Art Museum Spots in Nagano Area

  • Utsukushi-ga-Hara Open-Air Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Uedashi Takeshikamihoniri 2085-70
    An outdoor sculpture museum located on the Utsukushigahara Highlands in Ueda City, Nagano Prefecture which displays some 350 modern art sculptures on a meadow 2,000 meters above sea level. Dotted with pieces by such famed domestic and international artists as César Baldaccini, Alexander Liberman, Izumi Ando, and Masuo Ikeda, the museum’s meadow is truly a stunning sight. The museum is also surrounded by magnificent mountains, and lovely mountain plants bloom from spring to fall. The museum is open from late April to mid-November.
  • Hiroshi Senju Museum Karuizawa
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Kitasakugunkaruizawamachi Nagakura 815
    Located in Karuizawa Town, Kitasaku County, Nagano Prefecture, this private art museum exhibits the works it owns created by artist Hiroshi Senju, a modern Japanese painter who is active around the world. The building was designed by architect Ryue Nishizawa and has large glass windows that give it a bright and spacious atmosphere. It also has a beautiful garden with various trees and plants, and is a creative space that achieves harmony with nature. The museum holds exhibitions that introduce Senju’s works as well as special exhibitions according to different themes. There are also a bakery café and shop, and guests can relax and enjoy art and nature.
  • Chihiro Art Museum Azumino
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Kitadumigunmatsukawamura Nishihara 3358-24
    This art museum located inside of the Azumino Chihiro Park in the Matsukawa Village district of Kita-Azumi County, Nagano Prefecture collects and displays works by picture book artists from around the world including Chihiro Iwasaki. In addition to displays about Chihiro’s representative works, related items, and career, the museum also introduces the history of picture books and a collection of original pictures from picture books around the world. The museum is complete with facilities sure to delight children such as a reading room where they can read their choice from approximately 3,000 picture books as well as a play area for small children. There is also a picture book café where visitors can relax while gazing out at Japan’s Northern Alps (Hida Mountains).
  • Nagano City Art Center
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Naganoshi Tsurugamidorichou 1613
    This complex is located in the Tsuruga Midori-cho area of Nagano City. A building complex with a building of the Nagano City Office, it is a distinctive cultural exchange complex. It is a multi-purpose facility including a main hall where concerts and events are held, theater practice rooms, an atelier and band practice rooms.
  • Matsumoto City Museum of Art
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Matsumotoshi Chuou 4-2-22
    This is a private art museum in the center of Matsumoto City. The museum houses a collection of pieces by artists connected to Matsumoto City such as world-famous avant-garde artist Yayoi Kusama, calligrapher Shinzan Kamijo, and lifelong Shinshu (Nagano) natural vista painter Kazuo Tamura. Special exhibitions and exhibitions of works submitted by the general public are held at the museum several times each year. A 12-minute walk from JR Matsumoto Station.
  • Rokuzan Art Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Aduminoshi Hotaka 5095-1
    This facility was opened in 1958 with the goal of preserving the works of Rokuzan Ogiwara, nicknamed the “Rodin of the East.” In addition to his masterpiece carvings such as “Woman” and “Despair,” the museum also displays the works of Kotaro Takamura, who was deeply connected to Rokuzan. The impressive building, covered in ivy and church-like in appearance, is beloved as a symbol of the Azumino region. A 10-minute walk from JR Hotaka Station.
  • Mayumi Takahashi Museum of Doll Art
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Iyamashi Iyama 2941-1
    This art museum which opened in 2010 displays 100 works of Iiyama City resident doll maker Mayumi Takahashi. It is a popular spot where visitors can enjoy recalling their hometowns, the expressions of the grandma and grandpa dolls—looking like they are about to chatter—bringing back nostalgic memories. On weekends and holidays there is often a queue to get inside. The dolls on display are changed around twice a year. The nearest station is Kita-Iiyama Station.
  • Kitazawa Museum of Art
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Suwashi Kogandori 1-13-28
    This is a museum of contemporary Japanese paintings and glass works on the shore of Lake Suwa. The museum displays glass works by Emil Galle, the master of French decorative art, and René Lalique, a representative artist of both the Art Nouveau and Art Deco eras and others. The glass works exhibited are highly valued and regarded as one of the best glass collections in the world. There is also a coffee shop overlooking Lake Suwa.
  • Ueda City Museum of Art
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Uedashi Tenjin 3-15-15
    An art museum located in Tenjin, Ueda City. The museum's collection consists primarily of works by artists deeply connected to Ueda City such as Western-style painter Kanae Yamamoto, sculptor Tsuruzo Ishii, and photographer Harry K. Shigeta. In addition to displaying this collection, the museum also holds special exhibitions. In addition, the museum has a studio and gallery available for use by residents as well as a children's studio.
  • The Museum of Contemporary Art, Karuizawa
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Kitasakugunkaruizawamachi Nagakura 2052-2
    This art museum collects and exhibits works with a theme of ''artists who crossed the oceans.'' Its primary collection features works by artists including Yayoi Kusama, Yoshitomo Nara, Shusaku Arakawa, Atsuko Tanaka, and Ayako Rokkaku. The museum also features a gallery where visitors can purchase artwork. Admission includes a complementary cup of tea and a snack, allowing visitors to soak up impressions of the artwork at a relaxed pace. The museum closes over the winter from late November to mid-April. It is a five-minute drive from JR Karuizawa Station.
  • Shinshu Shinmachi Art Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Naganoshi Shinshushinmachikamijou 88-3
    The Shinshu Shinmachi Museum is a one-minute walk from the Bijutsukan Mae bus stop or a 40-minute drive from the Nagano Interchange. It is next to the Shinshu Shinmachi Fossil Museum and the Arishima Ikuma Museum. Visitors can buy a single ticket that admits them to all three museums. The more than 2600 works in the collection were all received from the artists or as gifts from donors. Among the most prominent works in the museum are watercolors of local scenery by Shin Kurihara and 200 woodblock prints by Kishio Koizumi, some of whose works are also in the Louvre. The exhibits are changed every few months.
  • Kiyoshi Yamashita/Horo Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Chinoshi Chino 2764-3
    "Located a five-minute drive from the Suwa Interchange and eight minutes from Chino Station, the Horo Museum is the first museum in Japan to have a permanent display of the works of Kiyoshi Yamashita, the vagabond artist who was affectionately known as ""the Naked General."" Most of his works were collages, but he also painted designs on ceramics, created pointillist paintings, sketches, and more. The opportunity to see so many kinds of his works is the main attraction of this museum. The texture of his collage is distinctive when viewed up close. Some of his works, like ""Niagara Fireworks and Spectators"", which has a fireworks display over Lake Suwa as its subject, or ""Suwa Shrine: Akimiya"", have deep local connections. The museum shop sells relevant books and folk crafts."
  • Harmo Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Suwa-gun Shimosuwamachi 10616-540
    15-minutes from the Chuo Expressway. This art museum, standing amidst the lush natural beauty on the bank of Lake Suwa, was opened on April 26, 1990 by industrial robot manufacturer Harmo's founder Tomio Hama and director Takako Seki. The museum's standing exhibition consists of works of Naive art which express a free sensitivity from a pure perspective, including nine rare pieces by Henri Rousseau. The museum has gained worldwide recognition for its distinctive concept. The museum also has a cafe where you can take a relaxing break and, on clear days, see all the way to Mt. Fuji.
  • Shiga Kogen Roman Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Shimotakai-gun Yamanouchimachi Hirao 1465
    "An art museum built to commemorate the Nagano Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. It features bottles and vases made in the ancient Roman Empire from iridescent glass. You can spot the adjacent conical restaurant from far away, making it a good landmark. They serve meals and tea. The elliptical museum, which has a theme of ""Coexisting with Nature,"" was designed by world-renowned architect Kurokawa Kisho. Exhibitions include works by Kodama Katei , who was Yamanouchi-machi native and a Nanga painter, and Yoshimoto Yumiko, a contemporary glass artist."
  • Saku Municipal Museum of Modern Art
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Saku-shi Sarukubo 35-5 Komaba Park
    "An art museum located in Komaba Park near central Saku City. Their permanent exhibition features one of Japan's most famous painters, Hirayama Ikuo, and his masterpiece called ""Bukkyo Denrai."" Planned exhibits are also sometimes held. Since opening in 1983 the museum has received many donations from collectors and artists. This includes a collection from the late Yui Ichiji of Nihonga, oil paintings, and crafts. Their current collection contains over 3,000 pieces."
  • Takato Museum of Arts
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Ina-shi Takatomachi Higashitakatoo 400
    An art museum which displays pieces by Ina City-affiliated artists Fusetsu Nakamura, Takuji Nakamura, and Ikuo Hirayama located on the south side of Takato Castle Site Park. The museum's Harada Collection, assembled by Masao Harada over a 50 year period, spans 668 pieces. In addition to art exhibits, the museum also holds concerts and art classes for children in order to cultivate the next generation of artists. A grass lawn in front of the museum is also used to hold outdoor concerts. The museum's lobby has floor-to-ceiling windows from which visitors can enjoy a view of the museum's garden, cherry trees and Takato Lake. The museum cafe also commands a view of the Central and Southern Japan Alps.
  • Little Museum in a Village of Picture Books Okaya Main Branch
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Okaya-shi Osachi Gongen 4-6-13
    A 10-minute drive from Shimosuwa Station on the JR Chuo Line. This little art museum, dedicated to picture books, displays works of art by painters active in the field today as well as pioneers of the art form; the museum also holds special exhibitions. Swiss author Bettina Hurlimann believed adults who seriously or even passingly enjoy children's books will find each other, and inspired by his words, the museum aims to be a place where such people can find each other. The museum holds a variety of special exhibitions throughout the year and is a place where everyone from children to adults can enjoy themselves. The museum's original merchandise is also quite popular.
  • Sakae Village International Illustrated Letter Time Capsule Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Shimominochi-gun Sakaemura Hokushin 2503
    "A five-minute drive from Morimiyanohara Station. This museum was built to preserve for future generations the illustrated letters submitted by the public for the ""Illustrated Letters for the 21th Century"" project conducted in 2000. The museum has also gathered illustrated letters from other projects and its collection consists of around 1.2 million illustrated letters. The museum has a free illustrated letter creation corner where reservation-only illustrated letter classes are held; the museum can also lend you everything you need to make an illustrated letter, and people of all ages can have fun making their very own illustrated letter. The museum shop sells original materials for making illustrated letters. Note that the museum is closed in winter from December to April."
  • Osawa Sake Brewery Folk Customs Museum
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Saku-shi Motai 2206
    A 20-minute drive from Sakudaira Station and a 25-minute drive from the Saku Interchange. A museum situated on the grounds of the Osawa Sake Brewery along with the Shinano Sanrin Art Museum operating out of a remodeled building once used for yeast fermentation. Exhibits include tools used to make sake and a sake jar, today the oldest extant sake vessel in Japan, which was created in the same year the company was founded in 1689. Visitors can also see many materials relating to local history such as an edict proclaiming a prohibition on Christianity and an ancient map pf Mochizuki Castle. Visitors can taste and purchase sakes on the first floor; the Shinano no Kataribe junmai sake, only sold here, is particularly recommended.
  • Komoro Highlands Museum Shiratori Eisetsu Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Komoro-shi Hishidaira 2805-1
    An art museum located near the top of Mt. Iizuna identifiable by its hexagonal steeple. The museum exhibits key pieces from the more than 50 year long career of Nihonga Japanese painter Eisetsu Shiratori, who was born in Komoro City and served as a member of the Japan Art Academy. The museum also displays works by Eisetsu's mentor Shinsui Ito, plus many works by locally-born artists and painters connected to the Komoro Gijuku school. Each year in summer, the museum holds an exhibition of work by insect photographer Kazuo Unno and, in winter, the museum hosts the Japan Art Direction Exhibition, which is only held at three locations nationwide.

Nagano Areas

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Nagano prefecture is an exciting mix of mountains, hot spring monkeys, and preserved Edo history. At the heart of the Japanese Alps, Nagano is one of the country’s most popular destinations, whether in winter for its snow sports and the much-loved Jigokudani Monkey Park or in the warmer months for discovering the undulating hills on foot. For fantastic Edo architecture, head to the Kiso Valley for a 60-kilometer stretch of quaint wooden buildings that marked the Nakasendo route 200 years ago.

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