NOTE: THE MUSEUM IS CURRENTLY CLOSED FOR MAINTENANCE, AND WILL REOPEN IN SPRING 2021
Visiting Fukushima city one time, I gave myself a couple of days to take a leisurely look round the city's sights, as they are pretty spread out. It was the height of summer, so I decided that the afternoons would be indoor time to give myself a break from the sun. Cue a trip to the museum.
It's pleasantly situated at the foot of some low hills to the north of the city centre, in an attractive garden with a gentle stream and a fun sculpture of a giant marching flower. The museum and neighbouring prefectural library are both handsome buildings, of modern, streamlined design, but with a classical aesthetic.
The lobby is an impressive place, a large space with a high vaulted ceiling, the hushed atmosphere of a cathedral, and a couple of interesting sculptures to admire. The exhibition rooms are also spacious, giving you room to view the larger paintings from the distance they require.
The museum collection consists largely of Japanese art, much of it by local artists: I saw some inventive abstract painted screens, striking modern sculpture, charming portraits and still lives. From overseas, there were works by Renoir and Pissarro, and a number of paintings by renowned Lithanian-American artist Ben Shanh, including some of his series about the Daigo Fukuryu Maru (Lucky Dragon Five), the fishing boat caught in the blast of a Bikini nuclear test. Special exhibitions tend also to focus on Japanese art; past exhibitions have included Studio Ghibli backgrounds, paintings of the Edo era (1603-1868), and the influence of Japanese art on western artists.