The Utsukushi-ga-Hara Open-Air Museum
Stunning modern sculpture in an outdoor setting, with impressive views of alpine plants in full bloom!
(C) NPTAThe Utsukushi-ga-Hara Open-Air Museum is located on a plateau, 2,000 m above sea level. It is the only outdoor art museum in Japan at such a high altitude. Covering an area of 40,000 square meters, the outdoor exhibition space has 350 modern sculptures on permanent display.
Thumb, sculpted in marble and modeled on the sculptor's own thumb enlarged to a size of 308 cm, is by Cesar. In the name of the work A Monument to Love, Yuki Shintani rhythmically expresses the unique dynamism that he has added to the sensual beauty that he learned from Emilio Greco. Sinfonia, by Julio Eduardo Goya, is inspired by the orchestra. Moreover, in a huge sculpture standing 14 meters tall and weighing a total of 36 tons, Alexander Liberman depicts the collapse and rebirth of cities. In addition, visitors can encounter the powerful works of extraordinary artists such as Mel Edwards, Ryokichi Mukai, Munehide Hosokawa, Susumu Shingu, Jiro Takamatsu, Jesus Mayagoitia, and Masuo Ikeda.
There is also an indoor exhibition space focusing primarily on paintings, as well as an area where children can get to know more about art. Another attraction that should not be overlooked is the alpine plants growing wild around the museum's outdoor exhibits. It is a particularly impressive sight between May and September, when 200 varieties of flower bloom in profusion, as though vying with each other as to which is the most beautiful.
Address: Utsukushigahara-Kogen, Takeshikamihoniri, Ueda City, Nagano
Phone: 0268-86-2331 (the main number), 0268-85-2111 (winter season: December-March)
Hours open to visitors: 09:00-17:00 (admission until 16:30)
Admission Fee: 1,000 yen (adults), 800 yen (college and high school students ), 700 yen (junior-high and elementary school students), preschool children are free.
Closed: Winter season (mid November-late April)
Directions: About 1 hour and 30 minutes from JR Matsumoto Station (2 hours and 30 minutes from Tokyo Station) by bus; get off at Utsukushigahara-Kogen-Bijutsukan bus stop, then walk 10 minutes. (Car) 1 hour and 30 minutes from Suwa Interchange on the Chuo Expressway, 1 hour from Okaya Interchange or 1 hour 10 minutes from Matsumoto Interchange on the Nagano Expressway (free parking available).