Miho Museum in Japan

Traveling around Japan: Miho Museum near Kyoto – Amusing Japan – LiveJournal

This morning, rain has been tapping in droplets, falling from the trees onto the sidewalk. It’s overcast in Tokyo, and just yesterday I didn’t know where to get away from the Kyoto heat. It’s funny, as soon as I get home, the familiar things, along with the different weather, overshadow the piling up of new impressions, raptures, and surprises. Right now, sitting at my computer with a cup of coffee near the window overlooking the Sumida River, I will remember the most vivid of Kyoto experiences reeking of smokestacks, cinnamon, and soy sauce – Miho.

Miho. That’s the name of the most mysterious and amazing museum I’ve ever been to. It’s about an hour’s drive from Kyoto. The museum is surrounded by green hills, no settlements around, incredibly beautiful scenery, and an overhanging fog that adds a bit more mystery to the already more than mysterious atmosphere. Miho is not advertised in the press – it is not a municipal museum. The treasury belongs to the Shumei family, the spiritual leader of one of Japan’s religious-mystic sects. Most Japanese, not to mention foreigners, have no idea of the existence of this striking museum, whose main exhibit is himself. Miho is a house museum, for each individual object on display was specially planned for space and lighting even in the construction project. The museum was built by Pei, one of the most celebrated architects of the 20th century and an American of Chinese descent. The same Pei who once did the unthinkable by building the famous pyramid in the Louvre. Being completely unknown in Japan, Miho is as if a metaphor for this mysterious and unique country, only by approaching it can you know and understand it, and then – be sure – you will discover the boundless abysses!

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I arrived at the station in a cab, so it is easier not to get lost. The cab driver, in his sixties, turned out to be un-Japanese and entertained me the whole way with stories about his travels. Last year he visited Russia: Khabarovsk, Vladivostok, Irkutsk. With pleasure he described “borscht”, jam, which is eaten with big spoons and drunk with small sips of tea, fishing, Baikal. Of the cities I’ve seen, Vladivostok is “namba van”! Ancient, wooden Kyoto, covered in red umbrellas and lanterns, saw me off at a superfuturistic train station. Glass walls, airy ceilings, openwork patterns of aluminum . This building is an alluring chill in summer, the Snow Queen in winter.


“During the Tai Dynasty, there lived a fisherman in the village of Wu-ling. One day his boat was carried away by the current and he lost his usual way. Following the river, the boat sailed to a place from which it was impossible to take one’s eyes off: a peach grove stretched along the shore to the horizon, and there was no end to it. The fisherman got out of the boat and, drawn by curiosity, began to go deeper into the grove. Then a hill appeared before him, in which he saw a crevice. What he saw struck him with its unexpectedness – a bright light was shining through the crevice in the hill. “

This ancient Chinese legend of a lost and rediscovered paradise was the first pebble in the foundation of the museum, one of its concepts, and finally the link between the Shomei family’s client and architect Pei, a legend known and loved by both of them, and one of the starting points of their relationship. We need not explain that the idea for the museum did not come to Mihoko Koyama’s mind to create something pompous and grandiose so that others could marvel at the family wealth, nor did Pei undertake the commission out of mercantile considerations. And yet, to understand how this grandiose scheme came about and was realized, it is worth getting to know these extraordinary individuals.

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Fifteen minutes by train, mountains and small settlements in hollows flash by the window – it’s so pleasant to see such landscapes after the urban and chaotic Tokyo. Ishiyama Station is no different from its other provincial sisters: regardless of the country, they are all practically the same. Globalization has put them all on the same page: in front of the station – the unchanging McDonald’s, buses – long live the eighties! Low tenement houses cling to one another, the wires of innumerable antennas intertwine and hang over the heads of passersby in the narrow passageways between the houses. Here I take the bus, the only line that goes to Miho.

Miho Museum

Miho Museum is a remote museum of ancient art from the tourist center of Japan and hidden from prying eyes by the thickness of the rock.

Japan has always been fascinated by the abundance of unique places of great historical significance. The cultural heritage of this country is large and diverse, and no matter where it went traveler can always find any museum or landmark.

There are so many works of art in Japan that much of it does not enjoy much popularity, because many of them are not marked in any tourist guides and brochures.

The Miho Museum building in Mt.

It is rather difficult to stumble upon the Miho Museum by chance, as it is located in a remote area in the mountains near the town of Shigaraki. The Miho Museum is built directly on a mountain, which in itself is quite unusual.

Most of the room is recessed into the mountain range, while the one on the surface consists mostly of glass. Thanks to the original architectural design, the building is always full of sunshine and fresh mountain air, what to say about the views.

The history of the museum begins in 1997: its creation was conceived by one of the richest Japanese women named Mihoko Koyama and realized thanks to the genius of the American architect Bei Yuimin.

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The visitor will only see the entrance to the museum after walking through a mountain tunnel of brushed steel and then through a suspension bridge, the view from which is simply amazing.

The interior of the room is made in light brown tones of marble, and the design is unique down to the smallest detail, to the fact that the dishes in the restaurant are handmade, and the food is prepared exclusively from natural products supplied from the nearest farm.

The collection of exhibition items has been assembled since as far back as 1970. At the moment it has about three thousand items, but each of them is a special historical value, not just any thing.

As in many Japanese museums, the exhibit is constantly being updated, so no more than three hundred objects are on display at a time in the Miho Museum. The only exceptions are the most important items that are always on public display.

Despite its low publicity, the museum has one of the most valuable collections of both Japanese and world ancient art, ranging from Greek statues to Tang ceramics. The main theme of the exhibitions is the Great Silk Road, and the objects are chosen in direct connection with it. A unique series of Chinese stone reliefs and one of the first Buddha statues created by Gandhara masters can be seen here.

The collection of Iranian and Mesopotamian art is one of the most valuable in the world, because there are very few items associated with these territories. The exhibit is represented by unique silver drinking horns. The bottom part of the rhytons is made in the form of the head of some animal, whether it is a dog, a horse, a ram or even a man. The pearl of the collection can be called a chic horn, the throat of which smoothly flows into the body of a lynx, in a jump caught a pheasant. This work of ancient art is worth seeing with your own eyes: the accuracy of detail work is striking and brings a true aesthetic pleasure. The muzzle of the lynx is so skillfully executed that one can almost hear its roar, and the dynamics of the bird’s wings expresses the desperation and despair that the hunter’s prey feels just before it dies.

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In addition to Miho’s own exhibits, the museum’s exhibitions are supplemented with items borrowed from other museums. Each exhibit is carefully thought through and designed according to the theme of the exhibition.

In addition to Miho’s own exhibits, the museum’s exhibitions are supplemented with items borrowed from other museums. Each exhibit is carefully thought through and designed according to the theme of the exhibition.

You can see the museum’s schedule on the website with the same name. It should be noted that the Miho museum does not work all year round, but only during certain seasons, so there is a high probability of catching it closed if you do not specify the possible time of visit in time.

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