The buildings at Hara Museum ARC are designed by Japanese architect Arata Isozaki (Photo: karinckarinc / CC BY 2.0)
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Hara Museum ARC

Contemporary art at the foothills of Mt. Haruna

Tokyo's Hara Museum of Contemporary Art is one of Japan's oldest contemporary art museums. A little further afield in Gunma Prefecture you'll find Hara Museum ARC, which is an annex of the original. Surrounded by lush nature at the foothills of Mt. Haruna, the museum's buildings are designed by Japanese architect and urban designer Arata Isozaki. Before you head inside you'll find numerous permanent outdoor exhibitions by the likes of Andy Warhol and Olafur Eliasson among others, so take some time to explore the grounds.

Inside the unique premises, there are regular exhibitions with works from both Japanese and international contemporary artists. It's worth taking a look at the museum website's exhibition list before your visit, so you can see what will be on display. The museum closes during the changing of exhibitions too, so bear that in mind.

Alongside the thought-provoking contemporary art to observe, Hara Museum ARC prides themselves on their events program, which includes the likes of lectures, performances, workshops, and other educational activities.

The museum has a cafe on the premises, which serves up a range of meals, desserts, and beverages. There's also a gift store if you're after a souvenir from your visit, which sells an array of fun contemporary art posters and books, as well as works from Gunma-based artisans.

Since the onset of COVID-19, the museum has taken additional steps to protect patrons and staff, including hand sanitizer at the entrance, socially distanced ground markings to ensure space in any queuing situations, and installation of plastic shields at the cash register in the museum shop and cafe.

Getting there

By Train:

From Tokyo, take either the Joetsu or Hokuriku Shinkansen to Takasaki. From there, change to the Joetsu local line and alight at Shibukawa Station. From Shibukawa, Hara Museum ARC is a 10 minute taxi ride or 15 minute bus ride away - take the Ikaho Onsen bus until you reach the Green Bokujo Mae stop.

By Bus:

Take an expressway bus from Shinjuku, Tokyo to Ikaho Onsen and get off at Shibukawa. From Shibukawa, Hara Museum ARC is 10 minutes away by taxi or 20 minutes away by bus (Ikaho Onsen bus to Green Bokujo Mae). For details and timetable information, visit the JR Kanto Bus website.

By Private Vehicle:

Take the Kan-etsu Expressway until you reach the Shibukawa Ikaho Interchange. Head in the direction of Ikaho Onsen for 8 kilometers (approximately a 15 minute drive) until you reach the Green Bokujo Ranch. Parking is available on-site.

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Elizabeth S 3 years ago
Art and a mountain view. This calls for a day trip.
Kim Author 3 years ago
Gunma is filled with great finds like this!
Sherilyn Siy 3 years ago
What is inside that curious metal structure in the foregrond of the third photo?
Kim Author 3 years ago
The best way to describe it is like a chamber that reflects light! Here's a bit more detail about it:
Sleiman Azizi 3 years ago
Wow, that view is the art!
Sleiman Azizi 3 years ago
Yes ma'am.
Bonson Lam 3 years ago
What a beautiful building to house these artworks, it reminds me a bit like a farmhouse with geometric elements. Isozaki also designed a number of buildings on the Bond University campus as well.
Kim Author 3 years ago
I didn't know that! Very cool!

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