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An Art Lover's Tour Through Japan

Exploring the fine arts of Japan is something many visitors love to do. But where to begin? The sheer variety and number of exhibitions, architecture, gardens, sculpture etc. is mind-boggling, and trying to create a manageable itinerary can be difficult. While not nearly a comprehensive glimpse of the marvels that reside throughout the country, we have put together an art tour which will offer visitors a taste of traditional through modern art, and will surely leave them with a wish to come back and explore more!

Our first stop will be Naoshima island, located off the coast of Shikoku's Kagawa prefecture. Naoshima is known for its art museums including the Benesse House Museum, the Chichu Art Museum, the Lee Ufan Museum, the Art House Project and the ANDO MUSEUM. The entire island offers modern and contemporary works of art which viewers can enjoy in an unparalleled viewing experience.

Yayoi Kusama "Pumpkin"
Photo: Shigeo Anzai

Taking a ferry back to Shikoku island, but still in Kagawa prefecture, let's visit the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum Japan which is so natural and authentic that one of his creative partners and old friend once said, "…visitors may almost anticipate meeting the artist himself, walking in his garden." You will undoubtedly be moved by the works of this sculptor, designer, architect, and craftsman who believed strongly in the social role that art played, and that it is art that drew us closer to understanding our place within nature.

A wave goodbye to Shikoku, and we find ourselves back on the main island, heading north to the Adachi Museum of Art in Shimane prefecture which has modern treasures including paintings, ceramics and sculptures and six spectacular gardens which have earned the title "Best Garden in Japan" four times consecutively since 2003.

Settling in for a trip northeast towards Ishikawa prefecture, we soon arrive at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa in the capital city of Kanazawa which houses works of famous contemporary artists from Japan and all over the world. The circular building with no front or back is itself a riveting piece of architecture.

© Akimasa Yuasa / JNTO

Here's hoping that it inspires you to come back and explore in greater depth the magnificent works of art that Japan holds, from the ancient to the modern.

If you are interested in exploring the fine arts of Japan, here is a good tour.

Japan: Ancient Truth, Living Art
by Cornell Alumni Association Travel Program
from $9,950 per person double occupancy
Days: September 20 – September 30, 2015
For more info >>

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