The Kobe Prefectural Museum of Art is a modern and contemporary art museum located in the heart of Kobe just minutes away from Sannomiya Station. It was built in 1995, and was part of the rebuilding project following the Great Hanshin Earthquake. It features over 8,000 works of art from Hyogo artist and artists around the world. The museum also features a special exhibit that changes every few months and is usually something different and interesting. Currently it is “The Contemporary Painting through the Curator’s Eye.”

I went on a rainy Saturday and it was so quiet that when I walked up I thought it closed because there was no one around. It was open, and downstairs in the lobby was a free jazz show that was crowded with people. I escaped upstairs and began to browse around the galleries. It was relaxing, and because there were only a few people around I could enjoy all the artwork uninterrupted. I floated around the gallery captivated by the miraculous work, minding the watching eye of the curators in each room.

The building alone is worth seeing and is a masterpiece of award winning architect, Tadao Ando, whose other works include The Tokyo Skytree, and the Awaji-Yumebutai, a place most people remember as the location of the midyear conference on Awaji Island. The building faces the beautiful Kobe Harbor and makes for a nice entry point if you feel like walking along the water.

A day at the Kobe Prefectural Museum of Art is a great way to spend some time when you feel like getting away from the noise of the city and just want some time to think in your own brain for a bit. It helps relax the stressful nerves one acquires from teaching in Japan and will bring you back to your sane state of mind.

The Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art is located in HAT Kobe district. It can be reached via a ten minute walk from Iwaya Station on the Hanshin Main Line (4 minutes, 140 yen from Sannomiya Station) or via a 15 minute walk from Nada Station on the JR Kobe Line (3 minutes, 120 yen from Sannomiya Station).

Hours: 10:00-18:00

Closed: Mondays and New Years Holidays (December 28- January 4)

Admission: Adults 500 yen. Special exhibits vary.

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