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.
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.
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.