| Hokkaido

The Koutaru Migishi Museum of Art in Sapporo traces the life and romance of the genius artist Koutaru Migishi.

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The Kotaro Migishi Museum of Art

If you are on the road to “explore art” and want to enjoy a unique sightseeing spot in Sapporo we recommend the Hokkaido Koutaru Migishi Museum of Art.

Kotaro Migishi (三岸好太郎), was born in Sapporo, and lived in the late Taisho to early Showa era. He died young at the young age of 31. Even if you don’t know him by name, when you see his beautiful, poetic works, you will feel a connection to him. The small museum is surrounded by greenery and inside the museum is the popular café, “Cafe kinezumi.” It is a great place to visit with family and friends. A beautiful atmosphere to enjoy art and delicious food and coffee.


Enjoy the world of Kotaro Migishi.

“Live, paint, love!” This was Kotaro Migishi’s motto.
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Kotaro Migishi Museum of Art

Migishi debuted as an artist with a painting at the age of 20. He played an active role in the history of modern painting in Japan. His style rapidly changed in just 10 years. He went from painting portraits and landscapes to a clown motif. His work showed his fantastic vision, even in the abstract. In his later years his vision appeared as butterflies and shells.
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Daisuke Fukuchi (福地大輔), the museum’s curator says “the free spirit shown in his works represents the climate of Sapporo.” He recommends using the central spiral staircase as a viewing point.
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From this view, you can see works on the 1st and 2nd floor at the same time. “When you experience the variety of his work you may think it was not created by the same person.” His style is “free and uninhibited.”

There are free guides available to share the original stories concerning his art.

This museum opened in 1967. It was started when his wife donated 220 of Migishi’s works. His works also are displayed at the Tokyo National Museum of Modern Art and several other places throughout the country.
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Photos: Kotaro Migishi Museum of Art

The free guides are available daily from 1-3, except for holidays and special occasions. Feel free to sign up for a tour. They make it easy to understand exhibits and you can learn more about the life of Migishi. The typical tour lasts 30 minutes, but they can change the amount of time they spend with you if it is convenient. The showroom changes five times a year. This allows them to introduce the works of Migishi from a fresh perspective and variety of angles.

The Ghost of Maru exhibition is popular with kids!

You might think that going to an art museum would be difficult with children, but this museum is popular with children as well! The main reason is the Ghost of Maru series of books.
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It’s a series of books where Maru the ghost visits different places in and around Sapporo. In the summer & winter holidays a special “Ghost of Maru exhibition” comes to this museum.
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They use parts of the exhibition to explore the museum. Of course, it is also a good time to sell books and postcards. They also have located on the
second floor a creative corner where visitors can paint or draw. This part of the museum is very playful and fun for you and your kids.

Their garden and outdoor sculptures are a great way to explore art with nature.

Spring cherry blossoms, summer, spring and autumn leaves, and winter’s snow all create a beautiful natural scene at the Kotaro Migishi Museum of Art garden. You can enjoy the beauty of all four seasons here. The museum is located in the corner of the vast Hokkaido Governor’s grounds. The grounds are about 5.2 hectares of lush green lawns and trees.
The outdoor sculpture in the photo was created by Kan Yasuda. There are other sculptures in the Governor’s house and along the garden walking trails that have been built. The entire property is registered as a cultural property of Japan. You can walk along the gardens for free but there is an 820 yen the admission fee that will get you both the Koutaru Migishi Museum of Art and the Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art.

From the “Cafe Kinezumi” you can see can see a cute squirrel!

The curator, Mr Fukuchi is proud of the unique “Cafe Kinezumi” located near the museum entrance.
Cafe kinezumi

Cafe kinezumi

In the relaxed atmosphere of the cafe, you can enjoy some local favorites including the popular “Monkuru” (homemade yeast bread), homemade sweets and fruit juice (500 yen / each). Also available is mountain pasture milk from a local farm (300 yen). While eating you may get a look at the popular squirrel named Ezoru.

Photos: Photo Rena®

It is a wild squirrel with a cute appearance. It is very soothing watching the squirrel play. He is easy to spot, especially in the winter snow.

Smart tip
  • The museum hosts "Orchestra" night where local musicians are invited to play. The number of visitors is limited, so check in advance.
  • There is a stamp card you get to keep track of the number times you visit the museum. If you visit three times in one year you get a special piece of memorabilia. If you visit five times you will receive a special commemorative book.
  • "Cafe kinezumi" most popular item is their original butterfly cookies. You can purchase 1 bag for 250 yen. If you order a coffee for 400 Yen you will get one bag free.
What's interesting

His wife, Setsuko (節子夫人) became successful as an artist after Migishi’s death. In the Aichi Prefecture they have the Setsuko Memorial Museum. Their eldest son, Koutaru (黄太郎) is also a painter.