The Ohara Museum of Art in Kurashiki City, Okayama Prefecture, was the very first museum in Japan that exhibited Western and modern art. It is a private museum founded by Ohara Magosaburo to commemorate Kojima Torajiro. Kojima was a talented western-style painter who dreamed to open a museum and to support young artists in Japan. Ohara became his patron and sponsored him to study in Europe. He collected art works for the museum from all over Europe, including the masterpieces of El Greco, Monet, Matisse, Cezanne, Gauguin, and Renoir, which are displayed in the Main Gallery of the Museum.
Kojima focused on the essence of art and he had a spirit typical of Meiji Era, struggling for a supreme ideology between western art and Japanese aesthetic sense. Kojima’s works can be seen in the Torajiro Kojima Memorial Hall. Other extended sections of the Ohara Museum are: the Annex, the Craft Art Gallery and the Asian Art Gallery. The Museum also organizes regular events including Art Lectures and Gallery Concerts by world-class artists and musicians.
Nezu Museum was founded to conserve and exhibit the collection of pre-modern Japanese and East Asian art created by Nezu Kaichiro (1860-1940).
This bamboo-lined path leads to the entrance of museum.
ACCESS: 8-minute walk from Omotesando Station (Ginza, Hanzomon and Chiyoda Lines) Exit A5 (stairs only), 10-minute walk from Exit B4 (escalator available), or 10-minute walk from the B3 Exit (elevator and escalator available).
Located in southern Okinawa, Himeyuri no To (Himeyuri War Memorial) was established for the 219 high school students and teachers of the First Prefectural Girls’ High School and Women’s Normal School, who sacrificed their lives during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. They were working as war nurses in the “Himeyuri (or red Lily) Corps.” The age of girls working as nurses were between 15 to 19.
This young nursing cohort was called the Himeyuri Corps. During the Battle of Okinawa, they were forced to join the corps. An estimated 222 students and 18 other personnel were stationed in the hospitals. They were forced to serve while under intense fire and finally, sadly killed themselves as an “honorable death” after being surrounded by the US soldiers.
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Himeyuri Peace Museum is located by the Himeyuri War Monument. A number of visitors come here to learn about the tragedy and pray for peace. At Himeyuri Peace Museum, there is a room full of pictures of Himeyuri Corps which show most of the sacrificed girl’s background and the cause of her death. Visitors will see many young faces.
The Hakone Open-Air Museum opened in 1969 as the first open-air art museum in Japan, consisting of five exhibition halls. There are as wide as 70,000 square meters grounds of lush greenery and permanent display of approximately 120 works by well known modern and contemporary sculptors.
The exhibition halls include the Picture Gallery and the Picasso Pavilion have as many as 300 works on rotating display. Other exhibitions are paintings, prints, large assortment of pottery along with gold and silver items.
The Henry Moore Collection is another recommended exhibition hall, which displays huge collections of works by the famous English sculptor Henry Moore.
Additionally, the museum has artistic play sets for children, restaurants and shops, as well as a foot bath of natural hot spring where visitors can relax and enjoy the splendor of art in nature.
The Nara National Museum, situated in the Nara Park, is one of the four prominent national museums in Japan, along with Tokyo, Kyoto and Kyushu. It houses about 1,400 collection items which are extensively represented by Buddhist art including a number of National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties.
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The museum was founded in 1889 during the Meiji Period as the Imperial Nara Museum, in concurrence with its counterparts in Tokyo and Kyoto, and was opened to the public in 1895. The original building, designated as an Important Cultural Property, represents a fine example of the Meiji-Period Western style architecture.
The museum offers both permanent and special exhibitions in its four galleries, with the latter held twice a year in spring and fall. In fall it hosts the annual Shoso-in exhibition, which is the world’s most visited exhibition attracting around 15,000 audience per day.
The two-week exhibition, started in 1946, provides a rare opportunity to see a selection of exquisite treasures from the 8th century stored in Shoso-in Repository of the adjacent Todai-ji Temple. The collections belonged to Emperor Shomu and his wife Komyo, who were the founder of the temple, and include many exotic objects brought to Japan through the Silk Road.