I have to confess that I failed to use trip advisor in advance of this unplanned visit to what turned out to be a superb art museum located on a hidden hill on the outskirts of Toyota City.
The museum is about a 20 minutes walk from the main city centre and well worth the effort. Although I took a slightly circular route and approached the museum from behind as I wanted to catch the Turret of Shichishu Castle which is a somewhat feeble reconstructed neighbour against the modern magnificence that is the museum.
As you pass by the turret you walk up a quite steep path wooded on either side which slowly reveals the stunning museum exterior which is the work of architect Yoshio Taniguchi - also known for New York’s MoMA remodel (and another of my favourite museums for both design and content).
Adult entry was 1000 Yen (~€10) but this included the optional temporary exhibition of Belgian artist James Ensor (on until June 17 2012). Permanent collection admission only is 300 Yen.
The museum is an exhibit in itself although I think the minimalist design sits well with the art contained within it which I would class as contemporary in the main but there is an additional separate gallery for Japanese artist Takahashi Setsuro - who is famed for his sublime lacquer work.
The number of exhibits featured in the nine galleries will certainly not overwhelm you but expect to find treasures from Gustav Klimt, Rene Magritte and Daniel Spoerri to name a few.
Once you have finished inside I recommend the museum grounds which have an amazing zen like quality with manicured gardens, the odd sculpture (including one by Henry Moore) and large water pools for calm reflection.
In addition there is a traditional Japanese tea house, restaurant and plenty of toilet facilities (but sadly I only tried the later). There is also a well stocked museum gift shop.
One item to note is that there is minimal English in use at the museum both in terms of art description and the staff who work there (not that I expected it) but I point this out for full disclosure. It certainly did not affect my overall experience or rating.
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