Translated by Takuya Erik Watanabe
Toyama Glass Art Museum (2): Contemporary Glass Art Exhibitions
Written by Osawa Kumi
Toyama Glass Art Museum opened in the summer of 2015. It's gathering much attention for its contemporary glass art. We will be introducing some of the artwork in this article.
Last time, we introduced Kengo Kuma's architecture and how to get to Toyama Glass Art Museum in the Hokuriku region. Today, we will be focusing on the museum itself and how to enjoy it to the fullest.
Permanent Exhibition (Collection Exhibition)
There are exhibition rooms on each of the floors from the 2nd to the 6th. This is the Collection Exhibition on display as a Permanent Exhibition on the 4th floor (Exhibition Room 4).
In contrast to the bright stairwell style interior of the building, subdued lighting and black walls emphasize the beauty of the glass works. On this particular day, middle school students were invited to the museum. The museum is not only a tourist spot, but also a facility playing an important role in the local area.
(Photo: Work by Pavel Hlava)
This time when we visited, a part of the collection was on display at the Sukeru Shūzōko ("Transparent Storehouse") in the back of the exhibition room. Other than the permanent Collection Exhibition, various special exhibitions are also held. When we visited, the "Howard Ben Tré - Casting of Being" and "The Glass Art of Kyohei FUJITA "Contemporary" Tradition" were on display. For information about what exhibitions are being held and the period they will be there, check the official website.
At the free public areas on the 2nd to 4th floor called the Glass Art Passage, you will find many works of art by artists associated with Toyama decorating the walls.
Toyama city has been working on reviving the glass industry as well as the cultivation of human resources as the Glass City Toyama since about 30 years ago. As a result the city has produced many glass artists, which is said to have had an impact on the establishment of this Glass Art Museum.
Visit the Glass Art Garden on the Top Floor
On the 6th floor is the Glass Art Garden which displays installation art by Dale Chihuly, the great master of contemporary glass art. Here you can immerse yourself in the world of beautiful designs and colors.
Some of the works can be seen on the website of the Glass Art Garden, but the impact of the actual exhibition is beyond description. It was a breathtaking sight. We recommend you to visit and have a look with your own eyes.
Museum Shop and FUMUROYA CAFÉ
After enjoying the glass artwork, you can stop by the Museum Shop on the 2nd floor for some shopping. The shop has catalogs of the exhibitions, glass artwork and miscellaneous goods, as well as museum goods lined up in an elegant display.
The tote bags, plastic folders, and towels are also popular.
These are green ballpoint pens with a texture like that of glass. Next to those are little trees made of masking tape. Credit cards are usable for most of the items in the shop, but the exhibition catalogs are only available for purchase in cash.
Next to the Museum Shop is the FUMUROYA CAFÉ, a quiet spot where you can relax. We recommend you try out the Japanese-style dishes.
Lastly, we received a comment from the guide who so kindly showed us around: "This is a rare art museum even in Japan, focusing on contemporary glass art. Glass is used as a material for many things in daily life, but we encourage you to experience the beauty of glass as art."
The Hokuriku region boasts a rich history and culture. Along with Kanazawa, Toyama is a core city of the Hokuriku region and we believe it will be attracting much attention from both in and out of Japan.
Toyama Glass Art Museum
Address: Toyama, Nishichō 5-1
Hours: 9:30-18:00 (Open until 20:00 on Fridays and Saturdays)・Shop and Cafe are open until 19:00 (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)・Shop and Cafe are closed on the 1st Wednesday of the month and year-end and New Year hoidays
Credit Cards: Cash only for art museum・Credit cards are usable for most items in the shop
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