Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura (Photo: Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura)
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The Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura [Closed]

Discover a new aspect of Kamakura

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The location on this page has been reported permanently closed.

Last updated: Jun 30, 2021

I have known of this museum for a long time, and also visited this area countless times, but for some reason this was the first time to step into this museum. It is the Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura, and the Kamakura Annex.

Kamakura is a very famous area for tourists both Japanese or visitors from overseas. It is a city that I also love to visit. But for many people including me, the purpose to go there is usually to visit some temples, shrines, shops, gourmet restaurants, and to walk in the beauty of nature.

This museum's main building is inside one of Kamakura's most famous spots, the Shinto shrine,​ Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu, . The founder of the Kamakura shogunate, Minamoto no Yoritomo, moved this shrine to its present location. Thanks to its scale and convenient location, this shrine draws a lot of tourists and has became Kamakura’s main tourist draw. When you enter the grounds after a 10-minute walk from Kamakura Station, you will find this museum on the left. This is a public museum and surprisingly, it was the first museum of modern art in Japan.

The architecture of the museum is simple and modern. I was impressed that it was built more than 60 years ago! This matches the landscape of Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu and Kamakura though it is getting a little old. I can understand why, however, this building was once chosen as one of the top 20 examples of modern architecture in Japan.

I went there to see an exhibition of two very famous French artists. I was very happy to see their drawings in such a beautiful and historical area. As I took my son with me, a curator explained the rules of how to enjoy and protect the art. I realized how much they treasure their works from that. At the same time, one of the staff members kindly lent a clipboard and a memo to my son at our request so that he could record his impressions of the drawings. The staff were very friendly.

The museum houses a café though we didn’t use it, but when I looked inside, it had a cozy atmosphere. You can use this café even if you don’t purchase an exhibition ticket. After you have immersed yourself in the art, and want to meditate and get away from the crowds, why don’t you take a break here?

Then we went to the annex of this museum. It was a 5 minute walk from the main building. I hesitated to go because our purpose was just to see the exhibition of French art. But we decided to go there and I was relieved not to miss the beautiful architecture of the annex and another great exhibition. The annex was surrounded by a hill and the atmosphere and the garden were also quiet and beautiful. If I had more time, I would have liked to stay and look around there.

Anyway, why don’t you add this fine museum of modern art to your Kamakura tour? It is at least worth seeing the architecture. You may discover a new aspect of Kamakura; one of real tranquility and serenity.


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