The world’s largest Ukiyo-e Collection

One of the hidden treasures of Matsumoto is the wonderful collection of traditional Japanese art to be found at the Matsumoto Ukiyo-e Museum.

Ukiyo-e, which literally translates as “pictures of the floating world”, is a type of woodblock printing in a style that has become synonymous with Japanese culture and one which dates back to 17th century Japan. Said to have gained popularity during the Edo period, due to their inexpensive manufacturing process and a large middle class looking to bring a bit of style and sophistication to their homes, Ukiyo-e paintings were originally printed in monochrome with Indian Ink but techniques very quickly became more sophisticated giving us the style that anyone would recognise from postcards, posters and even desktop screen savers.

Home to the Sakai family collection of over 100,000 prints, books and paintings, the Matsumoto Ukiyo-e Museum boasts the largest privately owned collection of these works in the world. Begun in 1790 by Yoshiaki Sakai, a wealthy businessman and art collector from Matsumoto, the collection has been handed down through generations with each adding to the collection of works. With their position as renowned art collectors, the family were visited by important literary figures and calligraphers as well as famous ukiyo-e artists such as Hokusai and Hiroshige. This helped them to amass a collection that is second to none.
The Museum aims to promote this stunning Japanese art form worldwide by continuing to collect and exhibit and educate on what is an important part of Japan’s heritage.

Located 15 minutes walk from Oniwa Station on the Matsumoto – Kamikochi line or about 7 minutes by car from the center of Matsumoto.

Admission is 1050¥ and the Museum is open from 10 until 5 (doors close at 4:30).

The Museum is closed on Mondays except national holidays in which case they close on the following day.

The Museum’s English Homepage can be found here .

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