Modern Art in a Historical Town: Matsumoto City Museum of Art

 Matsumoto city's three most popular attractions are most likely the castle, Kaichi School, and a warehouse district with several old buildings. It's a gateway to the Japanese Alps, as well, so most visitors are here for nature, skiing, or history. But a surprising gem in town is the Matsumoto City Museum of Art. It was built in 2002 and has modern works from Matsumoto-born or raised artists, and artists inspired by the town and its surroundings.
 Yayoi Kusama was troubled by visual and auditory hallucinations, but found relief from her troubles through art. Almost all of her visual work features dots and primary colors.
 In addition to fantastic paintings, Kusama also created several three dimensional works. One very large flower sculpture sits outside the museum, and a large portion of the museum is devoted to her works. Inside the museum are apartments with glowing dots, several paintings, and even an infinite reflection room. I wish I had had more time to go back through that exhibit a second time on my visit.
If I get the chance to spend another day in Matsumoto, I'm going to make an effort to return to the museum. Kusama's works are that interesting; the other artists' works are worthwhile as well, and I'm sure they're rotated frequently.

The museum is open 9:00-17:00, except for Mondays, and admission is 400 yen. Tourist and regular buses go to the museum from Matsumoto Station in about 5 minutes, or you can walk 12 minutes straight down a main street. Depending on your timing and the bus schedule, this can be faster.

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