- 2 Chome-8-19, Asagayakita, Suginami, Tokyo
- Distance from Station:
- 6 minutes on foot from JR Asagaya Station (North Exit)
- 03-3338-0239 (Japanese only)
- 11:00am – 5:00pm on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays (Closed Monday – Thursday)
- Japanese only
IRIE KAZUKO SILK ROAD MUSEUM
Take a Journey to the Silk Road in Local Tokyo!
[published July 2019]
This small art museum is only a six-minute walk from JR Asagaya Station. It is run by Kazuko Irie, a women in her 100’s (103 at the time of this article, July 2019). She is a prominent artist who turned her house into a private museum in the year 2000. The museum exhibits more than 100 pieces of her works from small items to large sized paintings including oil on large canvases (259cm x 194cm). They are mostly her life work, paintings of the Silk Road, the historical trade routes spanning across Asia that connected the East and West, as well as flowers and others.
Irie-san grew up in Korea and China where she decided to become an artist before moving to Japan to study painting at Joshibi University of Art and Design in Tokyo in the 1930’s. In 1978 at the age of 62, a visit to Beijing, China in the wake of recovery of diplomatic relations between Japan and China, sparked Irie-san’s sketching journey on the Silk Road that continued until she was 92 years old. The Silk Road Museum displays her artworks from and inspired by that time as well as items from those regions.
The items on display change about once a year. The most fascinating works are Irie-san’s original paintings of the Silk Road– beautiful, magnificent sketches and paintings of inhabitants of a simple lifestyle with their unbounded cheer in song and dance, the hustle and bustle of markets, flocks of sheep, and various other subjects stretched across gigantic, colorful canvases. You will also find rare musical instruments, ethnic costumes and rugs that she herself collected in Central Asian countries.
Small goods like scarves of beautiful colors and postcards of her Silk Road paintings are sold. Please be aware that the museum is open only three days a week, from Friday to Sunday. In spite of her age, she still continues painting and creating new work in the museum, so if you are lucky, there’s a chance you can meet Irie-san, who is a very charming lady.
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