Art & Design
Sagawa Art Museum 佐川美術館
The floating museum, dedicated to the art of the future and the implements of the tea ceremony
They call the Sagawa Art Museum "the floating museum," since most of it is surrounded by an artificial pond garden, and the beautiful gabled-roof museum seems to float on the water.
The museum's collection focuses on a select few Japanese artists as well as on ceramics used in the tea ceremony.
- A temple bell from Mt. Hiei, a National Treasure
- The tearoom is designed like an island in a pond
- Summertime illumination of the reflecting pools
How to Get There
You can get to the museum by train and then bus.
The Sagawa Art Museum is located in Moriyama. To get to the museum, take the JR Kosei line from Kyoto to Katata and then a 15-minute bus. You can also take the JR Biwako line to Moriyama and then a 30-minute bus. If you are traveling by shinkansen, you can connect to the JR Biwako line at Kyoto or Maibara.
"What the future holds"
The Sagawa Museum opened in 1998 to mark the 40th anniversary of the Sagawa Express shipping company. Its themes are "Exchanges of Eastern and Western Culture" and "What the Future Holds."
The collection is primarily of three modern Japanese artists: painter Ikuo Hirayama, sculptor Sato Churyo, and ceramicist Kichizaemon Raku (the 15th artist to hold this historic title). The museum also holds a National Treasure, a temple bell from the southwest bell tower of Mt. Hiei .
The Japanese tea ceremony
The museum is probably best known among pottery and ceramics fans as well as among those interested in sado, the Japanese tea ceremony. It has an underwater room, and a tearoom showcasing the works of Kichizaemon Raku, the current head of a family of pottery masters dating back 450 years.
The Raku clan's pottery has long been associated with "wabi-cha." This style of tea ceremony, developed by master Sen no Rikyu, emphasizes simplicity. The Sagawa Art Museum is unique because the entire tea room was designed by the artist whose ceramics are displayed inside.
As part of a water garden, the architecture of the museum is worth seeing. Fans love the floating design as well as the luxurious interiors. The simple aesthetic takes on different tones with the seasons, and is particularly moving when illuminated on summer nights.