A Soothing Trip to the Ethereal Yokosuka Museum of Art

It takes a few trains to travel from Tokyo to the Port of Yokosuka, and then to the Yokosuka Museum of Art by the sea. The museum is almost transparent and seems to melt into its surroundings in perfect harmony, making it equally captivating inside and out. Suspended between sky and sea in the form of a giant glass box, the museum is like a gift from the heavens – you can dream away and listen to time in this beautiful, soothing space. Here’s what our visit to the Yokosuka Museum of Art was like, complete with photos that show off its charm.

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※Article by commissioned writer

Summer is long gone, yet summer dreams are timeless.

Japan has a great variety of art museums, and many are worth spending time to visit. Both public and private institutions are well-designed and managed.

The Yokosuka Museum of Art in Yokosuka, Kanagawa is one of the best places to visit near Tokyo in the summertime. It is particularly popular among Taiwanese tourists, having been mentioned in the book "Utopia Museum" by Lee Ching-Chih a few years ago. The sight of the museum blending in with the sea and sky graced the book cover, luring readers to go and see it with their own eyes.

While going to an art museum is usually an indoor activity, it is better to visit Yokosuka Museum of Art on a sunny day to fully appreciate the visual feast. It takes some time to travel there from Tokyo; you can take the JR Yokosuka Line to Yokosuka Station or the Keikyu Main Line to Maborikaigan Station.

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Stepping out at Maborikaigan, you will be greeted by the sun shining high in the crystal clear sky, along with the gentle sea breeze. To reach the museum, transfer to a bus, where along the way you can admire the scenic coastal view. Faraway warships are visible against the blue ocean and sky, as the Port of Yokosuka is a famous naval port. This was where the "Black Ships" of Commodore Perry arrived to force the Japanese government to open its ports, putting an end to the 260-year-old Edo Period.

The Yokosuka Museum of Art is located in Kannonzaki Park, home to the first-ever Western-style lighthouse in Japan. The museum was built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the City of Yokosuka. The way the building appears as one with the environment is nothing short of magnificent, and no photo can do it justice.

The interior of the museum is connected with the outside world via glass walls, creating a spaciousness that allows visitors to admire the exhibits and scenery from all sides. Its rectangular shape is similar to the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, although the latter is a bright white box whereas the Yokosuka Museum dissolves into its surroundings.

Much of Yokosuka Museum of Art is actually underground, as if it were an earth-dwelling animal stealing a peek at the world and the ocean up here. The museum might appear to be a modern architectural piece at first glance, but on closer inspection, you will find that traditional Japanese aesthetics are well-integrated into the design.

Inside the museum, there is an excellent Italian restaurant named ACQUA MARE, where guests can savor delicious food with a sea view. Signature dishes include seafood pasta and pizza. You can even hear the waves if you dine in the outdoor area, although during the summer it would be cooler to stay indoors.

By visiting various art museums in the country, you can come to appreciate the Japanese people's creativity and understanding of spatial design. An art museum is more than just a place to hold art exhibitions; it should be a form of art itself, independent from the flow of time, so that visitors might fully immerse themselves into the space and be impressed by its beauty.

If there is an art museum in heaven, Yokosuka Museum of Art might be built in its image. Relax, daydream and listen to the stream of time trickling by – it will be a wonderfully soothing experience you will never forget.

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Kanto Feature

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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