Asian Art Museums You Should Visit | CoolJapan

One way to immerse yourself in the culture of a place you’re visiting is by viewing their art. If you’re planning on doing that, then go straight to the numerous museums in the region. Asian culture is diverse and colourful, so checking out Asian art museums will be quite an interesting treat for all. If you’re an artist, then all the more you should visit these sites! Inspire your creative soul and check out these museums around Asia.

Aomori Museum of Art, Aomori, Japan

Tons of Asian art museums are scattered throughout Japan, but if you want something a bit more different from the usual exhibits, head off to Aomori Museum of Art. Located just outside of downtown Aomori, this museum is a must-visit for contemporary art enthusiasts. The site houses imaginative art pieces, including the wacky 8.5-metre tall dog statue. The building was designed to resemble the nearby Sannai Maruyama Archaeological Sites. Instead of being displayed above ground, the collection pieces in their temporary and permanent art exhibits are displayed in spaces dug into the earth to mimic the archaeological site. 

Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts, Hong Kong, China

While the Hong Kong Museum of Art is closed this year for renovation, check out Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts to get a glimpse of Hong Kong’s colonial past and modern present. The place used to serve as the Central Place Station Complex that contained three Declared Monuments: the former Central Police Station, the Central Magistry, and Victoria Prison. Now, the whole compound has been transformed and presents many forms of contemporary art for visitors to enjoy. Tai Kwun hosts numerous exhibits each year, as well as performing arts shows — so be sure to catch one if you’re a sucker for theatre. 

BenCab Museum, Baguio, Philippines

If you plan on wandering off to the highlands of Baguio, make it a point to check out this art museum just outside the city proper. BenCab Museum is a site both art and nature lovers will enjoy as the place is surrounded by a lush mini-forest, a farm, and a hill. The galleries in the museum house National Artist Benedicto Cabrera's (BenCab) masterpieces, as well as indigenous crafts and traditions of the Cordilleras. So if you want to learn about the untouched history of the Philippines, this place where heritage, art, and nature meet is the place to be.

Penang State Museum and Art Gallery, George Town, Malaysia

Dubbed one of the best state museums in the country, the Penang State Museum and Art Gallery is a place you must see when you travel to George Town. Back in 1816, the grand museum building used to be the first-ever English language public school in the east but was converted into a museum in the ‘60s. The gallery houses permanent exhibits that showcase Malaysia’s national and state treasures throughout history. From a collection of Baba Nyonya porcelain to oil paintings of by Captain Robert Smith, you’d see displays tied to Penang’s history and community. Meanwhile, their temporary art exhibits usually feature works of local contemporary artists, offering a glimpse of Penang’s culture in the 21st century.

Vintage Cameras Museum, Singapore

Once you’re done admiring art as a finished product, why not go see it behind the lens — literally? For all who enjoy photography, there’s the Vintage Cameras Museum in Singapore for a unique art appreciation experience no other Asian art museums can give. Inside a camera-shaped structure, you will see a collection of a thousand cameras on display. Look back and see the evolution of your favourite gadget throughout the years. Though cameras are the focal point in this museum, you can also view a rare collection of photographs and a replica of the first photograph ever taken. 

(Cover photo from: @uruyok)

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