The relatively quiet city of Yamaguchi boasts an amazing Center for Arts and Media, which includes a beautiful library, a cinema, a theater, and a never-ending display of various exhibitions. If you are visiting Yamaguchi, or you happen to live not far away, this is definitely a wonderful cultural place to visit! The center opened in November 2003 with the aim to attract artists and art lovers from all over Japan, and to offer upcoming creators a chance to showcase their talent.
There is an abundance of different art exhibitions throughout the year, and it includes every type of artistic expression; visual, sound, movement, architecture, engineering, and much more! It is not uncommon to see many robotic inspired pieces on display throughout the year, and there are even times when you can try them out yourself! Most of these displays are found in the main hallway and are free to view.
You won’t find the traditional type of plays in this center because it focuses on modern forms of theater and dance, and often combines them to create a whole new way of expression. Almost all of the performing arts are followed by a Q&A with the performers and the director, which often creates a wonderful atmosphere for discussion and it is also a great place to meet many like-minded people. The performing arts are not free to enter and the prices for each piece will vary, but it is usually around \ 1500.
The center has a beautiful cinema which shows movies from all over the world. You won’t find your regular blockbusters on this screen though, so don’t expect to watch the latest Hollywood movies here! What you will find though are many Japanese and international movies and indie pieces. Each movie ticket costs \1000.
The center attracts many modern and traditional musicians and it holds regular lives throughout the year. Again, you won’t see any commercially famous faces here, but there have been some wonderful modern and jazz pieces, as well as many very creative forms of music expression. Classical music is also available sometimes, but the center usually stages performances from individual singers and musicians or smaller bands.
For me, this is the gem of the center. There is a big library on the ground floor that is full of various books, music, manga, magazines, DVDs and a section that is dedicated to books that are in English, so even if you don’t speak any Japanese, you will still be able to find great books to rent. If you do want to learn Japanese though the library has a huge selection of Japanese grammar, kanji and phrase books that you can rent for free. There is no fee for joining the library, but I believe that you need to live in the Yamaguchi prefecture in order to do so. However, you can freely read and study from books inside the library if you don’t have a library card, as long as you don’t take them outside of the premises.
The Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media is certainly not a well-known place in Japan, yet, but it is definitely on a journey to becoming one!
Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media