Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Mizunokuni (outside)

A morning at the water museum 9082

This is one of my favorite museums in all of Japan. The setting, landscaping and water-scaping, architecture, artworks, and even the lunches in the cafe are all excellent, and yet the place is empty most days.

It's only a few kilometers from where I live, and I drove by it hundreds of times and never went in, presuming it to be overpriced and boring like so many provincial museums.

When I finally made it in I was gobsmacked and have been back many times since.

A morning at the water museum 9076

The museums proper name is Museum 104 (104 degrees being the angle between the 2 hydrogen atoms in a water molecule.... but you knew that already!), but it is known as Mizunokuni, Waterland, and as might be guessed it focusses on the art, and science, of water.


The museum was dersigned by Takano Hiroyuki, and opened in 1997. The main building is meant to represent Noah's Ark resting on Mount Ararat, but to me it looks more like a bridge.


Inside the main building is an interactive area where visitors can explore the properties of water, actually a lot of fun. There is also a lot of art whose relationship to water is tenuous, but interesting anyway.


Mizunokuni is open from 9 to 5, Thur through Mon, entrance 400yen for adults, 200yen for kids.

You can be almost guaranteed to have the place to yourselves if you visit.

A morning at the water museum 9309

Mizunokuni is located on Rte 261 along the Gonokawa River, about 25 kilometres upstream from Gotsu. There is a Jr station about 2k away at Shikaga.


  1. Wow! Are those angles yours? Or did the architect plan them when making the design. I mean how the building curves with the landscape. Amazing! Kudos to you if you found them on your own, or th architect if she/he designed it, or both of you if it was independent effort.

  2. I find the place easy to find "good angles"... I'm going to do a few more posts on the place...

  3. Very cool. I will have to go there. Thanks for showing it.

    I wish you would have cut and pasted the Japanese address into the post or provided a link to their website even if it's in Japanese. It would be a big help for me to find this place.

  4. Just found it, sasuga Shimane. They also have the Sand Museum.

  5. Thanks for sharing. I would really like to go but it seems kind of far :(

  6. It's only far for those at the other end of the country :)

  7. Looks like a great place.
    I couldn't figure out what the black ring was at first. I thought you might have put a watermark on the photos or something. It was only on the last photo I realised it was a sculpture. d'oh.

  8. A little fancy Googling finds...


    The website :D It has times, prices, maps, etc.

    Sounds like a neat place. Kind of a shame I'll probably never have an opportunity to go.

  9. I want to go! Tragically I'm in Kitakyushu sans car, so getting there seems like it would be somewhat of a trick. Or a trek. I love these kinds of museums.