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Kakegawa Stained Glass Museum

Enjoy the beauty of richly coloured stained glass

Kakegawa is home to a handful of attractions, most of them clustered together around the town's castle about ten minutes north of the station. The newest of them is the Stained Glass Museum, which is exactly what it sounds like, a small but enjoyable museum dedicated to stained glass.

The building looks appealingly like a middle-ages chapel, with white plaster walls and wooden beams and struts, which I suppose are there for decoration rather than earthquake resistance. The theme continues inside, as there's an airy vaulted ceiling, arches from one room to the next, and colourful patterns on the floor where sunlight is coming in through the windows. It has the same feeling too, with a hushed, reverent atmosphere, like a genuine place of worship.

The windows on display are all religious in theme, with bible scenes, portraits of saints, and a few rather unexpected images: Mary (I guess) playing a church organ as two angels look on, King Solomon carrying a model of what seems to be a mosque, two people looking unhappy as a city burns away in the background. What struck me straight away was the richness of the colours - deep red robes, vivid blue skies and backgrounds, radiant gold for saints' haloes and Jesus's hair.

I also enjoyed being able to see the windows up close, rather than far away high up in the wall of a church or cathedral. I could see just how much craftsmanship went into their creation: the subtlety of the expressions on the faces, realistic touches like the drape of the robes, the intricate detail of the leaves, hair, borders, and hundreds of other parts of every image. I took my time to happily admire all the windows on display, enjoying the beauty and artistry.

As well as the windows, there's a display of glazier's tools, and another showing step by step how stained glass images are created; the explanation was all only in Japanese, but the pictures gave an insight into just how painstaking a process it is. And finally, there's also a small gift shop by the entrance, selling cards, chocolates, and ornaments made with stained glass.

The museum is immediately behind the Ninomaru Art Museum, a couple of minutes from the castle; admission is ¥500, and you make a small saving if you buy a combined ticket for both museums. It's open from 9:00am to 5:00pm daily except Mondays, but opens on Monday and closes on Tuesday if a National Holiday falls on a Monday.

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