The Sumida Hokusai Museum, located in the Sumida Ward of Tokyo, is dedicated to the life and work of the world-renowned Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai. Known for his iconic woodblock print series “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji,” which includes the famous “The Great Wave off Kanagawa,” Hokusai’s art has had a significant impact on both Japanese and international art.
The museum offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in Hokusai’s world through its extensive collection of artworks and interactive exhibits.
The Sumida Hokusai Museum’s permanent exhibitions showcase Hokusai’s life, creative process, and artistic achievements. The exhibits take you on a journey through the various stages of Hokusai’s career, highlighting his innovative techniques and diverse range of subjects.
Life and Times of Hokusai
This section of the museum provides an overview of Hokusai’s life, from his humble beginnings to his rise to fame. Learn about his background, artistic influences, and the cultural context of Edo period Japan, which shaped his work. Discover interesting facts, such as Hokusai’s multiple name changes throughout his career and his dedication to art until his death at the age of 88.
Hokusai’s Art and Techniques
Explore Hokusai’s artistic process and his mastery of various techniques, including woodblock printing, painting, and illustration. Discover how his innovative approach to composition, perspective, and color influenced the art world both in Japan and abroad. For instance, Hokusai’s “Red Fuji” demonstrates his skill in using color gradations to create a sense of depth and atmosphere.
The museum’s collection features a selection of Hokusai’s most famous works, including pieces from the “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji” series, as well as lesser-known but equally stunning creations such as his “Hokusai Manga” sketchbooks. Marvel at the beauty and intricacy of his art, and gain a deeper appreciation for his talent and vision.
Here are some of the notable works on display:
- The Great Wave off Kanagawa: Arguably Hokusai’s most famous work, this iconic woodblock print depicts a towering wave with Mount Fuji in the background. The dynamic composition, fine details, and clever use of contrasting colors make this piece an enduring symbol of Japanese art.
- Red Fuji: Another piece from the “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji” series, “Red Fuji” portrays the famous mountain in striking red and orange hues, created using a technique called bokashi (gradation). The composition emphasizes the grandeur of Mount Fuji and demonstrates Hokusai’s mastery of color and atmosphere.
- A Mild Breeze on a Fine Day: Also known as “South Wind, Clear Sky” or “Blue Fuji,” this print from the “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji” series shows Mount Fuji under a clear blue sky, with a gentle breeze rippling the water in the foreground. The simplicity and elegance of the composition, combined with the vibrant blue tones, create a sense of tranquility and harmony.
- Hokusai Manga: Hokusai’s series of sketchbooks, known as “Hokusai Manga,” comprises thousands of drawings covering a wide range of subjects, including animals, plants, landscapes, and scenes from everyday life. These sketchbooks provide insight into Hokusai’s creative process and his insatiable curiosity about the world around him.
- The Ghost of Oiwa: This striking piece from Hokusai’s later years illustrates a scene from a popular Japanese ghost story. The Ghost of Oiwa features a vengeful female spirit with disfigured features, showcasing Hokusai’s skill in capturing the eerie atmosphere and dramatic intensity of the tale.
These major works on display at the Sumida Hokusai Museum offer visitors a glimpse into Hokusai’s artistic genius and his enduring influence on the world of art. Each piece highlights a different aspect of Hokusai’s style and technique, providing a comprehensive understanding of his contributions to Japanese art and culture.
In addition to the permanent exhibitions, the Sumida Hokusai Museum also hosts special temporary exhibitions that showcase various aspects of Hokusai’s work or focus on related artists and themes. For example, past exhibitions have explored the influence of Hokusai on European artists such as Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet.
The Sumida Hokusai Museum is a short walk from Ryogoku Station and Oshiage Station, making it easily accessible by public transportation. The museum is open from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM, and closed on Mondays (or the following day if Monday is a public holiday). The admission fee is 400 yen for adults and 300 yen for students.
Visiting the Sumida Hokusai Museum is a unique opportunity to delve into the life and art of one of Japan’s most influential artists. With its rich collection and engaging exhibitions, the museum is a must-see destination for art enthusiasts and anyone interested in Japanese culture.
|Name (English)||Sumida Hokusai Museum|
|Ticket Cost||Adults: 400 yen, Students: 300 yen|
|Opening Hours||9:30 AM – 5:30 PM|
|Closed||Mondays (or following day if Monday is a public holiday)|
|Nearby Luxury Hotels||1. The Gate Hotel Tokyo by Hulic (4.4 km)|
|2. Asakusa View Hotel (2.2 km)|
|Nearby Mid-range Hotels||1. Tobu Hotel Levant Tokyo (1.4 km)|
|2. APA Hotel Asakusa Tawaramachi Ekimae (2.6 km)|
|Nearby Budget Hotels||1. Khaosan World Ryogoku Hostel (1.1 km)|
|2. Oak Hostel Sakura (2.7 km)|
*Note: Distances mentioned are approximate and measured from the museum.