The Beauty Museum

On the advice of our friend Micha, we took a day trip out of Kyoto to the Miho Museum where the wealthiest women in Japan started both a religion, Shumei, and a museum. The main temple and museum are located in the remote mountains south of Kyoto. The bus to the museum takes 50 minutes and surprisingly was enjoyable both ways for Small Paw. Admittedly there was a view out the window as well as rice balls to eat in both directions.

The museum was designed by I.M. Pei, the same architect who designed the new pyramid façade to the Louvre. Before opening in 1997 the family went on a buying spree and aquired a number of artworks now on display at the museum. All very pristine looking pieces although randomly selected from different areas and eras. The founder religion believes in finding happiness via beautiful things. Hence the pristine nature of most pieces as well as the nickname of the museum.

But the main reason to take the trip is not the artwork but the location.

You arrive in an anteroom building, where we had lunch at the Peach Restaurant and bought our tickets. Then you can take the little gold cart bus up to the museum but we elected to walk to get the full effect of the arrival tunnel. Feels very futuristic and apparently the light changes color in spring season to match the flowers blooming at the end of the tunnel (or at least that’s what the pictures insinuate).

Most of the museum is underground, so you only glimpse the main entrance, much like his previous work at the Louvre. On the inside they flew in the same marble from France used in the Louvre, so basically it’s a mini Louvre in the middle of a Japanese mountain.

A small museum but a very pleasant day out.

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