Nestled near Nagasaki Bay, the Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum opened in 2005, offering visitors the chance to see a mixture of classic to modern art as well as touring exhibitions from around the world.
Designed around the concept of a “breathing museum” by Kengo Kuma and Nihon Sekkei, Inc., it’s noted for its high glass walls that let in light and give off a feeling of open spaces. The layout also provides views of Dejima Wharf and Nagasaki Bay. The museum is made up of two buildings bridged together from their second floors. This is to allow a canal, which separates the two buildings on ground level, to continue flowing naturally.
The museum’s key collection is Spanish art collected by Yakichiro Suma, an envoy stationed in Spain during World War II, through a partnership with Museo del Prado, Spain. Upon his death in 1970, Nagasaki was bestowed with 78 pieces from his extensive collection.
Today, the museum has 500 pieces, making it one of the largest collections of Spanish art in Asia.
Hoping for something more Nagasaki-related? The Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum is also home to pieces either by Nagasaki-born artists or are Nagasaki-themed. The Nagasaki collection has pieces dating anywhere from the Meiji period to present-day and possesses a wide range of art, including paintings, photography, designs, and sculptures.
The museum consists of two floors and a roof. On the first floor, you’ll find the lobby, gift shop, reference corner, and the public and canalside galleries. The second floor consists of a café in the bridge corridor, an atelier for workshops, and the temporary exhibition and permanent collection galleries. The roof has a garden to relax in and offers a panoramic view of Nagasaki bay.
Despite hosting international exhibitions, like ‘Pixar: 30 Years of Animation’ coming in July 2016, a majority of information is presented only in Japanese. While this may deter some, the artwork itself will hopefully transcend the need to read informational placards.
The Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum is along the border of Nagasaki Seaside Park, home to several sites of interest. Located across the street from the museum’s west side is Glover Garden. To the north, you can check out the lovely Dejima Wharf.