The water feature in front of the museum (Photo: Peter Sidell)

Fukushima Prefectural Museum of Art

Local and international art in a striking building

The water feature in front of the museum (Photo: Peter Sidell)
Peter Sidell   - 2 min read


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.

Getting there

The museum is some way north of the station; if you're feeling energetic, you might walk it in about half an hour. If not, you can take a train on the local Kotsu Iizaka line to Bijutsukan Toshokan Mae station, or the Momorin city loop bus. It's completely barrier-free, and wheelchairs are available for visitors.

It's open daily except Monday, from 9:30am to 5:00pm. If a public holiday falls on a Monday, the museum opens on the Monday and is closed the next day. Admission for the permanent collection costs ¥280; there are discounts for groups, and it's free for under-18s. The fee for special exhibitions varies with the exhibition.

Peter Sidell

Peter Sidell @peter.sidell

I came to Japan from Manchester, England in 2003, and have travelled a lot since then, around Japan and in Asia. When I'm not working, I write satire and perform stand-up comedy in and around Tokyo. Check YouTube for a taste.