It is somewhat strange to find a museum dedicated to Nikko in the middle of Gifu prefecture but the Sakurayama Nikkokan is definitely worth the visit. The Sakurayama Nikkokan features small-scale (1/10 scale) replicas of the Nikko-Toshogu shrine and other historical sites of Nikko. It took the 33 carpenters a total of 15 years to complete. The replicas are very detailed and give the visitors a different and interesting point of view compared to visiting the sites in person.
The Takayama festival, held in spring and autumn, is one of the most renowned festival in Japan. As part of the celebrations, big Yatai floats are pushed through the streets of Takayama. Although most of the Yatai are stored for the rest of the year, four of them are displayed year round in the Yatai Kaikan museum. Historical life-size figurines are used to recreate festival scenes of the past.
Takayama features many well-preserved buildings dating from the Edo period when the city was an important hub for Japanese merchants. To the North of Takayama, in the Houmeitaigumi preservation area, the Kusakabe Heritage House and the Yoshijima Heritage House are open to visitors. These small museums offer visitors an insight into the life of Takayama’s merchants in its glory days.
The Kyushu National Museum is one of the three national museums in Japan (the other three being in Tokyo, Nara and Kyoto). Exhibits at the museum mainly cover Japanese history. We did not have time to visit the museum but we did visit a small free exhibition gallery where one can play various games and instruments of Asian origin. There, I had the chance to play a real gong with a huge hammer, which was quite impressive.
The Kurashiki Museum of Folkcraft is located in a historical rice warehouse of the Bikan district. Many potteries, clothes and pieces of furniture are exposed at the museum, specialized in utilitarian objects. As such most of the pieces of the exhibit are of unknown origin as they were crafted by ordinary artisans for use in everyday life.
The 21st century museum of contemporary art in Kanazawa features modern art from around the world. The museum itself is an interesting piece of modern architecture with a circular design encircled by glass walls allowing for plenty of natural light to go through. One of the famous exhibit of the museum is Leandro Erlich’s “Swimming Pool”. Visitors can enter the swimming pool through an access from the basement. The pool is covered by a glass ceiling with a shallow layer of water that gives the illusion of a real pool to the observers above while other guests are walking at the bottom.
The Tokyo national Museum contains diverse exhibitions of Japanese cultural heritage with an impressive collection of art and archaeological artefacts, including many national treasures. We visited only one of the six buildings that forms the Tokyo National museum. The Honkan, which is the main building, exhibits Japanese artworks from Buddhist statues to elegant traditional clothes. A large collection of ancient weapons and armors is also on display.