Enjoy art at Simose Art Museum, a seaside multi-functional facility facing the Seto Inland Sea

Stretching along the beautiful Seto Inland Sea, Setouchi is a region full of hotels designed by world-renowned architects as well as art galleries, and a museum perfect for enjoying the autumn, which is a wonderful season for appreciating art in Japan, has opened in the region.

Simose Art Museum located in Hiroshima Prefecture opened on March 1, 2023, under the concept of “Admire art, inside art.” It has been attracting attention as a multi-functional facility consisting of a museum, hotel villas, and a French restaurant, where you can enjoy the fusion of art and Hiroshima’s beautiful nature. One of the must-see things at the facility is the architecture designed by 2014 Pritzker Prize winner Shigeru Ban with his artistic ingenuity.

Some of the extraordinary features are the movable exhibition rooms that Ban designed, being inspired by the islands of the Seto Inland Sea. Utilizing Hiroshima’s shipbuilding technology, these rooms can be moved by the buoyancy of water. The use of eight different bright colors for the exterior of these rooms has been inspired by the glass works of Émile Gallé.

Tears of Heart (Bleeding Heart) by Émile Gallé Simose Art Museum has a collection of about 60 pieces of glass works and furniture created by Émile Gallé.

Émile Gallé is a craftsperson of the art nouveau era, famous for his works inspired by nature, and who was also a botanist. At the Émile Gallé Garden, about 250 kinds of plants, including the ones featured in Gallé’s works, have been planted according to the climate of the Setouchi region. Enjoy a nice stroll in the garden when you visit the museum.

The garden provides you with a new type of artistic experience, in which you are surrounded by the plants that were featured in Gallé’s works.

In addition to Gallé’s works, Simose Art Museum’s collection includes Kurogoho Ritsuzo Ohina by Heizo Oki VI and Dancer in Blue Tutu by Henri Matisse, as well as many works by other renowned Japanese artists such as Taikan Yokoyama, Tsuguharu Foujita, and Kaii Higashiyama.

Kuro Honshikisokutai Ritsuzo Mebina Obina by Heizo Oki VI These are Hina dollls crafted by Maruhei Ooki Doll shop, which has a history of 250 years in Kyoto. Hina dolls are normally sitting but these are the rare ones in a standing position.

Dancer in Blue Tutu by Henri Matisse Although he was over 70 when he drew it, his powerful brushstroke shows Matisse’s unwaning passion for his creative endeavor.

When you go up the gentle slope outside the building, which is used for themed exhibitions, you will reach the “Seaview Terrace”—an observation area from which you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Seto Inland Sea. Here you can enjoy the Seto Inland Sea’s distinctive gorgeous seascape with islands such as Miyajima, Atatajima, and Etajima.

From Seaview Terrace, you can enjoy the view thet architectures of SIMOSE such as 8 colors' movable exhibiton rooms and the nature of setouchi are perfectly harmonized.

Another amazing thing about the facility is that it has a resort-like hotel called “Simose Art Garden Villa,” which has also been designed by Shigeru Ban in such a way as to blend in with nature. Ten individual villas are divided into two zones: Forest Villas and Waterfront Villas. Moreover, each villa has its own theme. The one named “Paper Tube,” for example, is characterized by portions of the structure being made with Ban’s signature recycled paper tubes. At the restaurant, you can enjoy light French cuisine, which is made with meat, fish, and a variety of organic vegetables grown in and around Hiroshima, in a relaxed atmosphere.

Simose Art Museum is a must-go place of the immersive art experience where everything you see and touch stimulates your senses. Why not explore the beauty of Japan from different angles?

■DATA Address: 2-10-50 Harumi, Otake, Hiroshima, 739-0622, Japan Opening hours: 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (admission until 4:30 p.m.) Days Closed: Every Monday (except public holidays), year-end and New Year holidays, exhibition changeover periods Tel. 0827-94-4000 Official website: https://artsimose.jp/en/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/simose_artmuseum/