Okayama Museums

Okayama Museums 岡山

Okayama city, in Okayama Prefecture in south west Japan, has a number of fine museums as well as its main attractions of Korakuen Garden and Okayama Castle.

Okayama Prefectural Museum

Okayama Prefectural Museum covers the history, archeology, folklore and art of the two former provinces that make up what is now Okayama Prefecture: Bizen and Bitchu.

As prefectural museums go Okayama Prefectural Museum is on the small side, and there is almost no English information with the displays.

There is an emphasis on the local pottery style, Bizenware, and on swords as the area was an important area for their production during the Momoyama and Edo periods, so if you have a particular interest in either of those subjects then it may be worth a visit.

Okayama Prefectural Museum
Open 9am-6pm (April-September) or 9.30am-5pm (October-March). Closed Mondays and the New Year.

Admission: Adults 250 yen; over 65's 150 yen; Junior High School and younger free.

1-5 Korakuen, Kita-ku, Okayama-shi, Okayama 703-8257
Tel: 0862 72 1149

Located right next to the Korakuen Garden. From Okayama Station take a city bus bound for Fujiwara danchi and get off at the Korakuen-mae bus stop, or take a Line 1 tram from the station, get off at the Shiroshita stop and walk ten minutes.

Okayama Prefectural Museum, Okayama.
Okayama Prefectural Museum, Okayama city
Yumeiji Art Museum, Okayama.
Yumeiji Art Museum, Okayama city

Yumeiji Art Museum

Yumeiji Takahisa (1884-1934) was a Japanese poet and painter born not far from Okayama city. Self taught as a painter, his style is often referred to as Japanese Art Nouveau, the European style that was in turn influenced by Japanese woodblock prints.

A common subject of his art is Japanese women in kimono. The Yumeiji Art Museum was built to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of his birth. The displays have little English explanation, but a handout in English is available. If, like many, you enjoy his work, it is possible to visit his childhood home where more of his art is on display. It is located about 20km east of Okayama city and the museum staff can give you a map and bus access details.

Yumeiji Art Museum
Open 9am-5pm. Closed Mondays and over the New Year.
Admission: 500 yen

2-1-32 Hama, Naka-ku, Okayama-shi, Okayama 703-8256
Tel: 0862 71 1000

Located just north of the Korakuen Garden.  From Okayama Station take a city bus bound for Fujiwara danchi and get off at the Horai Bashi bus stop.

Okayama Orient Museum, Okayama.
Okayama Orient Museum, Okayama city
Okayama Prefectural Museum of Art, Okayama.
Okayama Prefectural Museum of Art, Okayama city

Okayama Orient Museum

The name of this museum is a little misleading, and visitors should not expect to see anything from Japan or East Asia. The focus is on the Middle and Near East with ancient Persia being dominant.

The museum is the collection of a Mr. Yasuhara, who donated the collection to the city, and comprises over 5,000 pieces, some from as far west as Greece.

At various times throughout the year special exhibitions are staged, during which time the permanent collection is not on display. There is no English on any of the displays and the museum is probably only worth visiting if you have a particular interest in the Near East or any of the particular special exhibitions.

Okayama Orient Museum
Open from 9am-5pm. Closed Mondays, over the New Year, and when exhibitions are being changed.

Admission: 300 yen adults; 200 yen students; 100 yen children.

9-31 Tenjincho, Kita-ku, Okayama-shi, Okayama 700-0814

The Okayama Orient Museum is located a short walk from the Shiroshita tram stop.

Okayama Prefectural Museum of Art, Okayama.
Okayama Prefectural Museum of Art, Okayama city

Okayama Prefectural Museum of Art

The Okayama Prefectural Museum of Art is an interesting building on both the outside and inside. Covering three floors the Okayama Prefectural Museum of Art focuses on art and artists with a connection to Okayama.

There are historical works, including a painting by Sesshu, as well as modern paintings, sculpture, and photography as well as crafts.

The exhibitions are constantly changing and various special exhibitions are held throughout the year. Minimal English documentation. There is a shop and a cafe.

Okayama Prefectural Museum of Art
Open 9am-5pm and sometimes on "Art Evenings" ( fourth Friday each month) until 7pm
Closed Mondays, and for the New Year.

Admission: Adults 350 yen; college students 250 yen; over 65's 170 yen; under 18's free.

8-48 Tenjincho, Kita-ku, Okayama-shi, Okayama 700-0814
Tel: 0862 25 4800
Located one block north of  the Okayama Orient Museum, access is from the Shiroshita Tram stop.

Hayashibara Museum of Art

The Hayashibara Museum of Art is located within the walls of the outer castle, on the site of what used to be a guest house for the castle. The museum is housed in a modern building designed by a student of LeCorbusier.

The collection of over 10,000 items come from the wealthy Hayishibara family. The collection features swords, armour, masks, kimonos, costumes, furniture, paintings, and lacquerware and includes three National Treasures and 26 Important Cultural Properties.

The exhibitions are constantly changing with only a small part of the complete collection on show at any one time with special exhibitions held throughout the year.

Hayashibara Museum of Art
Open from 10am-5pm. Closed Mondays and over the New Year:
Admission: Entrance 500yen, sometimes higher for special exhibitions; students 300 yen; children free.

2-7-15 Marunouchi, Kita-ku, Okayama-shi, Okayama 700-0823
Tel: 0862 23 1733

The Hayashibara Museum of Art is located 500 meters from the Shiroshita tram stop or 400 meters from the Kenchodori tram stop.

Manekineko Museum of Art, Okayama.
Manekineko Museum of Art, Okayama

Manekineko Art Museum

Clinging to the steep slope of a remote mountain village north of Okayama city is the Manekineko Art Museum, dedicated to the maneki neko, "beckoning cat" or "lucky cat", and for thousands of fans of all ages of kawaii and cats the place is a veritable mecca.

Maneki Neko Museum of Art
Open from 10am-5pm, closed Wednesdays and over the New Year.
Entry is 600 yen for adults, 300 yen for under 15's.

865-1 Kanayamaji, Kita-ku, Okayama-shi, Okayama 701-2151
Tel: 0862 28 3301

Bizen Osafune Japanese Sword Museum, Okayama.
Bizen Osafune Japanese Sword Museum, Okayama

Bizen Osafune Japanese Sword Museum

For those with an interest in Japanese swords, the Bizen Osafune Japanese Sword Museum is a must visit. The museum has a massive collection of swords, of all types, from different historical periods, and from all over Japan.

The katana is what is now considered the classic samurai sword, but there were a wide variety of styles, shapes, and lengths, and examples of many are on display. Changing thematic exhibitions cycle through the vast collection.

Bizen Osafune Japanese Sword Museum
Open from 9am-5pm. Closed Mondays, or the next day if a Monday is a National Holiday.

Museum entry is 500 yen. The workshops and shops are free.

The museum is located a bit less than 2km from Kagato Station on the JR Ako Line.

Nagi Museum of Contemporary Art

What makes Nagi MOCA unique is that the place was designed as a collaboration between the architect and the artists who created the works specifically for the museum.

Neither the buildings nor the artworks could exist without the other. There are museums that have been designed to house particular pieces of art, and there are artworks that have been produced for specific location and sites, but as far as I can tell Nagi MOCA is unique in that both processes occurred at the same place.

The architect was the world renowned Arata Isozaki who has designed quite a few buildings in Spain as well as other countries including, of course, Japan.

The artists are Aiko Miyawaki (1929-2014, married to Arata Isozaki), Kazuo Okazaki (born 1930 in Okayama), Shusuka Arakawa (1936-2010) and Madeline Gins (1941-2014). Gins and Arakawa were partners, both artistically and personally, and were also architects and poets as well as artists.

Nagi MOCA
441 Toyosawa, Nagi-cho
Katsuta-gun, Okayama 708-1323
Tel: 0868 36 5811

Open 9.30am to 5pm. Closed Mondays, or the next day if a Monday is a National Holiday.

Entry is 700 yen for adults, 500 yen for high school students, and 300 yen for children.

Access - how to get to Okayama

Rail

Okayama Station is served by the Sanyo Shinkansen line to Osaka (45 minutes), Tokyo (4 hours), Kyoto (1 hour 10 minutes), Nagoya and Fukuoka/Hakata (2 hours). The JR Hakubi Line connects Okayama and Yonago on the Japan Sea coast in Tottori Prefecture.

Bus

Okayama Station is a highway bus terminus for buses to various destinations in the Chugoku region. and beyond. There are long-distance buses to Tokyo (Tokyo StationShinjuku Bus Station, Hamamatsucho), Kansai International Airport (KIX), Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Kobe, Kochi, Kyoto Station, Osaka, Nagoya StationNagasaki (with a change in Fukuoka), Matsue, Matsuyama, Izumo, Tokushima and Yonago.

Local buses also radiate out from Okayama Station.

Ferry

There are ferry and services to Shikoku and islands in the Inland Sea including Shodoshima from Shin-Okayama Port, 10km south of downtown with buses from Tenmaya Bus Center.


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