Stef's adventures in craftiness

Japan Ukiyo-e Museum

On our day trip to Matsumoto, apart from the castle, we also visited the Japan Ukiyo-e (woodblock print) Museum which has the largest private collection of Japanese woodblock prints in the world. A selection of them are on display, as well as a large collection of prints and prints of the prints for purchase.

But first you must find your way there: it is a fifteen minute walk from Oniwa station so find a map or better still mark it on the GPS or you’ll get lost like we did. I guess we expected it to either be obvious, signposted, or well known by locals, but it was none of the above, and it is in a very quiet suburban area. Thankfully we stumbled across a couple outside a grocery who seemed to know where it was and even insisted on a lift in their car, a chat and a yummy bun!

When we arrived there, we were ushered into the theatre room, where the manager gave us a slide show of famous historical ukiyo-e prints from the collection, breathlessly switching from English to Japanese. Each image came with commentary on world migration patterns or how Japan was better than the west because the women got nicer clothes, toothbrushes and so on.

The artworks themselves were indeed beautiful, and well worth a visit. Many famous artists including Hiroshige and Hokusai were included, and you can purchase postcards of your favourites, which is useful because the lighting was not good for taking any photos. If you google ukiyo-e or woodblock prints, you’ll get the idea of what’s in store. This was one of our favourites:


Luckily, before leaving the station we marked the location on our phones so we could find our way back. I highly recommend checking out Locus or similar phone apps which you can use to download offline maps before you travel and mark points of interest, then navigate via GPS and compass so you don’t need to use expensive roaming data or inadequate tourist maps to find your way around. Once you mark a point, you just press compass and it shows you which direction and how far to go. Easy. Radar noises not included.

From Japan Trip
From Japan Trip
From Japan Trip
From Japan Trip
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