Ohara Museum   大原美術館

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Ohara Museum in Kurashiki

Ohara Museum

The art of friendship

The works of Rodin, Corot, Picasso, Gauguin, and many others line the walls of this museum inspired by the Parthenon.

It is the oldest European art museum in Japan, but above all a tribute from Ohara Magosaburo, a rich entrepreneur of Kurashiki, to his friend Kojima Torajiro, a Japanese painter with Western influences, whose talent had enthralled the industrialist.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the two friends started a collection of Western works, thanks to Kojima's keen artistic eye and extensive travels in Europe, and funded by his rich comrade, over the years they eventually amassed a large collection. At the death of Kojima, Ohara decides to gather all of the pieces in a museum, a powerful testimony of friendship to his departed friend, and a declaration of love to Western painters.

A gift of water lilies

Open since 1930 in the Bikan Historical District, the museum houses collections in three buildings (the annexes date from the post-war period):

  • The Main Gallery: sculptures (Rodin, Maillol) and western paintings (Matisse, Picasso...). It's also here that you can see real water lilies, sent directly from France from Monet's water garden in Giverny, as a present for the 70th anniversary of the museum (another painting of the Water Lilies is exhibited in Japan at the Chichu Museum in Naoshima )
  • The Annex: modern and contemporary Japanese paintings (20th-21st centuries)
  • The Asian Gallery: eight rooms including Buddhist antiquities, Neolithic pieces, ceramics, and Japanese terracotta.

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