“Katsushika Hokusai and the Three Shinanos” Exhibit Honors the Enduring Legacy of Japanese Art at Nagano Prefectural Art Museum
  • “Katsushika Hokusai and the Three Shinanos” Exhibit Honors the Enduring Legacy of Japanese Art at Nagano Prefectural Art Museum

    Prepare to be enchanted by the captivating world of Katsushika Hokusai as Nagano Prefectural Art Museum proudly presents the highly anticipated exhibition, “Katsushika Hokusai and the Three Shinanos: Obuse, Suwa, and Matsumoto”. This extraordinary event takes you on a mesmerizing journey through the artistic evolution of one of Japan’s most influential artists. Whether you are an art enthusiast or simply curious about the simple wonders of traditional Japanese art, this exhibit promises an immersive experience. Join us as we explore the life, masterpieces, and the deep connection between Hokusai and these three regions of the modern day Nagano Prefecture.

    • Exhibit Dates: July 1st – August 27th, 2023 (EXCLUDING July 31st – August 2nd; CLOSED Wednesday)
    • Business Hours: 9:00-17:00 (Exhibition room entry until 16:30)
    • Ticket Prices: 1,600 yen (adult) 800 yen (middle & high school) Special Hokusai Exhibition ONLY
    • Free admission for children (not yet enrolled in middle school)
    • Special Commemorative Ticket and Poster Available (3,300 yen)
    • Nagano Prefectural Art Museum: 1-4-4 Hakoshimizu, Nagano City, Nagano Prefecture 380-0801
    • More information located at the bottom of the article

    Katsushika Hokusai, Candid Visionary

    Katsushika Hokusai, born in 1760 in Edo (present-day Tokyo), was a visionary artist who left an indelible mark on artistry worldwide. With a career spanning over seven decades, Hokusai is best known for his mastery of the “ukiyo-e” style, which translates to “pictures of the ever-changing world,” which is represented through art by the simple layered printing of vibrant water-based inks on a block of wood. His works beautifully depicted the everyday life, landscapes, and historical events of Japan’s Edo period.

    Katsushika Hokusai “Under the Wave off Kanagawa, from the series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji” Japan Ukiyo-e Museum [First Period]

    Even if you do not know his name, you undoubtedly have come to know his art, as “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” from the series “Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji” is but one of his masterpieces that have become timeless icons of Japanese art worldwide. Hokusai’s unique style and innovative techniques inspired the Impressionist giants that succeeded his legacy, including renowned painters Claude Monet, Paul Gauguin, and Vincent van Gogh.

    What You Can Expect to See at the Gallery

    Immerse yourself in an enchanting world of Hokusai’s design as the gallery explores the artist’s profound relationship with three regions of Shinano: Obuse, Suwa, and Matsumoto. The exhibition is thoughtfully divided into three sections, each representing Hokusai’s artistic connection and inspiration from these locales. 

    Section one of the gallery features Hokusai’s pieces which were inspired by or dedicated to Obuse, a town famous for its chestnut production and is the location of the Hokusai Museum. In his mid-80s, Hokusai came to Obuse and painted several masterpieces including Masculine Waves and Feminine Waves for the ceiling of the Kanmachi Festival float, which is present in its entirety in the first floor exhibit hall! This floor also features a full-size high-definition reproduction of the ceiling painting, Phoenix, featured in Obuse’s Gansho-in temple.

    “Kanmachi Festival Cart” Obuse Town Kanmachi Community Association
    Katsushika Hokusai “Phoenix(Higashimachi Festival Cart ceiling panel)” Obuse Town Higashimachi Community Association

    Moving upstairs, the viewer can also experience Hokusai’s more general artistic ventures, such as the vibrant landscapes and delicate nature scenes present in various ukiyo-e print sets including Oceans of Wisdom, A Tour of Waterfalls in Various Provinces,as well as the entire forty-six print collection of the renowned Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji. This section also features some of Hokusai’s lesser known and unique works, such as hand-painted scrolls, and first edition copies of books featuring Hokusai as an illustrator. 

    Katsushika Hokusai “Scenery on Both Banks of the Sumida River” The Sumida Hokusai Museum
    Katsushika Hokusai “Priest Kōbō Daishi Exorcising a Demon” Nishiarai Daishi Sōjiji [First Period]

    Section two of the gallery features Hokusai’s artwork in reference to his potential visit in his fifties to Suwa, a town famous for its large lake. Although this section features Lake Suwa in Shinano Province, a selection from the aforementioned Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, the main attraction is the rarely exhibited Portrait of Chino Hyōgo. This work intimately features portraits of Chino Hyōgo, chief retainer to the Takashima Domain, as well as that of his son, which give further context to Hokusai’s travels during that period of his life.

    Katsushika Hokusai “Lake Suwa in Shinano Province, from the series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji” Japan Ukiyo-e Museum [First Period]

    The gallery’s third section shifts the focus from Hokusai proper to that of his influence on one of his lesser known disciples, Hōtei Gosei, and his connection to the Matsumoto region of Shinano. Gosei worked under several names over the course of his career, and this is represented in his art through an evolution upon the style that Hokusai impressed upon him, while also creating works that were nothing like his mentor. As Gosei’s works represented a blending of techniques, it also represents the lasting influence that Hokusai had upon his contemporaries, pupils, and successors.

    Hōtei Gosei “Two Beauties Catching Fireflies” Itabashi Art Museum [First Period]

    These three sections reveal Hokusai’s artistic genius and his deep appreciation for the beauty of the Shinano region. Through his art, Hokusai invites you to witness the enchanting allure of these three destinations and their cultural significance. 

    Exhibition Information

    “Katsushika Hokusai and the Three Shinanos: Obuse, Suwa, and Matsumoto” art exhibit will be open to the public from July 1st (Saturday) to August 27th (Sunday) in the year 2023. Please be aware that the exhibition will be closed from July 31st (Monday) to August 2nd (Wednesday) to make preparations between session one and session two of the special Hokusai exhibition. The museum itself is also closed each Wednesday. The Nagano Prefectural Art Museum welcomes visitors to its special exhibition during its regular business hours from 9:00 to 17:00 (last admission at 16:30). 

    Limited edition handmade admission ticket and accompanying poster made from Uchiyama-Gami

    To embark on this artistic journey, a modest entrance fee of 1,600 yen for adults and 800 yen for middle and high school students will be required to enter only the special Hokusai exhibition. As a special commemoration, the museum offers a limited edition handmade admission ticket and accompanying poster made from Uchiyama-Gami, a traditional Japanese paper handmade in Nagano Prefecture, depicting some of Hokusai’s most famous works, allowing visitors to bring a piece of this extraordinary exhibit home. This special admission ticket and accompanying poster comes at a modest price of 3,300 yen.

    Additionally, the museum boasts a delightful array of unique souvenirs that capture the essence of Hokusai’s artistry, ensuring an unforgettable experience.

    Public Transport Information

    As there is no general visitor parking available at the Nagano Prefectural Art Museum, use of public transport is encouraged. Traveling to the Nagano Prefectural Art Museum is convenient, with various transportation options available. 

    Option #1 – From the No.1 bus stop of the Zenko-ji Exit bus station at the JR Nagano Station
    Take either:

    1. Alpico Route 11 bound for ‘Uki’ via Zenko-ji Temple
    2. Route 16 bound for ‘Wakatsuki Higashijo’ via Zenko-ji Temple and ‘Wakatsuki Danchi’
    3. Route 17 bound for ‘Wakatsuki Higashijo’ via Zenkoji Temple and ‘Nishijo’

    Get off at the ‘Zenko-ji-kita’ bus stop. The museum is a 3-minute walk east from the stop.

    Option #2 – From the No.1 bus stops of the Zenko-ji Exit bus station at the JR Nagano Station
    Do the following:

    1. Take the Binzuru-go buses bound for Zenko-ji Temple, and get off at the ‘Zenko-ji Daimon’ bus stop (The ride takes approximately 13 minutes)
    2. Walk along the road that approaches the main shrine up to the main hall of the Zenko-ji Temple
    3. then turn right toward Joyama Park (approximately a 10-minute walk)

    On weekends and holidays, get off at the Joyama Koen-mae bus stop.

    Option #3 – Taking a local train from Nagano Station

    1. Take the Nagano Dentetsu Train Line northbound
    2. Get off at Zenko-ji-shita Station
    3. Walk toward Joyama Park (approximately 10 minutes)

    Embark on a captivating journey through the artistic world of Katsushika Hokusai at the “Katsushika Hokusai and the Three Shinanos: Obuse, Suwa, and Matsumoto” exhibit at Nagano Prefectural Art Museum. Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of ukiyo-e, and explore the profound connection between Hokusai and these three regions of Shinano.