto, 606-8343

    »Koryo Museum of Art

    The core of the museum's collection comes from the Koryo and Yi dynasties' artwork, plus various pottery and crafts. There are ceramics from as early as the 12th century. Clothing chests, medicine chests, screens, sculpture, antique furniture and masks are displayed in a charming contemporary building. Mr. Chomun Chong founded this museum in 1988; he, with his eclectic eye, amassed the bulk of the artifacts.

    15 15 Kita Shitiko Town
    Kyoto, 603-8108

    »Jotenkaku Museum

    One result of the Ashikaga patronage is that the monk-priests of the Muromachi era [1333-1568] produced some Zen masterpieces. They feature the ink painting style which is distinctively Japanese, subdued rather than the bold strokes of the Chines Sung style. The Jotenkaku owns Tohaku Hasegawa's [1539-1610] "Monkeys in a Bamboo Grove." Common motifs in his ink paintings were both gibbons and monkeys. He established the Hasegawa painting school. Together with his sons, Kyuzo and Soya, the Hasegawas are well known for a unique style of rendering rock formations. Not to be overlooked is a variety of ceramic wares from the Ming Dynasty [1368-1643], which complement the collection.

    701 Shokoku-ji Monzen-cho
    Kyoto, 602-0898
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