Photo By: Suzanne Bhagan
Region
Chubu
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Shizuoka
Population
3,767,427

Clematis No Oka (Art Complex)

Modern art, flowers and good ol’ slow food.

Many visitors to Japan have probably never heard of Nagaizumi in Shizuoka Prefecture but there are more than a few good reasons to go there. This small town has great views of Mount Fuji but also something outstanding: Clematis no Oka art complex.

Clematis no Oka is a sprawling art and garden complex located at the foothills of Mount Fuji. There are three art museums, a literary museum, gardens, restaurants, a teahouse and a cafe. Any art connoisseurs, day-trippers, and off-the-beaten-path travelers should head here to complete their Japan trip itinerary.

Photo by: Suzanne Bhagan At the Vangi sculpture garden.

The highlight of the complex is the Vangi Sculpture Garden Museum. It features a sizeable and permanent collection of sculptures, drawings and prints by the critically acclaimed Italian artist Giuliano Vangi.

Even if you’re unfamiliar with the sculptor’s aesthetic, ponder the disjointed eyes, uneven teeth, open mouths, and dormant penises of his statues. In short, his work models real human bodies instead of idealizing them.

Photo by: Suzanne Bhagan Flowers are blooming at different times nearly year round!

Some of the pieces also dot the landscaped gardens. The contrast between the natural surroundings and the sculptures is particularly sharp on sunny days with blue skies. Also, if you get tired of staring at the art all day, feast your eyes on about 200 varieties of clematis (hence the name!) that bloom at different times during the year.

If you’re more of a word nerd, be sure to visit the Yasushi Inoue Literary Museum in the complex. Inoue was raised in Shizuoka and was one of Japan’s most prolific authors during the 20th century.

Photo by: Suzanne Bhagan Another cool feature from Vangi.

Another feature of the site is the Bernard Buffet Museum. It has the world’s largest Buffet collection, featuring about 2,000 pieces from the French modernist. These include watercolors, oil paintings, sculptures and more that span the artist’s lifetime. There is also an adjoining Bernard Buffet Children’s Museum.

The latest addition to the compound is the Izu Photo Museum (opened in 2009).  It regularly exhibits vintage and modern photography that explores historical events and the human condition. The museum’s tomb-like structure, designed by Hiroshi Sugimoto, is also well worth the experience.

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Things To Know

Fees

Clematis Garden and Vangi Sculpture Garden Museum: April – October: Adults: ¥1,200; high school and college students: ¥800; elementary and middle school students: free   | November – March: Adults: ¥1000; high school and college students: ¥500; elementary and middle school students: free  | Izu Photo Museum: Adults: ¥800; high school and college students: ¥400; elementary and middle school students: free   | Bernard Buffet Museum: Adults: ¥1000; high school and college students: ¥500; elementary and middle school students: free  | Yasushi Inoue Literary Museum: Adults: ¥500; high school and college students: ¥400; elementary and middle school students: free

Museum pass

You can also get a museum pass that includes admission to all four museums for ¥3,000.

Hours

Closed on Wed. (open if it’s a national holiday and closed the following day) year-end holidays, and New Year holidays. The same hours apply to all four museums: Jan., Nov., and Dec.: 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Feb., Mar., Sep., and Oct.: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Apr., May, June, July, and Aug.: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.;

Other events

Exhibitions change regularly so please see the official website for more details: www.clematis-no-oka.co.jp

How To Get There

Address

Japan, 〒411-0931 Shizuoka-ken, Suntō-gun, Nagaizumi-chō, Higashino, 347−1 クレマチスの丘

By train

Take the Tokaido-Sanyo bullet train from Tokyo station to Mishima station (about 55 minutes). There’s a free shuttle bus to the site from bus stop No. 3 outside the station’s north exit (25 minutes). Buses leaving from 5:20 p.m. on weekdays travel via Susono station and Mishima station south exit (45 minutes).

Where To Stay

Hotel Route-Inn Nagaizumi Numazu Inter 2
  • Minamiishiki 34-5 Sunto-Gun Nagaizumi-Cho, Shizuoka 411-0932
  • 7.2/10
  • 2.9 km
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Hotel Route-Inn Nagaizumi Numazu Inter 1
  • Shimonagakubo 1157-1 Sunto-Gun Nagaizumi-Cho, Shizuoka 411-0934
  • 7.3/10
  • 3.0 km
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Susono Central Hotel Suzuki
  • Hiramatsu 388-1 Susono-Shi, Shizuoka 410-1127
  • 8.6/10
  • 3.1 km
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Numazu Hotel Christmas (Adult Only)
  • Ashitaka 319-174 Numazu-Shi, Shizuoka 410-0001
  • 7.9/10
  • 3.3 km
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