Aerial View of the Yatsugatake Art Museum / Togo Murano

Aerial View of the Yatsugatake Art Museum

Built-in 1979 by Japanese Architect Togo Murano, the Yatsugatake Art Museum has a unique design with a dome shape like a spaceport determined by the building materials and the construction method.

Yatsugatake Art Museum Technical Information

Japan’s modernist architecture bridges the gap between the country’s traditional buildings and contemporary architecture, giving Japan its unique aesthetic character.

– Tomas Maier

Yatsugatake Art Museum Photographs
Sculpture Garden

Sculpture Garden | © Tokyowings

Museum inside a Forest

A Museum inside a Forest

Yatsugatake Art Museum / Togo Murano

Museum Entrance | © Wakiii

Yatsugatake Art Museum / Togo Murano

Sculpture Garden | © Wakiii

Interior of the Museum

Museum Interior

Interconnecting Domes 

Yatsugatake Museum of Art is located at the foot of Yatsugatake Mountain, 1,350 meters above sea level. It opened in 1980 when it was one of Japan’s few art museums in a village. It’s building was designed by Japanese architect Togo Murano. It has a unique design in a continuous dome shape like a spaceport and makes one imagine a mountain range.

One of Murano’s primary concerns when designing the Yatsugatake Art Museum was to avoid disturbing the natural environment. With that in mind, he created the building with circular elements which were arranged in identical sized semicylindrical units. The shape of the roof was designed as a series of interconnecting and intersecting half domes and semicircular vaults.

The unique character is also determined by the building materials and the construction method. Walls are made of unfinished concrete blocks set in a reinforced concrete structural frame. The domes and the vaults of the roof are assembled from precast concrete elements whose continuous and smooth outer surfaces have been left unfinished. Inside, however, the space is soft and has a translucent fabric.

Nowadays, the museum has bronze sculptures and pictures by Takashi Shimizu, a sculptor who led Japan’s sculpting art world after World War II. It also exhibits works by Kakusen Tsugane. Both of these artists are from this town (Haramura). It also has exhibits that introduce artisans working at the foot of the Yatsugatake Mountains and planned exhibitions for each of the four seasons: Quilts, dyeing, weaving, sakiori weaving, etc. The adjoining Haramura Folk Museum exhibits earthenware and stone tools and discovered in local excavations so that you can learn about life in Yatsugatake 4,500 years ago.

Leaving the museum, there is a walking path with outdoor exhibits of sculpture works by Takashi Shimizu, and bronze sculptures made by local junior high school students. While strolling, you can sense a beautiful harmony of art and nature, and enjoy the mountain plants of Yatsugatake, which changes its face with each season.

Yatsugatake Art Museum Plan
Yatsugatake Art Museum / Togo Murano

Credit: Togo Murano Architects

About Togo Murano

Tōgo Murano was a Japanese architect born in 1891 in Karatsu that, throughout his life, completed over three hundred projects. Although his work lacked a distinctive, singular style, he was recognized as a master of the modern interpretation of the Sukiya style. His work included large public buildings as well as hotels and department stores, and he has been recognized as one of Japan’s modern masters.
Other works from Togo Murano