Photo By: Jbarta
Region
Chubu
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Nagano
Population
2,214,409

Japan Ukiyo-e Museum

Perfectly preserving the past with the world’s largest private collection of woodblock prints.

After stopping at Matsumoto Castle, visitors can satisfy their artistic side with a quick trip to the Japan Ukiyo-e Museum dedicated to 100,000 individual ukiyo-e (woodblock prints) made between the 17th and 20th centuries.

Nagano

Monkeys bathing in the onsen in Nagano
Common themes in the artwork include female beauty, nature, folklore, historical events, scenes and actors from kabuki (Japanese classical theater) and erotica. In it’s prime ukiyo-e’s representation of the common man made it desirable and that same quality makes it extraordinary today.

Although this museum houses an impressive collection you will only be able to view about 100 pieces at a time. That being said, the museum does rotate these displays regularly focusing on a particular theme relevant to the season. While this might surprise or disappoint some, others are still impressed with the versatility and complexity presented, as a defining feature of the traditional woodblock prints are their quality.

Photo by: Qurren The building itself is art.

Most pieces are astonishingly small but close inspection will reveal the unbelievable detail contained in each piece. The intricate kimono patterns, the bustling metropolitan streets, and the individual hairs have been meticulously crafted to provide an accurate snapshot into a time long forgotten. As you can see even with a limited display it’s easy to lose track of time!

The most unique feature of a museum with such an expansive collection is its ability to compare multiple prints. Over time aesthetics change, wood blocks are remade, and other factors affect a design. Being able to clearly see variations and changes in the prints through time is a rare experience that can only be achieved through generations of dedication and research.

To get even more artsy, visit our Art & Design tourism section.

Trivia

Monkeys bathing in the onsen in Nagano

Nagano

World-class winter sports, hot springs (occasionally monkey-filled), delicious local food and a foreigner-friendly vibe.

More

Things To Know

Hours

Hours of operation are Tuesday – Sunday  from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Be sure to stop by the gift shop where you can buy postcards, books, and various sized prints of popular Ukiyo-e.

Fees

Entrance fee is ¥1,000 for adults and ¥550 for elementary and junior high school students.

Language Support

English information is available but limited. There is an instructional video in the lobby on repeat that plays in both English and Japanese.

How To Get There

Address

Japan, 〒390-0852 Nagano-ken, Matsumoto-shi, Shimadachi, 2206−1, 日本浮世絵博物館

By train

Matsumoto is about a 3-hour train ride from Shinjuku station via the Chuo line Limited Express Azusa.

From Matsumoto Station catch the Matsumoto Denkitstsudo train (every 40 minutes) and exit Oniwa Station 4 stops later (¥170). Walk 12 minutes to your destination.

By bus

Exit Matsumoto station and walk 4 minutes to the Matsumoto Bus Terminal. Take either the Nagano – Matsumoto bus or the Matsumoto – Takayama bus to Matsumoto IC Mae bus stop. Both buses cost ¥230 one way and are 10 stops from the Matsumoto Bus Terminal. Walk 11 minutes to your destination.

Where To Stay

Hotel Route-Inn Court Matsumoto Inter
  • Shimadate Horigome 834-1 Matsumoto-Shi, Nagano 390-0852
  • 7.3/10
  • 0.9 km
Powered by Booking.com
En Guest house
  • Shimauchi 5695-2 Matsumoto-Shi, Nagano 390-0851
  • 9/10
  • 2.0 km
Powered by Booking.com
Matsumoto Wellton Hotel
  • Nagisa 2-4-5 Matsumoto-Shi, Nagano 390-0841
  • 6.4/10
  • 2.1 km
Powered by Booking.com
Matsumoto BackPackers
  • Shiraita 1-1-6 Matsumoto-Shi, Nagano 390-0863
  • 8.3/10
  • 2.5 km
Powered by Booking.com