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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan. Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan.
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare. An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare.
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife. Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife.
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan. Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan.
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara. The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara.
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower. Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower.
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving. Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving.
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky. The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky.
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

Art & Design

Towada Art Center 十和田市現代美術館

Amazing new art center concept, and the beautiful Towada Lake

Opened in 2008, the Towada Art Center is the focus of the city of Towada's initiative to revitalize itself through art. The concept is to experience artworks that blend in with the surrounding cityscape and nature.

Don't Miss

  • Exhibits outside the museum blending with the surrounding city
  • Erwin Wurm's unique work, "Fat House"
  • The strikingly modern architecture of the museum building

How to Get There

Shichinohe-Towada is the second of three Tohoku Shinkansen stops in Aomori from Tokyo. It is primarily a gateway to Towada City and the lake area. There, you can change to JR buses for Towada.

Towada is in the foothills of the Hakkoda Mountains, and includes the Aomori side of Lake Towada . There are no trains in the Towada area, but JR operates buses every one to two hours from Shichinohe-Towada. Around half of the buses go directly to the museum, while the other half go to the city center, which is around a 10-minute walk to Towada Art Center.

Encountering art in unexpected places

Most of the pieces in the museum's permanent collection—there are only around 30 works—were commissioned especially for Towada Art Center. In addition, there are six works in the public "Art Square" and six more called "Street Furniture."

Despite the relatively small number of pieces, there is a great deal to see and do. Most of the works that are housed inside the museum are in spaces designed especially for them. The building's architecture, designed by architect Ryue Nishizawa, is perfectly matched to the installations, but his design actually encompasses the whole street block.

See the worlds of world-famous artists

Since the Arts Towada Project was completely planned, including the Art Center as its main fixture, many of the works were commissioned from famous artists such as Yoko Ono, Ron Mueck and Jeong Hwa Choi.

But the name recognition of the artists themselves is really secondary here. You'll be in awe walking through and among the exhibits. Sitting on the "street furniture", you'll feel like a child again. It's almost more like a park than a museum.

There really isn't another museum like it

The old main street, Kanchogaidori, (literally “street of government offices”) had become deserted due to population decline. The city and this art project have been largely successful in changing that. The Art Center has not only attracted attention and awards, but an influx of tourism has rejuvenated the city. It has become a source of pride.

While you're there

Lake Towada is around one hour away, while some parts of Oirase Stream are easily within an hour. The only way to access these, however, is by car.

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