Now Open: The Sumida Hokusai Museum in Tokyo


the new Sumida Hokusai Museum designed by Kazuyo Sejima

If you’re an Ukiyo-e fan, it’s time to get excited. The much-anticipated Sumida Hokusai Museum, dedicated to world-renowned ukiyo-e artist Katsushika Hokusai, opened this week. And it looks beautiful.



The museum was designed by Kazuyo Sejima, perhaps Japan’s most well-known female architect, who is known for her ethereal forms and high level of refinement that unnervingly capture a site’s social and physical context. Sejima created an angular structure that encompasses and reflects on Hokusai’s own interest in oblique angles and contrasts of near and far; manmade and natural.


a space for rotating exhibitions


the permanent collection


General admission not required to shop at the museum’s gift shop

The 4-storied structure will have permanent but also rotating special exhibitions that display the massive 1800+ collection of Hokusai’s work that’s part of the collection. And the museum’s location is no coincidence. Hokusai spent the majority of his career working and creating artwork in the Sumida Ward of Tokyo. There’s even a map on the museum’s website that lets you explore certain locations of interest.


the new Hokusai-inspired license plate available to Sumida Ward residents

In conjunction with the opening of the museum, residents of Sumida Ward are getting something special: the chance to obtain a custom Hokusai license plate! If you live in Sumida Ward you can apply here.


the original Hokusai painting that inspired the museum’s logo

The logo for the museum is also interesting. It was chosen based on an open call for entries back in 2009. The winner, Kiyoji Takase, came up with the unique idea to borrow the lightning bolt that appear’s in one of Hokusai’s more famous works. The logo “has a sharp and strong form,” says the museum, and “makes us feel its intensity and energy.” The spreading of lightning bolts also represents the philosophy of this museum – “disseminating information to the world.”


1 Comment

  1. Horrible-looking museum for Hokusai !

    If the architect hadn’t happened to be a woman, would the nonsensically effusive description you give have been so hyperbolic ?
    Can’t we be honest?—this shed looks like something that Walmart might use as a reserve warehouse.

    Yet another monument to the egocentricity of today’s so-called “architects”………

    Needless to say, Hokusai deserved something better and different!!
    No wood,no earth,no paper,no nature,no warmth,no intimacy !
    But lots of fuel for designer-vanity!!– unless perhaps Hokusai was really all about geometric sterility and rectilinear frigidity???….gosh,maybe I understood him wrongly?

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