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Ekin Museum

Explore the bloody and violent world of Ekin at this tiny museum in Kochi.

Fans of art or horror movies, listen up. There’s a tiny little museum on the outskirts of Kochi’s city center, nestled in the heart of Akaoka, the eerily quiet old quarter. Inside is a feast of color: gruesome battle scenes and horrific demons brought to life in the dim of the museum’s interior.

In a world where many visitors to Japan may only have heard of Hokusai, what else does the Japanese art world have to offer? Well, Ekin for starters. So, who is he?

Inside the mind of Ekin

Once a privileged painter of the Tosa aristocracy, Kinzo Hirose who is better known as Ekin fell from grace after allegations of forgery. Free from the restraints of what was seen as acceptable as an artist, he went on to create sweeping masterpieces depicting scenes from Japan’s historical and fictional past.

Decapitations and ritual disembowelment are a common theme.

Not for the faint of heart, Ekin’s paintings contain gruesome violence—decapitations and ritual disembowelment are a common theme. Think traditional Japanese paintings of Kabuki scenes, except covered in blood.

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Twenty-three of Ekin’s paintings remain in Akaoka today, close to where he originally painted them. The museum also knows very well how to entice people inside. The lovely ladies at the front desk are all smiles and welcoming words as they hand you a lantern.

Pushing back the curtain to the first room of the museum, you are greeted by a dark room illuminated only by your lantern. Edging closer to the walls, the paintings come alive in all their gruesomely beautiful detail.

Other rooms follow that show you how Ekin’s artistic prowess evolved from the days of quaint woodblocks to the huge screens that populated his work in later life.

Ekin Festival

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2019/07/21 高知旅 土曜日夜に見たかった絵金祭りでしたが土曜日は中止 日曜は開催とのことで、あかおかへ。 19:00から各店前にに襖絵が飾られるのだけど なんとか飛ぶことが決定した帰りの飛行機に向かうため、ギリギリ見れたのはこの二枚だけ。。。 * けど昨日見た絵金蔵のレプリカとは全然緑の色が違った! * 19:00までは暑すぎてカフェでビールと無水カレーとチヂミを頂きました〜。 * * #絵金 #絵金祭り #赤岡 #あかおか #無水カレー #絵金のグロテスクな襖絵より #ブティックのマネキンの方がリアルに怖いんだが #来年は夜ちゃんと見たいぜー! #このあと高知龍馬空港 #チェックインしても名古屋からの便が空港に降りれなかったら引き返すのでキャンセルになりますと言われた #無事搭乗完了するも #アトラクション並みに揺れ #死ぬ思いして名古屋空港着陸

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On the third Saturday and Sunday of July, the streets of Akaoka glow underneath the soft light of the Ekin Festival. Numerous screens from him and similar artists are displayed by candlelight and the neighborhood turns into a bustling beer garden with lots of food stalls. The museum is free for visitors during the festival.

While photography is typically prohibited in the museum, festival-goers can feel free to snap pics of the screens on display during this weekend. Be sure not to use flash though, as it causes the paintings to fade quicker. Watch Ekin’s paintings come to life, minus all the blood, during live kabuki performances at the Bentenza stage in front of the museum.

A truly magical find, this tiny museum in a derelict old quarter of the city brims with personality and enthusiasm, promising an unforgettable experience for all.


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Things To Know

Hours and fees

The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed on Mondays (if Monday is a national holiday, the museum will be closed on Tuesday instead).

Admission is ¥520 for adults, ¥300 for high school students, and ¥150 for children. A ¥50 discount will be given to tour groups of 15 or more people.

How To Get There


Japan, 〒781-5310 Kōchi-ken, Kōnan-shi, Akaokachō, 538, 香南市赤岡町絵金蔵

By train

From Kochi Station, take a train on the Gomen-Nahari Line bound for Nahari or Aki and get off at Akaoka Station. Walk away from the sea up to the main road. Cross the street and walk down into the narrow roads of Akaoka. The museum is nestled in a difficult to find location, so if Google doesn’t help you, test out your best Japanese on a local by asking the way to “Ekin-gura”.