The Honma Museum of Art ({Ԕp, Honma Bijutsukan) is an art museum in Sakata. The site's main attractions are a Japanese garden that lies adjacent to the art museum building, and a grand Edo Period villa that overlooks the garden. The villa, which showcases various exhibits, is spacious and lavish and along with the picturesque garden, holds an atmosphere reminiscent of past centuries.

The garden and villa were originally constructed in 1813 as a holiday home for the head of the Honma family, a prominent merchant family in the area whose former residence can be visited in a different part of the town. The traditional garden is a strolling garden with a central pond and a winding network of walking trails that provide constantly changing, scenic views.

Looking out from inside the villa

The atmospheric villa is open to visitors and showcases a selection of exhibits from past centuries. It also houses a cafe. On the second floor there is a large tatami room with many windows from which great views can be had of the beautiful garden below.

The museum itself was opened in 1947 as the first privately-owned art museum in postwar Japan. The villa was originally the museum's main building before it was replaced by a larger concrete building in 1968. Today the museum hosts rotating, temporary exhibitions that change every few months and include historical artifacts from the area and wider Japan. Popular exhibitions from the museum's extensive collection of dolls are also periodically held.

The modern museum building

Access

The Honma Museum is located a five minute walk from JR Sakata Station.

How to get to and around Sakata

Hours & Fees

Hours

9:00 to 17:00 (until 16:30 November through March)

Closed

Mondays November through February; December 22 to January 7

Admission

900 yen (museum only), 1400 yen (museum and Honma Residence)

English

Minimal (English pamphlet available)