Echigo-Matsunoyama Museum: Explore Natural Science Buried in Snow

  • SPOT
  • Situated in Matsunoyama, Nigata of Japan is a large museum called Echigo-Matsunoyama Museum of Natural Science which appears as if it is in ruins every year due to harsh weather conditions.

    It was designed by Takaharu Tezuka, an architect who wanted to create the concept of this ‘ruins’ appearance. The museum centers around education and training in regards to natural science.

    About the Facility


    Matsunoyama is known for having heavy winter snowfalls and is why a great deal of time was spent in incorporating a natural setting into the place. The heavy snowfall is also the reason why there are Japanese beech trees based around the pattern of the ground. It is said that each tree is flattened by snow before it is given the chance to become stronger to grow. About 2,000 tons of thick snow falls heavily on the entire place which makes it look like it’s submerged in snow.


    The facility was planned to be divided into two units: a permanent base for scientists and a space for exhibitions. It has been shaped like a snake following the site’s pattern where you can also find some walking trails. The building, including the tower, has a total length of 160 meters and it gives a very spectacular view of the piles of snow outside.

    The Exhibits


    Visiting the place will lead you to a pathway covered with piles of snow. After a while, you will enter a tunnel which will provide relief from the cold weather. Various spaces have different angles for visitors to take a look at various exhibits. A must-see is the large butterfly collection consisting of various types and colors of very impressive butterflies. Another is “The Amusing Boxes” exhibit consisting of 200 drawers holding some oddments of nature such as snake skins and cicada shells.

    So, if you love winter and exploring natural science, then this museum is perfect for you and is a great way to enjoy the winter in Japan!

    Matsunoyama Website*Japanese Only


    Related Articles:
    See Class Stories in a Beautiful Forest Setting at Karuizawa Picture Book Museum
    Enjoy Art and Nature Together at the Uniquely Beautiful Pola Museum of Art
    Amazing Contemporary Art with a View at Mori Art Museum in Tokyo!