Two of my friends planned to go to a museum called “Miho Museum” in Shiga. When I asked what is so special about the museum, one of my friends who is an architect said the architect who designed the museum was a famous one. My other friend, on the other hand, said she heard that the owner of the museum was rich enough to ask a famous architect to build a museum on an unlimited budget. Me, who knows nothing but love to explore places, decided to join the trip. Then I was surprised.
I was surprised that the museum is actually located in a very remote area. When they described it as “the museum in the mountain”, it literally meant so. Miho Museum, with an area of 247 acres, is located in Shigaraki mountains. Even though the location is remote, the enthusiasm of people is much bigger. When I went there, the bus was full with no seat for any extra person. By the way, you can reach the museum by taking Teisan Bus from Bus stop no. 3 at JR Ishiyama Station. It takes for about 50 minutes from there.
When you first arrive at the museum, there is a lobby where you can buy your ticket. But the museum itself is not in the same building as the ticket counter. The lady at the front desk explained me that we could enter the museum by simply strolling until the main entrance or by riding an electric cart. Of course, I chose to walk. I wondered what surprise would await me at the end of the walkway.
As I walked to the museum, I passed through a pathway full of wither trees followed by a beautiful tunnel. It was big and modern. When you step inside, it’s feels like entering a completely different world from the outside.
At the end of the tunnel, was a magnificent bridge to my utter bewilderment. It was framing the museum entrance in front of it. Colours of the autumn leaves in the surrounding area added a beautiful element to the landscape.
Entering the museum, I passed through the circular glass door and was greeted by another beautiful landscape that could be visible through the glass windows. I also admired the detailed architecture of the museum building. The roof is said to have its origins from traditional Japanese architecture, yet it feels so modern with a mix of glass and geometric design.
Inside, Miho Museum has a lot of antique collections. I am not a big fan of antiques, but I love to learn about history. They have collections from Egypt, West Asia, Greece, Rome, South Asia, China, and Japan. They also have a special exhibition that changes every once in a while. And by the way, I was surprised that they have an Islamic collection, too! My favorite part is reading history of West Asia, Greece, and Rome from the pamphlet that were provided at each exhibition room. However, if you would like to know more details about each antique material, you might want to rent the audio guide. It costs 500 yen.
After exploring the museum, I went to the souvenir shop. As a postcard collector, I bought one postcard with an aerial view of Miho Museum. They have many choices to choose your souvenirs, from illustrated books to scarves and t-shirts. In addition, for those of you who would like to take a rest while sipping coffee, they do provide such places too. There is a cafe located in the south wing of the main building of the museum and a restaurant located in the ticket building.
Oh by the way, in the souvenir shop I found out that the wither trees that I saw on the pathway towards the entrance are actually sakura trees! On the postcard, it looks very beautiful in spring.
My visit ended after about 4 hours exploring (and taking pictures in) the museum. It was a nice experience, as I enjoyed the relaxing view and learned new things from the history of the world. To those of you who are curious, do come and visit Miho Museum. You’ll be surprised, for sure!
Details: Miho Museum
Address: 300, Momodani, Shiragaki, Shiga 529-1814 Japan
Days & Hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 10:00 – 17:00 hrs
Closed on Monday. If a holiday falls on Monday, the museum will be closed on the following Tuesday. The Museum is also closed from 14th December, 2015 through 29th February, 2016. Next exhibition starts on 1st March through 15th May, 2016.
Admission: Individuals: Adults – 1100 yen, Students – 800 yen, Children (<16) – 300 yen; Groups: Adults – 900 yen, Students – 600 yen, Children (<16) -100 yen