Shikoku Museums

Japan Museums: Shikoku Museums

Shikoku Museums 四国の博物館

Shikoku and its four prefectures of Kagawa (Sanuki), Ehime (Iyo), Tokushima (Awa) & Kochi (Tosa) along with the "art islands" of the Inland Sea (Seto Naikai) have many interesting museums and art galleries to draw the visitor to this most beautiful part of Japan.

The four prefectural capitals: Takamatsu (Kagawa Prefecture), Matsuyama (Ehime Prefecture), Tokushima (Tokushima Prefecture) and Kochi (Kochi Prefecture) have a number of outstanding museums. Added to this rich cultural mix are the contemporary art galleries and installations of Shodoshima, Inujima, Teshima and Naoshima.

See a listing of museums and art galleries in Shikoku and the islands of the Inland Sea.

Kagawa Museum, Takamatsu, Shikoku.
Kagawa Museum, Takamatsu, Shikoku

Takamatsu Prefecture

Kagawa Museum

The Kagawa Museum is a museum in Takamatsu displaying the art and history of Kagawa Prefecture in Shikoku. The Kagawa Museum also hosts temporary exhibitions of modern art from around the world. The Kagawa Museum opened in 2008 and has a diverse collection of exhibits relating to the flora and fauna of the Kagawa area as well as the region's history and culture. The historical collections trace the progression of Takamatsu from its early history in the Jomon and Yayoi periods, through the upheavals of the Kamakura and Muromachi periods and the bloody battles of the Genji and Taira clans, through its development as an Edo Period castle town in a time of peace and tranquility, to everyday life in the Meiji Period, when the town underwent modernization and westernization typical of the age, and also during the trauma of the Second World War, when Takamatsu was heavily bombed.

Kagawa Museum, Takamatsu, Shikoku, Japan.
Kobo Daishi, Kagawa Museum, Takamatsu
Stone Bridge, Shikoku Mura, Shikoku, Japan.
Stone Bridge, Shikoku Mura, Shikoku, Japan

Shikoku Mura

Shikoku Mura is an open-air museum displaying over thirty traditional and historic buildings brought from all over Shikoku and surrounding islands in the Inland Sea and laid out in a pleasant parkland. Yashima and Shikoku Mura make for a pleasant half-day or full-day excursion from nearby Takamatsu. Many of the preserved buildings at Shikoku Mura are from the Edo and Meiji eras of Japanese history and include a theater, traditional vine and more modern stone bridges, sugar cane presses and lighthouse keepers' residences.

Marugame Genichiro-Inokuma Museum of Contemporary Art, Marugame, Shikoku.
Marugame Genichiro-Inokuma Museum of Contemporary Art, Marugame, Shikoku

Marugame Genichiro-Inokuma Museum of Contemporary Art

The Marugame Genichiro-Inokuma Museum of Contemporary Art (MIMOCA) displays the work of artist Genichiro Inokuma (1902-1993), who spent his childhood in the small Shikoku port town of Marugame, a short train ride west of Takamatsu. The museum holds over 20,000 works donated by Inokuma, which are shown in rotation along with special exhibitions of contemporary art. As well as its collection of Inokuma's paintings, the museum holds regular workshops and aims to promote participation in the arts by young children.

Ehime Prefectural Science Museum, Shikoku.
Ehime Prefectural Science Museum, Shikoku


Ehime Prefectural Science Museum

The Ehime Prefectural Science Museum in Shikoku opened in 1994. Set in lush, mountainous terrain, the futuristic museum complex was designed by renowned Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa (1934-2007), whose many projects in Japan and overseas include the Nagoya City Art Museum, Toyota and Oita stadiums, the National Art Center in Roppongi and the Osaka International Convention Center. Each building at the Ehime Prefectural Science Museum has a different geometric shape and is made from contrasting construction materials to striking, modernistic effect. The highlight of the museum is a spectacular 300-seat planetarium, the world's largest with a diameter of 30m. 25,000 stars are projected onto the vast dome screen at each showing.

Museum of Ehime History and Culture, Shikoku, Japan.
Museum of Ehime History and Culture
Museum of Ehime History and Culture, Shikoku, Japan.
Museum of Ehime History and Culture

Museum of Ehime History and Culture

The Museum of Ehime History and Culture is dedicated to the history and folklore of Ehime in Shikoku including a replica of a full-size Yayoi Period (c330 BCE-300 AD) dwelling, a Meiji Period (1868-1912) shopping street and a small temple. Also on display at the Museum of Ehime History and Culture are costumes and portable shrines (omikoshi) used in the region's festivals including items from the well-known Warei Taisai festival in Uwajima - a large parade of omikoshi including hundreds of people carrying torch lights. Videos of the area's festivals are replayed on large screens.

Awa Odori Kaikan, Tokushima, Shikoku, Japan.
Awa Odori Kaikan, Tokushima, Shikoku, Japan


Awa Odori Kaikan

The Awa Odori Kaikan is the most popular museum in Tokushima city on the island of Shikoku. Awa Odori Kaikan (Awa Odori Hall) is dedicated to the city's famous dance festival, the Awa Odori, held for over 400 years during the Obon holidays in mid-August. Awa Odori Kaikan is located at the base of the 280-meter high Mount Bizen and from the 5th floor of the museum visitors can take the cable car up to the summit of the mountain. The ground floor of the museum has a gift shop, the Arudeyo Tokushima, where visitors can buy local products from Tokushima Prefecture and Awa Odori-themed souvenirs such as happi coatstabi socks and traditional Japanese sandals. The store is open daily from 9am-9pm.

Entrance to Tokushima Castle, Tokushima, Shikoku, Japan.
Entrance to Tokushima Castle, Tokushima, Shikoku, Japan

Tokushima Castle Museum

The Tokushima Castle Museum is located within the Omote Garden in Tokushima and opened in 1992. The museum features exhibits on history of Tokushima Castle and the feudal clan that once ruled this area. The museum features byobu folding screens, original maps, crests, weapons, suits of armor as well as wooden boats from the Edo Period.

Moraes Hall

Wenceslau de Moraes (1854-1929), the Portuguese writer, translator and poet, who spent his later life living near Mt. Bizen in Tokushima on Shikoku, is regarded as the Portuguese Lafcadio Hearn, of whom he was a contemporary. Moraes' works include Oyone & Koharu (1923), Cartas do Extremo Oriente (1895), Dai Nippon (1897) and O Bom-Odori em Tokushima (1916). The Moraes Hall on top of Mt. Bizen is a memorial museum to the man and his life and includes personal effects, photographs and a reconstruction of Moraes' study.


Sakamoto Ryoma Memorial Museum, Kochi, Shikoku.
Sakamoto Ryoma Memorial Museum, Shikoku

Sakamoto Ryoma Memorial Museum

The Sakamoto Ryoma Memorial Museum opened in 1991 and has a number of original and replica exhibits from Ryoma's life on display. These include letters, calligraphy, a portrait of Ryoma by Kunisawa Shinkuro, who studied Western painting in England, Ryoma's Smith & Wesson pistol, and a replica of the blood-stained folding screen from the room of his murder in Kyoto. Other exhibits chart Ryoma's short life during the violent times at the end of the Edo Period and focus on the places associated with the man during his travels as he left Kochi for Edo (present-day Tokyo), Kyoto and Nagasaki. Further exhibits display materials associated with Ryoma and the Kaientai (aka Kameyama Shachu) - a shipping company established by Sakamoto Ryoma in Nagasaki, an institution that is seen as a forerunner of the modern Japanese navy.

Kochi Municipal Ryoma's Birthplace Memorial Museum

Kochi Municipal Ryoma's Birthplace Memorial Museum recreates the old Kamimachi district of Kochi where Ryoma grew up in the family of lower ranked samurai using video, wall panels and models. Washi paper dolls, calligraphy and a reconstruction of part of the Sakamoto family home recreate the atmosphere of Ryoma's early life. A time-slip map and a miniature model of Kamimachi at the end of the Edo Period focus on the places associated with this most important figure in Japanese history.

Anpanman Museum

The Anpanman Museum, north east of Kochi city, is dedicated to the life and adventures of this most famous of kids' anime. Anpanman was created by Kochi-born Yanase Takashi. Made of bread and stuffed with bean paste, Anpanman appeals mainly to the under 5's. Kindergarten buses and trains on Shikoku often carry his image in Japan. Anpanman duels with Baikin-man (Bacteria Man) and can lose his power if he gets wet. However, Jam Ojisan, can re-bake him. Ride a JR train to Tosa-Yamada from Kochi Station, then a bus bound in the direction of Odochi. Alight at Anpanman Myujiamu-mae (25 mins).

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