Izumo Museum of Quilt Art 出雲キルト美術館
Located in a renovated traditional farmhouse surrounded by rice paddies east of Izumo city, the Izumo Museum of Quilt Art is both difficult to reach and not well advertised, but is nevertheless attracting rave reviews from those who do manage to visit it.
The word quilt may bring to mind groups of little old ladies sitting in a circle chattering while producing "folk" crafts, but here the emphasis is very much on the word Art with a capital A.
In fact the works on display come from just one artist, Mrs. Mutsuko Yawatagaki, a local woman whose quilts have been exhibited internationally. The fabrics used in her creations come from antique and vintage kimonos, some as much as 200 years old.
If you expect quilts to be bold, simple, geometric, and with a limited range of colors, you will be surprised, as they look more like paintings, with fine details and a wide range of subtle colors.
There are only 4 exhibitions a year, one for each season, and it would really be fair to call them installations, as the lighting, space, and associated ikebana all combine for a total effect.
The museum has a gift shop selling smaller items also made out of antique kimono fabric, which make for unusual gifts, and a cafe serving a range of sweets with a variety of teas and coffees. Combined with the renovated traditional interiors and the small garden, it is quite easy to spend a relaxing hour or two there.
There is an English language pamphlet available, and the gallery is run by the artist's daughter who speaks some English. There is also a 30% discount on the entry fee for foreign visitors.
Access - how to get to Izumo Museum of Quilt Art
Izumo Museum of Quilt Art
Fukutomi 330, Hikawa-cho, Izumo-shi, Shimane 699 0642
Tel: 0853 72 7146
Closed on Wednesdays and the third Sunday of each month.
Open from 10am to 5pm.
Admission: Adults 500 yen, children 300 yen
There is no public transport to the museum as it is located in the middle of an agricultural area. The closest train station is Naoe JR Station, about 3km away. You are more likely to find a taxi at Unshuhirata Station on the Ichibata Railway, 4.6 km away. From Izumo Airport it is 6km, and from Izumoshi JR Station it's 9km. The Airport Bus from Izumo-shi Station station stops at the San-in Godo bank in Naoe, only 2km from the museum.