HOME Atami Discovery through Art: Experiencing Japanese History and Culture in Atami
Discovery through Art: Experiencing Japanese History and Culture in Atami

Discovery through Art: Experiencing Japanese History and Culture in Atami

Update: 14 September 2017

Atami is a beautiful resort town on that Japanese coast and a treasure trove of both modern art and traditional culture, visited by people since ancient times. Let’s take in both new and old traditions and aesthetics at Atami’s museums, shops, and various cultural hot spots!

Kiunkaku: A Fusion between East and West

Kiunkaku: A Fusion between East and West

Built in 1919 as a private villa, the former Japanese inn Kiunkaku is one of the Three Great Villas of Atami. Around thirty years later, in 1947, it was turned into a ryokan, meaning a traditional Japanese inn, highly valued and loved by many creative minds such as novelists Osamu Dazai and Junichiro Tanizaki. Nowadays, it is open to the public as one of Atami’s designated tangible cultural assets. The main building in the lush and vast garden is built in a distinctive Japanese style, while mosaics on the walls and stained glass windows are reminiscent of Western aesthetics, creating a wonderful, historical fusion between East and West.

Entry: Adults 510 yen, Middle & High School 300 yen, free for Elementary School and younger
Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (last entry 4:30 p.m.)
Holidays: Wednesdays, December 26th to 30th (always open during plum blossom season and on Wednesdays that are public holidays)

  • Kiunkaku
    • Address 4-2, Showacho, Atami-shi, Shizuoka, 413-0022
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    • Nearest Station Atami Station (Tokaido Shinkansen Line / JR Tokaido Main Line / JR Ito Line / JR Ueno Tokyo Line)
    • Phone Number 0557-86-3101

The MOA Museum of Art: Experiencing Traditional Japanese Aesthetics

The MOA Museum of Art: Experiencing Traditional Japanese Aesthetics

Hours: 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (last entry 4:00 p.m.)
Standing on vast, spacious grounds is the Atami MOA Museum of Art, home to around 3,500 unique works, three designated national treasures and 66 important cultural assets among them. Following the building’s renewal with traditional Japanese materials by the contemporary artist Hiroshi Sugimoto and the architect Tomoyuki Sakakida, the MOA Museum of Art will reopen as an all-new and modern museum in February 2017. Undoubtedly, it will become one of Atami’s main cultural hot spots once more, offering a unique experience of traditional Japanese aesthetics to locals and tourists alike.

Entry: Regular 1,600 yen, Middle & High School, University 1,000 yen, free for Elementary School and younger
Holidays: Thursdays (open if Thursday is a national holiday), New Year’s

  • MOA Museum of Art
    MOA美術館
    • Address 26-2 Momoyamacho, Atami-shi, Shizuoka 4130006 Japan

Sawada Seiko Memorial Museum: Finding Happiness in Colors

Sawada Seiko Memorial Museum: Finding Happiness in Colors

Right next to the Atami Plum Garden which blossoms beautifully during February lies the Sawada Seiko Memorial Museum. As the name suggests, the museum is dedicated to the Atami-born artist Seiko Sawada and showcases some of his most representative works. Paintings, wood carvings, sculptures, pottery, and even books surrounding the talented artist can be admired up close. Also, should you go with a person very dear to you, make sure to hold your hands under the stained glass ceiling of the entrance called “Hiten” – it is said that this brings good fortune upon couples!

Entry: Adults 320 yen, Middle & High School 210 yen, free for Elementary School and younger
Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Holidays: Mondays (open if Monday is a national holiday)

Sosaku no Ie: The Artists’ House of Masuo Ikeda and Yoko Sato

Sosaku no Ie: The Artists’ House of Masuo Ikeda and Yoko Sato

In the Japanese art world, this house is a true landmark. Both the famous painter and novelist Masuo Ikeda and the equally famous violinist Yoko Sato used the house as their residential atelier between 1982 and 1997. The two geniuses, each in their own field, lived and breathed art on a daily basis in these walls. Nowadays, handwritten manuscripts, photographs, lithographs, and all kinds of different related works and items are exhibited, so make sure to pay Sosaku no Ie a visit!

Entry: Adults 300 yen, Middle & High School 200 yen, free for Elementary School and younger
Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (last entry 4:00 p.m.)
Holidays: Tuesdays (open if Tuesday is a national holiday)

Atami Geigi Kenban: Watching the Dazzling Dance of Geisha

Atami Geigi Kenban: Watching the Dazzling Dance of Geisha

Atami has always been extremely popular as a resort due to its many hot springs, even in the olden times. The entertainment of old can still be experienced today, however, as beautiful and skilled Geisha still perform their Hana no Mai dance for visitors at a theater called the Atami Geigi Kenban Kaburenjo. This dance, literally translating to “flower dance” can be experienced every week on Saturdays and Sundays when the professional geisha take the stage. If you contact the theater in advance, weekday tours are also possible – don’t hesitate to ask!

Hours: Hana no Mai – Saturdays & Sundays 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Entry: 1,500 per person (dance performance, meet & greet, tea and sweets)

Studio Iiro: Experiencing the Amazing Art of Blowing Glass

Studio Iiro: Experiencing the Amazing Art of Blowing Glass

Even beginners can have a safe and amazingly entertaining Atami glass blowing experience at Studio Iiro (from 3,500 yen per person, tax included). Once you’ve decided on a design, you can freely combine ten different color pigments for the pattern of your choice, and the English-speaking staff will instruct you on how to blow your very own glass creation! Paired with the challenge of carefully blowing the glass, this is the perfect souvenir to take home!

Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Holidays: none
Please book a reservation for the glass blowing experience in advance.
Phone: 0557-88-1160

EOMO Store: No. 1 Shop for Natural Clothes & Bags

EOMO Store: No. 1 Shop for Natural Clothes & Bags

The EOMO store is both a shop and an atelier, and one of Atami’s most-visited fashion hot spots. EOMO stands for “Eatable of Many Orders” and the renowned fashion brand’s trademark is the use of natural materials for their amazing designs. Beloved by many, EOMO is to Atami what Ginza is to Tokyo – the number one fashion hot spot.

Hours: 2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Open on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

  • EOMO Store
    • Address Ginzacho, Atami-shi, Shizuoka 6-6-1F, 413-0013
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    • Nearest Station Atami Station (Tokaido Shinkansen Line / JR Tokaido Main Line / JR Ito Line / JR Ueno Tokyo Line)

MY TABLE: Tableware that Tells a Story

MY TABLE: Tableware that Tells a Story

This wonderful store in Atami is centered on the creations of young artists all around the Atami area, welcoming shoppers and visitors with a warm, modern atmosphere to relax in. The tableware on the shelves is entirely handmade and every single work tells its very own story – which is the strongest selling point of these unique creations. Sometimes, fun events such as dinner sessions or pottery workshops are also being held, so feel free to drop by at MY TABLE!

Hours: 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Holidays: Saturdays, irregular holidays
When MY TABLE is closed, wares can also be bought at Ohdou Café in the same building.

Chawanya Komiku: Artistic Tea Bowls

Chawanya Komiku: Artistic Tea Bowls

This long-established Atami shop has been around ever since the Showa Period, at home in an atmospheric building that is over 60 years old. From the initial molding to the glazing and painting, the tea bowls sold at Komiku are handmade from the very first steps to the final touches. The beautiful colors, enhanced by the unique characteristics of the artists, are only one aspect making these tea bowls so precious. There is hardly any better way to dip your toes into the deep Japanese tea culture than taking a sip of green tea out of a handcrafted tea bowl from Komiku.

Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Closed: Wednesdays, irregular holidays

Also Recommended:

  • Atami Hoteiya
    • Address MaxValu Atami store the first floor, 19-39, Chuocho, Atami-shi, Shizuoka, 413-0015
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    • Nearest Station Atami Station (Tokaido Shinkansen Line / JR Tokaido Main Line / JR Ito Line / JR Ueno Tokyo Line)
      15 minutes on foot
    • Phone Number 0557-82-2221
*This information is from the time of this article's publication.

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