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Must-See Art and Cultural Hotspots in Japan


Nakanoshima Kosetsu Museum of Art

A state-of-the-art exhibition space, with high-transparency glass display cases and LED lighting.

The Nakanoshima Kosetsu Museum of Art opened in 2018 as the second exhibition venue of the Kosetsu Museum of Art located in Mikage, Higashinada Ward, Kobe (currently closed for reconstruction). It houses mainly Japanese and East Asian antique artworks collected by Murayama Ryohei (1850-1933), the founder of the Asahi Shimbun newspaper company. The collection ranges from swords and armors to Buddhist art, calligraphy, medieval and early modern paintings, and tea ceremony utensils, including 19 Important Cultural Properties and 33 Important Art Objects. Although located in a skyscraper in Osaka's premier business district of Nakanoshima, the museum offers a tranquil atmosphere where visitors can enjoy art away from the hustle and bustle outside. How about a visit?

Main works

Depicting a bridge surrounded by willow trees, along with water wheels and rounded gabions, this work features a series of motifs associated to Uji in Kyoto, a place celebrated in Japanese poetry since ancient times. The decorative use of gold and silver and the bold composition of the large golden bridge extending diagonally as the screen unfolds are captivating. The depiction of willows represents the change of seasons from spring to summer. Hasegawa Tohaku (1539-1610), a painter from Nanao in Noto Province (now Nanao City, Ishikawa Prefecture), here shows his diverse talents, including ink painting and painting on gold foil-pressed paper.

Important Art Object : Willows, Bridge, and Waterwheel, By Hasegawa Tohaku, Momoyama to Edo period, 16th-17th century

A tea bowl is a tool used for drinking tea in tea ceremonies. The body of this piece is covered with a copper-green glaze, with the inside painted in a white opaque glaze that partially flows out and overlaps with the green glaze. The unglazed part is decorated with green and blue overglaze motifs of hare's-foot fern edged with gold. The contrast between the abstract flow of the glaze and the figurative pattern is innovative. Nonomura Ninsei, believed to be a potter from Nonomura in Tanba Province (now Nantan City, Kyoto Prefecture), opened the Omuro kiln in front of the Ninna-ji Temple in Kyoto around 1647.

Teabowl with Hare's-foot-fern Motif in Overglaze Polychrome Enamels, By Nonomura Ninsei, Edo period, 17th century
  • Important Cultural Property: Standing Yakushi Nyorai (Skt. Bhaiṣajyaguru Tathāgata), Heian period, 9th century
  • Important Cultural Property: Battle of Lepanto and Map of the World, Edo period, 17th century
  • Important Cultural Property: Butai, By Liang Kai, Inscription by Dachuan Puji, China, Southern Song dynasty, 13th century
  • Important Cultural Property: Chigo Daishi (the Young Kukai Discussing with Various Buddhas in his Dream), Kamakura period, 13th century
  • Important Cultural Property: Illustrated Scroll of the Lotus Sutra, Kamakura period, 13th century
  • Important Cultural Property: Landscape, By Sesshu Toyo, Inscriptions by I Sun and Bak Hyeongmun, Muromachi period, 15th century
  • Important Cultural Property: Water Jar, Shino Type with Design of Pine and Woven Fence, Mino ware, Momoyama period, 17th century
  • Important Cultural Property: Long sword (tachi) Signed Masatsune, Heian period, 12th century