Yokohama Museum of Art

Evening at the Yokohama Art Museum
Photo by: Studio Mohawk, Creative Commons

The Yokohama Museum of Art should be on the top of your to-visit list when you are travelling to Yokohama, Japan. The museum, particularly its structure, is an artwork itself. It was designed by award winning architect Kenzo Tange.

The building is well lit, well ventilated and has excellent acoustic properties. Because of this, the museum has become a favorite venue for art exhibits and cultural presentations.


The opening of the Yokohama Port marks a new era for Japan, its culture, economy, politics and art. The preservation of the artifacts that were created during this era is the primary goal of the Yokohama Art Foundation.

The museum is home to artworks from modern artists such as Pablo Picasso, Ossip Zadkine, Henri Matisse, Rene Magritte, Jimmy Ernst, Salvador Dali, Paul Cezanne and Constantine Brancusi.

Japanese Masters

More importantly, the Yokohama Museum gives shelter to the most important Japanese artworks of that time especially those who have close connections to Yokohama. In the museum you will see works from Chizuko Yoshida, Kanzan Shimomura and Imamura Shiko. In the past, the museum also exhibited works from Lee Ufan, Yasumasa Morimura and Kiyoshi Hasegawa.

The museum displays other works that show the mutual influence that were apparent between modern Japanese and European artists. If you will take notice of the timeline, you will realize that most of the art works were created upon the opening of the Port of Yokohama.

The works that you will see foster the understanding of trends and progress in contemporary art. In simple terms, the works emphasize the issues that today’s artist’s face. You will also see works that were patronized and guided by Hara Sankei and Okakura Tenshin as well as artworks from artists who were born in Yokohama.

For hundreds of years, Japan has isolated itself from the west. The opening of the Yokohama Port marks a new era. If you want to immerse yourself in the history of this very important period, the Yokohama Museum is the best place to start.

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