Mashiko Sankokan Museum
An art museum where you can encounter many works that impressed Living National Treasure Shoji Hamada.
Mashiko Sankokan Museum exhibits numerous items that the potter Shoji Hamada, who in 1955 became the first person to be designated a Living National Treasure, collected over the course of his life, including ceramics, lacquerware, woodwork and furniture, and woven and dyed textiles.
The term "Sankokan" in the museum's name literally means "Hall of reference", and is derived from the original intention of opening a museum where a wide range of craftspeople and the general public could refer to the items that deeply impressed Hamada himself. As well as items believed to have had a great influence on Hamada's own efforts in the field of pottery, the museum also exhibits works by fellow potter and close friend Kanjiro Kawai, and Bernard Leach, with whom Hamada traveled to the UK and subsequently worked.
The appeal of the museum is not limited to its exhibits. One can view the whole of the museum as being a work by Hamada. This is because part of the museum's exhibition space consists of a portion of a traditional-style old house and a nagayamon gate (a type of gate common to the homes of warriors during the Edo period (1603-1868), consisting of a long storage building with a gateway through the middle), which Hamada had dismantled and moved to Mashiko in order to live in it.The five buildings in which exhibits are housed, and Hamada's studio and noborigama (chambered climbing kiln) have been laid out amid the spacious grounds in a way that enables visitors to enjoy the sight of them against the elegant backdrop of flowers and trees.
Address: 3388 Mashiko, Mashiko Town, Haga-gun, Tochigi
Hours open to visitors: 09:30-17:00 (admission until 16:30). Closing time differs according to season of the year.
Admission Fee: 800 yen (adults), 400 yen (high school and junior-high school students), free (elementary school students and preschool children)
Closed: Mondays (or Tuesday if Monday is a national holiday), December 28-January 4, and some summer and winter season closures.
Directions: 45 minutes from JR Utsunomiya Station (about 50 minutes from Tokyo Station by Tohoku Shinkansen) by a Toya Bus (bound for Mashiko); get off at Mashiko-Sankokan-Mae, then walk 3 minutes. (Car) 1 hour and 50 minutes from Yawara Interchange on the Joban Expressway, or 35 minutes from Mooka Interchange on the Kita-Kanto Expressway.