Japan // Around Tokyo //


Situated on the Shinkansen line between Tokyo and Ōsaka, the hot-spring resort of ATAMI (熱海) serves as the eastern gateway to Izu, and one of the jumping-off points for Ōshima. The main reason to come here is to visit the outstanding MOA Museum of Art (MOA美術館), carved into a hillside above the town. Though it takes a bit of effort to get to, the museum’s remarkable architecture and collection of mostly ancient Oriental art easily justify a visit. You can buy slightly reduced tickets at the tourist information desk inside Atami Station before hopping on a bus from the station concourse up to the museum. Buses drop you outside the museum’s lower entrance, from where you ride four escalators that cut through the rock to the main exhibition halls. Each room contains just a few pieces, of which the most famous – only put on show in February of each year – is a dramatic folding screen entitled Red and White Plum Blossoms by the innovative Ogata Kōrin (1658–1716). The most eye-catching exhibit is a full-size replica of a golden tearoom, lined with gold leaf and equipped with utensils made of gold, and built in 1586. The museum’s well-tended gardens contain teahouses serving macha and sweet cakes.

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