The art garden seen from the street (Photo: Peter Sidell)

Kataoka Tsurutaro Art Garden

Enjoy some charming artworks at this Fukushima museum

The art garden seen from the street (Photo: Peter Sidell)
Peter Sidell   - 3 min read

I first heard of Kataoka Tsurutaro on a visit to Kusatsu Onsen in Gunma, when I visited and thoroughly enjoyed the museum of his art that was next to my hotel there. So on a visit to Fukushima one time, I was delighted to find that he had a museum here too, and I made a point of making the short journey to visit it.

Born Shigeo Okino in Tokyo, he's something of a renaissance man. Before becoming known as an artist, he appeared on stage and TV in a range of variety and comedy shows, and has since won a number of awards for his acting. He's officially certified by the Indian government as a yoga instructor, and was also for some time a professional boxer.

A devout, scholarly greeting
A devout, scholarly greeting

Before I even got inside I was enjoying the atmosphere. There are Buddhist statues at the entrance, and a small courtyard thick with foliage and greenery, making it feel more like a temple than a museum. This continues inside, the wooden floors and earthy brown walls giving the interior a cheerily rustic feeling.

The main exhibition is of Kataoka's charming paintings, featuring fish, crabs, flowers on plain backgrounds in warm pastel colours. There are also many of his painted screens and ceramics, among them tiles with likenesses of Picasso and van Gogh. We can also get a look into a recreation of his studio, the paints and vessels laid out as if he's just popped out and will be back in a minute, and of a tea ceremony room.

In the little courtyard
In the little courtyard

When you've finished enjoying the artworks you can stop by the gift shop, which has a good range of souvenirs such as ceramics, prints and stationery with colourful local designs. There's also a restaurant, where I sat down to enjoy a tasty and reasonably priced lunch.

Getting there

The Art Garden is a couple of minutes' walk from Hanamizuzaka station, on the private local Iizaka line, about a twenty-minute ride from Fukushima station.

It's open daily from 9:00pm to 5:00pm (until 4:00pm in winter, and closing on Tuesdays in January and February). Admission costs JPY950 for adults, JPY700 for high school and junior high school students, with free admission for elementary school students or younger.

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.