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カテゴリーのアイコン Life in Japan
5 Reasons to Visit the Hokusai Museum in Sumida-ku if You Live in Japan
Nov 14, 2023
5 min read
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Japan, you know, is famous for drawing and art. When people travel to Japan, they usually plan to visit many art museums. There are a number of large museums in Japan, and these days, even on weekdays, they are packed with people. So even if you do go to an art museum, you may not be able to enjoy the works as slowly as you would like.

In this article, I would like to talk about an art museum called the "Sumida Hokusai Museum," which many people do not know much about.

The Basics of Katsushika Hokusai

In old Japan, there was a man who was famous for his many paintings. His name was Katsushika Hokusai, and he lived in the Edo period (1603-1868).

Hokusai was born in 1760 in what is now the city of Tokyo. He is famous for his paintings called "Kanagawa Okinamiura" and a series of woodblock prints called "Fugaku Sanjurokkei" (Thirty-six views of Mt. Fugaku).

There are several things to know about Hokusai.

  1. Ukiyo-E Art: Hokusai was good at depicting everyday life and people enjoying themselves. These were called "ukiyoe," and they depicted life in the olden days of Japan and the joys of society.

  2. What He Painted: Hokusai painted a wide variety of subjects, including landscapes, animals, historical events, mythological creatures, and everyday scenes. Hokusai was especially good at painting landscapes, and his paintings are so detailed it gives the impression that people and nature are in harmony with each other.

  3. Fugaku Sanjurokkei (Thirty-six views of Mt. Fuji): Hokusai created this painting between 1830 and 1833. It shows Mt. Fuji from various angles and in different weather conditions with large waves in the front.

  4. Influence on Painters: Hokusai's paintings had a great influence on painters in Europe. Especially the painters of the latter half of the 19th century, who are called Impressionists. Hokusai's unique style of composition, colors and attention to detail in his paintings gave many ideas to famous painters such as Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet.

  5. A Man Who Kept Changing: Hokusai painted for more than 60 years, painting under different names and experimenting with different styles and techniques. He continued to paint until 1849, when he died at the age of 88.

Why Do We Recommend the Sumida Hokusai Museum?

Credit: cowardlion/Shutterstock.com

The Sumida Hokusai Museum is not very famous in Japan. I think that this is because Hokusai was Japanese, and many Japanese people have a hard time believing that their culture is truly amazing. Because they have been exposed to Japanese culture from a young age, they tend to overlook the importance of it.

That is why many Japanese are more interested in exhibitions with foreign paintings and sculptures instead of their own culture. However, there are several reasons why I recommend the Sumida Hokusai Museum in Sumida-ku, Tokyo.

I will tell you more about them below.

1. Reasonable Price

The Sumida Hokusai Museum has regular exhibits you can see all the time, and it costs 400 yen if you go alone. If you go with friends or family, you can all see them together at a cheaper price of 320 yen per person. There is so much to see at this museum, and it doesn't cost that much, so it is a very good deal.

2. Small Crowds

Many of Japan's large museums are visited by both domestic and foreign visitors. This is why they are often so crowded and jammed like a busy train. I wonder if you can really take your time to look at the paintings when there are so many people around. The Sumida Hokusai Museum is not a big building, but you can enjoy the paintings in a relatively relaxed atmosphere because it doesn't get too busy.

3. There Are of Hokusai's Less-Famous Works to See

What I found particularly interesting at the Sumida Hokusai Museum was a small book that looked like a comic. In the book, I could see how much Hokusai loved to draw with many sketches. I also thought that if Hokusai were alive today, he might have drawn a famous manga like NARUTO. I think it is worth a visit to the museum just to see this little book. For more information, check out this link.

4. Well-Stocked Souvenirs

After enjoying Hokusai's wonderful paintings, there is a store where you can buy souvenirs. There you will find magnets, books, hand towels, posters, and many other cute things for sale. These souvenirs will surely make you happy when you give them to your family and friends in your own country. It is also fun to find your own unique travel memories here.

5. Normal Life in Sumida

Sumida-ku is quiet and peaceful. There are many ordinary houses here, and ordinary life is lived. There is also a small park near the Sumida Hokusai Museum, where you might see local children playing. Coming to this museum has good advantages for those who want to enjoy a relaxing place on their trip.

Relax at the Sumida Hokusai Museum!

Credit: cowardlion/Shutterstock.com

The Sumida Hokusai Museum may be a secret place in Japan, a place that is not well known and not too many people visit. You are not allowed to take pictures at the museum, so you can leave your smartphone at home. Here, you can immerse yourself in the world of Hokusai Katsushika's amazing paintings.

The pleasant experience at this museum will be a good medicine for your tiredness from busy days and trips. Please visit the Sumida Hokusai Museum for a great day out!

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