Towada Art Centre
Opened in 2008 by the Arts Towada Project, the Towada Art Centre has become a must visit location for those spending time in the Aomori area. Located between Hachinohe and Lake Towada, the Towada Art Centre is a sprawling, multifaceted mini art metropolis. Since its opening the Centre has reinvigorated the local and national arts community, showcasing some of the most exciting and groundbreaking contemporary art in the country.
Monolithic and stark white, architecturally the space is a work of art in itself. Built with the concept of creating an ‘art city’ the Towada Art Center is technically a series of small individual rooms connected by glass corridors, giving visitors the opportunity to explore the area’s indoor and outdoor works simultaneously. Architect Ryue Nishizawa designed the gallery with its collection of commissioned works in mind. Many of the permanent pieces are housed in their own individual rooms, described as ‘art houses’ that were specifically crafted to give viewers the optimal space in which to experience the works.
As well as housing iconic pieces within its walls, the surrounding grounds of the museum are dotted with sculptures and outdoor installations ready for exploration. Situated around the gallery grounds, on the streets and in the park across from the museum, the Centre has art is literally spilling onto the street. Towada Art Center is more than just a gallery space. Their facilities also include a collaborative hub for artists, a cafe, shop, and other community spaces that are home to cultural programs and connect the local residents with the greater art community.
From Tokyo station a trip to the center will take you about three hours and 20 minutes by JR Tohoku Shinkansen departing at Tokyo Station and arriving at Shichinohe-Towada Station, with the shinkansen tickets costing 16,510 yen. From the Shichinohe-Towada Station you can catch a 35 minute bus to Bijutsukan-mae where the museum is located. No matter what time of year you visit, you’re destined to see something unforgettable, as the gallery houses a permanent collection of work made exclusively for the Towada Art Center. The Centre commissioned 38 pieces by 33 local and international art icons such as Yoko Ono, Yayoi Kusama, Choi Jeong Hwa, and Ron Muek.
If you plan to visit just be aware that the opening hours run from 9am- 5pm every day of the week except Monday. However if a public holiday falls on the Monday the museum will be open on the holiday and closed the following Tuesday. Admission for adults is 510 yen for the permanent collection and 600 yen for the individual exhibitions. Or you can experience both for 1,000 yen. Children under the age of 18 are free. For international guests the gallery offers a free English audio guide that can help direct you on a solo journey through the space.