Miho Museum

All along this road
not a single soul––only
autumn evening


Miho Museum

The museum stands deep in the forested hill west of central Koka and can be visited in a side trip from Kyoto. It was designed by the renowned architect, I. M. Pei, and is named after Koyama Mihoko, one of the richest women in Japan and the founder of the museum.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the museum is the design of its structures and how they are integrated into their natural surroundings. This is highlighted in the museum’s approach which leads through a mixture of man-made and natural environments. The inside of the museum continues this theme by contrasting steel and glass with warm stone and panoramic views of the surrounding valleys.

The museum’s exhibits consist of works from ancient civilizations including the Egyptians, Romans, and various Asian cultures, with the pieces largely coming from Koyama’s private collection. The main exhibit changes every year or so, and special exhibits change every few months.

You may hear nightingales sing as you approach the museum.

Directions from Kyoto:

Take the JR Tokaido Line (local, rapid or special rapid service) from Kyoto Station to Ishiyama Station (240 yen, 15 min). From there take Teisan bus number 150 to the Miho Museum (820 yen, 50 min). The bus departs from bus stop three and says Miho Museum in both English and Japanese on its sign.

The bus arrives at the museum’s reception building which contains the ticket desk, gift shop, and a small restaurant. Purchase your tickets here before making your way to the museum’s entrance either on foot (five to ten minutes) or by free museum shuttle.