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Mitsui Memorial Museum – Part 1

Our 8th usage of the Grutt Pass was going to be at the Bridgestone Museum of Art near Nihonbashi. For the second time we encountered a museum that was closed due to a rotation in exhibits. Ugh.

We flipped through our pass booklet to find the closest museum, and it turned out to be the Mitsui Memorial Museum. We had no idea what to expect as we hadn’t researched this fall-back museum at all. We got really lucky.

Nothing was available in English so we didn’t know what we would be seeing. In the second room of the exhibit I realized that we had stumbled upon some of the most famous works to ever be created in Japan. Thank you Bridgestone Museum for being closed! Otherwise we would have never seen these originals.

Photography was not allowed so the pics below were not taken by me.

hokusai under a wave

First up was Hokusai’s “Great Wave off Kanagawa” (Katsushika Hokusai 葛飾北斎 神奈川沖浪裏). The original is not as pretty as the prints you normally see which have been altered, but the feeling while seeing the real thing is far better than the cleaned-up prints. The above is a photo of the original. Click on the above to see the version you are probably more familiar with.

hokusai branches willow tree

The above was drawn from basically the same spot that I took this next picture on Enoshima.

enoshima sunset compared to hokusai woodblock ukiyoe

Another ukiyoe that brought back a recent memory was this next one by Hiroshige (歌川広重) from his series “The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tōkaidō.”


We were near that spot a few weeks back in Hakone at the Old Tokaido Hakone Checkpoint. Here is a photo I took then from the same general location. Unfortunately, the clouds obscured Mt. Fuji for my picture, unlike Hiroshige’s.

hakone checkpoint tokaido ashinoko lake ashi

By the way, the museum entrance fee would have been 1,200 yen. We got in free with the Grutt Pass.

3 Responses to “Mitsui Memorial Museum – Part 1”

  1. 1
    Joshua Zimmerman:

    Japan has such a great landscape. Its always fun to see traditional artwork and its depiction of a preindustrial Japan.

  2. 2
    Christchurch Photo Diary:

    “Great Wave off Kanagawa” is a screen saver option on the new MacBook!

  3. 3

    Wikimedia has a high resolution version of that famous Hokusai print. I’ve used it to make a big poster, which looks great. 🙂