Miho Museum, Shige Prefecture, Japan

View from the tunnelAfter we visited the Mori Indigo dye studio, we continued to the Miho Museum, located near the town of Shigaraki, in Shiga Prefecture. The museum was built to house the art collection of Mihoko Koyama, the heiress to the Toyobo textiles and one of the wealthiest women in Japan. It was designed by I. M. Pei and completed in 1997. The museum houses Koyama’s permanent collection of Asian art and antiquities. We were also able to see a temporary exhibit of ancient glass called “Feast of Color.

Entrance to the Miho MuseumThe main show piece of the Museum was the building itself. It is located on the top of a mountain. In order to fit it into the surroundings, the builders literally moved the vegetation and mountain-top off the mountain, built the Museum, and replaced the mountain top along with the plants and trees. There is a shuttle bus from the parking lot, but we chose to walk the one-quarter mile to the entrance. You walk through an enormous tunnel designed so that as you approach the end, the Museum is framed in the circular opening of the tunnel. This view was spectacular. The inside of the building was also stunning with lots of glass, views of the neighboring mountains, different levels and angles.

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