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Koriyama City Museum of Art

Enjoy a range of art in an attractive setting

Arriving in Koriyama around midday, I checked into my hotel, had a late lunch, then went to the information centre. Armed with leaflets on the town's few attractions, I decided to spend the afternoon hiding from the high sun in the art museum.

It's attractively located, on a forested slope to the east of the town centre. As you get to the entrance, there's a stylised landscape of cut stone, where you'll find a fun sculpture of an airborne rabbit balancing on a bell.

The interior is airy and sleek, with a modern aesthetic featuring lots of wood. There's plenty of light, high ceilings, and the spacious exhibition rooms are good for properly viewing the larger paintings.

The permanent collection features an eclectic mix of artworks: classical British landscapes and portraits, striking modern abstracts, charming decorative tableware and ceramics, Japanese prints and lithographs. My favourites were two very cool sculptures by British artist Antony Gormley, each consisting of scores of small metal bars welded together into coherent form.

When I was visiting, the special exhibition was one of kakejiku, Japanese painted scrolls, mostly of bijin (beautiful women). It was interesting to see the different styles of different artists: some scrolls were vibrantly colourful, some more muted; some were very traditional in execution, others a little more liberal, slices of life with touches of quiet humour.

Before you leave, you might drop by at the gift shop, which sells a range of prints, postcards, scarves, magnets and other artsy little souvenirs, or at the cafe, where you can rest and admire your purchases. There's also a studio where events such as concerts and film screenings are sometimes held, and a small library of art-related books and periodicals, most in Japanese, but with a handful in English.

Getting there

I was told it would be a 25-minute walk from Koriyama station, but it was actually 40, with not much to see along the way, except for a couple of fun statues standing like sentinels by the road. If you're not driving, the museum is on a bus route, which runs every hour or so to and from the station.

The museum is open daily except Mondays from 9:30am to 5:00pm, with a closure for the New Year holidays. When a public holiday falls on a Monday, the museum is open that day and closed on the Tuesday.

Admission to the permanent collection costs ¥200, with discounts for groups and students, and free entrance for senior citizens and children of junior high school age or younger. The charge for a special exhibition varies with the exhibition.

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