Take pleasure in viewing the artistic collection inside, admire the steel framed architecture outside, and daydream while dining at an ocean view table watching the sailboats drift along the horizon. Welcome to the Yokosuka Museum of Art and it’s restaurant, Acquamare di Acqua Pazza!
Located off of seaside Route 16 in Yokosuka, you can easily spend a few hours here before or after some fun in the sun at nearby Kannonzaki Beach. The fairly new museum built in 2007 offers underground parking for a nominal fee, especially with a paid admission ticket to the museum and validation from Acquamare, if you decide to grab a bite to eat.
I’ve only been to one other museum in Japan (view my photo story on The National Art Center, Tokyo) and this was quite the contrast. Surrounded by natural beauty, the main entrance faces Tokyo Bay with walkways along the perimeter that lead to a secondary access located on the rooftop terrace surrounded by lush Yokosuka mountains. The steel-grated rooftop walkway design (access not recommended for those wearing high heels) reminded me of a splash of water with its unexpected curves leading you to the sky blue views of the bay and observatory entrance.
According to a small sign inside the observatory, you have just entered the “Lover’s Sanctuary.” A place to “input the joy and the magic of encounters, blissful marriages, and raising a happy home….” A telescope is available for those excited to discover more of what the oceanscape has to offer. To purchase museum tickets, take the elevator a few floors down or walk the spiral staircase leading towards the admission desk.
The exhibit spaces are nested in white boxes with circle-shaped cutout windows, all encased in glass walls that invite the natural light. Photography is only permitted in the admission hall, so you’ll have to visit in person to admire the entire art collection. Traditional Japanese fabric dividers, noren, hang between the Special Exhibit Halls on the main floor. The rest of the gallery can be viewed at basement level where most of the pristine white walls stretch to the second floor ceiling. A few of the pieces will have descriptions written in English, but most are in Japanese.
After you have strolled through the various exhibition halls, gallery and free space, I highly recommend dining at Acquamare, which is located off the main entrance. At 2pm on a weekday, the wait time was about 15 minutes. They offer special seasonal dishes in addition to their standard lunch and dinner menu. The English-speaking waiter who kindly described the choices available for lunch also offered an English menu to browse. For a party of two, our check was just shy of 3,000 yen for a pizza, dessert and organic cola. All were very delicious on a hot summer day!