OTSUKA MUSEUM OF ART
OTSUKA INTERNATIONAL MUSEUM
Naruto-city, Tokushima Prefecture
The Otsuka Museum of Art was built in 1998 in Naruto City, Tokushima Prefecture by the Otsuka Group to celebrate its 75th anniversary. It is the largest exhibition center in Japan and features life-sized reproductions of masterpieces of Western art from antiquity to the 20th century. Installations at the museum showcase works by Western masters such as Michelangelo, Monet, and Picasso.
The museum has begun to attract increasing attention after Kenshi Yonezu, a popular singer, performed live at its Sistine Hall at the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK, or Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai) music program. I visited the museum on a December day to appreciate the master paintings of the West displayed in a unique style.
Ceramic-Board Reproductions of Masterpieces
The museum shows over 1,000 master paintings in the Western style of art reproduced on ceramic boards made by Otsuka Ohmi Cermaics Co. Ltd, a subsidiary company of Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co.
Some of the original master paintings are threatened by damage due to fire, earthquakes, or other catastrophes. Thus, the technique of reproducing famed paintings by copying them onto ceramic plates appears to be an effective means of preserving the cultural heritage they represent because such ceramic reproductions are estimated to preserve their colors and shapes for approximately 2,000 years.
Distinctive Exhibition Style
The replicas of the masterpieces are arranged in chronological order beginning with Antiquity. Greek vases, Roman murals, and artifacts from the middle Ages including frescos and icons of Christendom are displayed on floor B3, which includes a reproduction of the Sistine Chapel.
The paintings of Renaissance masters including Leonardo da Vinci and Rafael as well as Baroque artists such as Rembrandt occupy the B2 level of the museum.
Baroque paintings by Goya and Modern art including Van Gogh’s Sunflowers and The Scream by Edvard Munch find place at the B1 level.
The First floor holds works 20th Century grouped thematically and features Picasso’s Guernica. The 2nd floor continues to show 20th century art but makes special space for self-portraits by Rembrandt.
The displays at this museum are matchless as they represent the continuity of Western art from its nascent stages to the 20th century.
A viewer can appreciate the masterpieces of Michelangelo, Monet, and Picasso in a single location. Second, one can compare the pre- and post- restoration versions of Michelangelo’s The Last Supper or witness seven paintings of Vincent van Gogh’s Sun flowers series in one room notwithstanding the fact that their originals are owned by discrete museums.
No security personnel stand guard in every room, and I could touch the paintings if I wanted. Above all, the museum accords visitors the extraordinary opportunity to learn the depth and perspectives of Western art and culture and to experience the manner in which painters through the centuries have explored the expression of sensory phenomena on canvas.
The Otsuka Museum of Art also encompasses a museum shop, Café Vincent (B3), Cafe de Giverny (B2), and Restaurant GARDEN (1F) where visitors can shop for mementos and relax.
Fresh sea food bowl at a museum restaurant
Admission fees: Adults ￥3,240
University students ￥2,160
Elementary, Jr. High and High school students ￥540
(All prices include consumption tax.)
Closed on Monday (The following day when Monday falls on a national holiday.)
Otsuka Museum of Art
Address: Naruto Park, Naruto-cho, Naruto-city, Tokushima 772-0053
How to get there:
Fly from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Tokushima Awaodori Airport (about 1 hour), where you take a bus to Otsuka Museum of Art (30 min.)
Resort Hotel Moana Coast
Address: 186-16, Takasago, Tosadomariura, Naruto-cho, Naruto-city, Tokushima
Telephone: +81-88-687-2255 (9:00 - 21:00)