KOBE -- The main building of one of Japan's first private art museums that opened here in the early Showa era (1926-1989) stands stately at the base of Mount Rokko overlooking Osaka Bay.
The templelike facility at Hakutsuru Fine Art Museum with bronze roofs looms into view as one ascends a steep slope along a river in Kobe's Higashinada Ward.
This unique modern architecture site was built in 1934 by Jihei Kanou, the seventh-generation head of present-day Hakutsuru Sake Brewing Co. It was designed by construction firm Takenaka Corp., and has been registered as a national tangible cultural property.
The museum houses a collection of some 1,400 artworks mainly Eastern antiquities including national treasures and important cultural assets. The first-floor gallery has a coved and coffered ceiling and a high-class structure represented by castle architecture. A crane design adorns lighting equipment and other decor to cover the head of nails and other places.
One of the museum's appeals is that visitors can spend time inside while feeling natural light coming in through large windows.
The facility's inner garden has a waterfall and pond where water from the upper Sumiyoshi River flows. In the center of the garden is an octagonal bronze lantern that was made using a cast taken from one in front of the Great Buddha Hall at Todai-ji Temple in the ancient Japanese capital of Nara.
The museum is open to the public in spring and fall every year. The current autumn exhibition continues until Dec. 11.
(Japanese original by Maiko Umeda, Osaka Photo Department)
* * *
The Japanese version of this article was originally published on Aug. 28, 2022.
* * *
This series explores Japan's architectural wonders and secrets of yesteryear. Read more Retro Japan articles here.