If you are traveling in Japan and would like to know which place has the most number of museums and art galleries, look no further than Osaka (大阪). It is a delight for the artistically inclined and curious as the city is brimming with galleries, exhibitions, and events. If you’re truly inspired by art, then why not have these four places as your next travel destinations?
The National Museum of Art, Osaka (NMAO) is a Japanese art museum which mostly houses modern art related to the post-war era. This museum originated from the Expo Art Gallery (万国博美術館) in 1970 but was temporarily closed due to its aging condition in January 2004. It was demolished and turned into a car park but the exhibits were transferred to Nakanoshima (中之島).
Some of the artists who have contributed to the gallery are Pablo Picasso, Tsuguharu Foujita (藤田嗣治), Paul Cézanne, and Yasuo Kuniyoshi (国吉康雄). One of the world-class artists who also contributed is Andy Warhol, a leading artist of American pop culture who uses techniques such as silkscreen. Another is Tadanori Yokoo (横尾忠則), a graphic artist who works in various genres from commercial design to 3D art. Lastly is Yayoi Kusama (草間彌生), an artist who expresses her unique view of the world by using a polka dot motif.
The NMAO’s building was designed by César Pelli and the museum structure is evident of a modern architect’s art. The museum facilities are mostly located underground and its entrance has been inspired by contemporary art centering on the life force of bamboo.
Located next to the NMAO is the Osaka Science Museum (大阪市立科学館) consisting of a huge planetarium which shows the entire night sky as a digital image. This is one of the beautiful places wherein families can really enjoy.
The Osaka City Museum of Fine Arts is a museum that preserves many cultural properties consisting of 8,500 works of both the Japanese and Chinese. Many of them have been donated by the citizens. The museum is situated at the corner of Chausuyama (茶臼山町), the former residence of the Sumitomo family (住友家) who actually donated the museum. It underwent a sweeping renovation in the fall of 1979. The exhibit rooms underneath its front yard were built in the fall of 1992.
If you try walking along its dimly lit passageway, you’ll notice colorful paintings and ceramics displayed through a pale glass. This museum encourages the public to become more interested in the arts. As such, many events, such as seminars and lectures, are held here.
The tallest skyscraper in Japan is Abeno Harukas in Osaka. It is standing at a 300-meter height and is situated on top of the Kintetsu Osaka Abenobashi Station (近鉄 大阪阿部野橋駅). This building opened in March 2014 and consists of 64 floors.
On the 16th floor is the Abeno Harukas Art Museum which is a spacious gallery made with a soaring ceiling. It is located next to the elevators which give access to the observation deck. The museum doesn’t have a permanent collection but mostly stages collections of both Western and Buddhist art. Some of the exhibitions featured in the place include art from Mt. Koya (高野山) in Wakayama Prefecture (和歌山県) and French post-Impressionism art by Georges-Pierre Seurat and Raoul Dufy. Many other national treasures and cultural properties can also be found in this museum.
The Abeno Harukas Art Museum is open from 10 am to 8 pm on weekdays, but is closed on Mondays. On the same floor is an outdoor garden for visitors to enjoy the great views of Osaka. Some of the places visible here are the Tsutenkaku Tower (通天閣) and Shitenno-ji Temple (四天王寺).
The Museum of Oriental Ceramics is a very stylish museum founded in 1982 and is regarded as one of the important assets in Osaka. It is also considered one of the best and largest ceramic collections in the world. It houses and displays over 6,000 items from Korea and China, including important works of art designated as National Treasures and Important Cultural Assets.
Some of the collections that draw a greater crowd from all over the world are the Ataka (安宅) Collection of Chinese and Korean Ceramics, which was donated by the 21 companies of the Sumitomo (住友) Group, and the Rhee Byung-Chang Collection of Korean Ceramics. These provide the public an aesthetic experience with a first-class collection.
Some of the National Treasures that you can find in the museum include the Celadon Vase with Iron Brown Spots and the Tenmoku Glaze Bowl with Silvery Spots. Important Cultural Properties include the Porcelain with Carved Lotus Design, the Celadon with Carved Peony Scrolls Design, the Celadon Vase with Phoenix Handles, and many more!
The Museum of Oriental Ceramics is also open on national holidays so this is a chance for families to bond.
There are many other interesting museums in Osaka besides the ones mentioned above. Some museums have striking modern appearances and structures which have much more to offer on the inside. Apart from these, there are also art galleries wherein you can enjoy more art. Many of these will grab your attention and can be an opportunity to meet new people. For art lovers out there, these are probably the best destinations for you.
Osaka has much more to offer as it is also home to various bucket list-worthy experiences which you can’t go wrong with. The best places depend on your personal interests and preferences. I hope that this information will help you decide on which places to visit if you are interested in art. And if you’re not into art, why not explore such places on your next travel?