Translated by Takuya Erik Watanabe
Toyama Glass Art Museum (1): The Beauty of Kengo Kuma's Architecture
Written by Osawa Kumi
Toyama Glass Art Museum opened in the summer of 2015. It is gathering much attention for its contemporary glass art. Here you can enjoy the architecture of renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma.
Toyama city in the Hokuriku region is known for its heavy snowfall in the winter and its seafood. But did you know it's also famous as the "Glass City"? Today we'll be introducing in two separate articles the Toyama Glass Art Museum that opened in the summer of 2015.
How to Get to Toyama City from Tokyo and Osaka
The fastest route to Toyama city from JR Tokyo station is 2 hours and 8 minutes by the Hokuriku Shinkansen, which opened in 2015. If you're traveling by air, you can reach Toyama Airport in about an hour from Haneda Airport.
From JR Osaka station, you will head to Kanazawa on the Limited Express Thunderbird and transfer to the Hokuriku Shinkansen. This route will take you about 3 hours and 10 minutes. There are also express buses from various places but they will take more time.
After arriving at JR Toyama station, before heading toward the art museum you should stop by the information counter for information about the city.
From JR Toyama station, the art museum is a 6 or 7 minute ride by tram. If you're on the City Loop Line, you will get off at "Grand Plaza Mae" station. From there it's a 2 minute walk. If you're on the tram for Minami-Toyama station, you will get off at "Nishichō". It's a 2 minute walk from there also.
Toyama Glass Art Museum is located inside a facility called TOYAMA Kirari, which was designed by Kengo Kuma, a renowned Japanese architect. The unique outside appearance has combined granite, glass, and aluminum, and always shines bright despite its location in the Hokuriku region which doesn't have many sunny days in the winter.
First, let's buy tickets at the reception. The entrance fee for the permanent exhibition is 200 yen for adults and college students. Please note that credit cards are not accepted. The special exhibitions have different fees depending on the exhibition. English pamphlets are available as well so please make use of those.
As the direction board by the reception indicates, TOYAMA Kirari is a complex facility that offers not only the museum, but also other facilities like the City Public Library Main Building.
Now let's use the escalator to head to the 2nd floor. Sunlight beams in from the windows, creating a bright and open interior.
Kengo Kuma Design Architecture
The interior is unique for its slanted spiral-shaped stairwell style design, which continues from the 2nd floor all the way to the 6th. It uses Toyama-produced wood shingles with different angles, creating a warm design. They say there are many visitors that stop by just to see the amazing architecture.
Looking down from the higher floors, it seems like all the floors are one. Bookshelves of the Toyama City Public Library Main Building can be seen in the back. This building is really a fusion of "beauty" and "knowledge".
The wood shingles have been processed to be incombustible, and the total extension of the shingles is said to be about 10,000 meters.
Today we introduced how to get to Toyama Glass Art Museum and its architectural beauty. From the exterior that almost symbolizes the severe but beautiful nature of the Hokuriku region, to the interior which uses the local wood, it is a space where you can enjoy the beauty of the architecture. We encourage you to stop by and feel the sunlight.
Next time, we'll be introducing more about the museum. Don't miss it!
Toyama Glass Art Museum
Address: Toyama, Nishichō 5-1
Hours: 9:30-18:00 (Open until 20:00 on Fridays and Saturdays)
Closed: 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month and year-end and New Year holidays (special exhibition closed days may differ)
Credit Cards: Cash only for art museum
Menus and Pamphlets in Other Languages: English pamphlets available for museum
Nearest Station: Grand Plaza Mae station (グランドプラザ前) on City Loop (市内電車環状線) or Nishichō Station (西町駅) on Minami-Toyama-Eki-Mae Station (南外富山駅前行き) bound trains
Access: 2 minute walk from either Grand Plaza Mae station or Nishichō station
Price Range/Entrance Fee: Permanent Exhibition 200 yen for adults and college students, special exhibition fees vary
Religious Considerations: -
Phone Number: +81-76-461-3100
Website: Toyama Glass Art Museum