Akita Akarenga Red Brick Folk Museum 秋田市立赤れんが郷土館
The Akita Akarenga Red Brick Folk Museum (Akita-shiritsu Akarenga Kyoudokan in Japanese) is in Akita City, the capital of Akita prefecture. This folklore and art museum complex features an elegant 3-story red brick former bank building dating from 1912, and includes the annexed Akita City Folklore and Performing Arts Center 450 meters to the north. The red brick former headquarters of the Akita Bank has been renovated and turned into a repository of Akita's most representative arts and crafts.
Designed by local architect Yamaguchi Naoaki, the building served as a bank headquarters until 1969. The bank building was then donated to Akita City in 1981, the 100th anniversary of Akita Bank and the 90th anniversary of Akita municipality, and re-opened as today's museum in 1985.
Over half of the Akarengakan's original cost and construction time was spent on the bank's solid foundations, which have kept the structure secure against earthquakes. The Renaissance style exterior gives way to the Baroque interior complete with colored tiles, white marble staircases, plaster ceilings and archways and zelkova wood paneling. A particular highlight is the huge metal doors of the bank vault.
Certain rooms are dedicated to some of Akita prefecture's greatest crafts persons such as Katsuhira Tokushi and Sekiya Shiro.
Katsuhira Tokushi (1907-1971) was a celebrated wood block print artist from Akita who never left the prefecture and spent his life depicting scenes of local Akita life and customs in bold colors using a printing technique he developed himself. Visitors can view a recreation of Katsuhira's studio and see the original implements the artist used to create his works along with a fine selection of his art.
Sekiya Shiro (1907-1994) was a metalwork artist who worked in a variety of metals and specialized in a fusion technique called hagiawase. The Sekiya Shiro Memorial Room on the second floor displays a number of the artist's masterpieces as well as a some of the tools of his trade.
The Akarenga Red Brick Folk Museum also hosts special exhibitions.
9.30am-4.30pm every day. Closed December 29 - January 3.
200 yen for the Akita Akarenga Red Brick Folk Museum only. 250 yen for joint ticket to the Akita Akarenga Red Brick Folk Museum and the Akita City Folklore and Performing Arts Center 450 meters to the north. 500 yen for a Kururin Pass for admission to Akarenga Red Brick Folk Museum, the Satake Historical Material Museum, Kubota Castle's Osumiyagura Turret, the Akita City Folklore & Performing Art Center, the Old Kaneko Family House, the Akita Senshu Museum of Art and the Old Kurusawa House.
There are city or Chuo Kotsu buses from Akita Station to Koshu Kosha mae.
Akita Akarenga Red Brick Folk Museum
Akita-shi, Akita-ken 010-0921
Tel: 018 864 6851
The Akita City Folklore and Performing Arts Center, with information about the Akita Kanto Festival and other Akita traditions, is 450 meters northward up the road. The Akarenga Red Brick Museum is close to the Omachi and Kawabata entertainment and red light district on the Asahi River.