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Get a glimpse into what the masterpieces are like

Otsuka Pharmaceutical's pet project to make the world's art pieces accessible to the world. Built... read more

Reviewed April 4, 2021
Nishinomiya, Japan
Pleasant surprise.

I was not expecting much here. But I had some time on my hand so decided to go and see this... read more

Reviewed January 2, 2021
Shyam N
Tokyo, Japan
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Reviewed May 10, 2018

Into all travels, some rain must fall. On such days, a trip to a museum is in order. Wouldn’t it be great to wander the halls taking in the world’s great art? Maybe sit undisturbed for a good long time staring at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel? Ponder the mysteries of the Mona Lisa without the crowds taking selfies? Compare and contrast certain themes in art by looking at all those paintings in the same room? Well, if you happen to be in Tokushima prefecture, then you are in luck! Make it a point to visit the Otsuka Museum of Art in Naruto.

This museum is something of a gimmick, and that is that many of the world’s great paintings and such are accurately reproduced here – except onto ceramic instead of canvas. Which means, essentially, that they will last for ages without maintenance. I won’t get into all the technical details, but suffice it to say these are well done – you would not, looking from a normal distance at any given painting, be able to tell the difference between it and the real thing. All the reproductions are actual size, so when you view Da Vnci’s “Last Supper” you are seeing it largely as you would be if you were viewing it in Milan – although you can get closer to this one. And needless to say, the Sistine Chapel room is, yes, the size of the actual Sistine Chapel. Although the flooring and non-painted parts of the wall do not exactly match the real thing, it is a rather small quibble.

I will note here that there is one possible distraction for purists – because of the nature of the process to make these ceramic reproductions (they are fired in a ceramic oven for 8 hours), there is a size limit to each panel. Smaller paintings (Mona Lisa) are of course made using only one panel. But larger paintings consist of several panels put together – which means there are visible lines on these. At first I found this a bit distracting, but once you see the overall picture, so to speak, it ceases to be a major disturbance. Certainly, if you were to see the original paintings in their original settings, it would be a better experience in many ways. But this museum does have some rather unique strong points.

The first strong point is the completeness of the collection as far as art history goes. You will see Grecian Urns, Roman Mosaics, Medieval Altar panels, the very best of the Renaissance, the Impressionists, and even Picasso’s Guernica (again, life-size) here. No museum in the world has all this in one place. Anyone with a serious interest in art history would well appreciate the nature of the overview here. And for the rest of us amateurs, it is a very good introduction to it all. Few people who are on a budget will be able to travel to the great museums of the world to see all this in its original form. The Sistine Chapel is not the only room re-created – a number of other significant chapels and rooms exist. I was very impressed by the El Greco Altarpiece – which unites the original collection of 6 panels in one room (the collection as it is now is in museums in Spain and Romania).

Secondly, there is a number of themes in art which have been explored over the centuries. For example, “The Annunciation” was a common theme from the Renaissance. To see a collection of all the major paintings from this theme in the same room, and compare and contrast what the artists did in each of them, is to gain an understanding you might not have gotten had you individually travelled to each separate location to see each painting.

A third strong point is Da Vinci’s “Last Supper.” As the reader may be aware, this painting has been “restored” because of damage. The Otsuka Museum is probably the only place in the entire world where you can see a life-sized reproduction of the original, and across the room, the same painting in its current restored version. And if you want my opinion, the original is better – for all its damage, it is greater than the sum of its parts. Compared to the original, the new one looks as if the Gimenez School of Restoration had a hand in it (Google Images: “Ecco Homo” if you don’t get the joke). I think the set-up in this room alone is worth the trip.

There are headphones you can rent for a audio guided tour – and I think they do have an English version, although I did not use these. If I have one critique of the museum, it is that aside from certain major works, most of the paintings did not have an English explanation which could be read next to the little Japanese explanation for each painting. I would have thought this would not be too difficult to do, as not everyone is into audio tours.

There are a number of restaurants and cafes, and I would recommend eating on the grounds, as there are not a lot of places nearby to eat, and to really see this place will take the better part of a whole day. The admission price is a rather hefty 3200 yen, but I can’t say it wasn’t worth it. There is parking, which if free if you get your ticket stamped in the museum (so take it with you!). The parking lot is located a bit of the road north and west of the museum, about 500 meters away along the coast of the Inland Sea. There is a shuttle in the lot bus which goes to the museum very regularly.

In any case, if art is your thing, and if you are in Tokushima, I would definitely give the Otsuka Museum a look. And if you have trouble getting past the fact that these are not the “real” works, just remember that someday, many hundreds of years after civilization has collapsed, these might well be the only “real” representations of thousands of famous artworks left in this world.

Date of experience: April 2018
7  Thank Michael L
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 16, 2017 via mobile

This was my first trip. Not a lot of people on a Saturday. Abt 1.5 hour drive from downtown Osaka. Parking spaces were plenty.
All art work are replicas done by a sophisticated molding and painting. Although the artworks were replicas, where else could you find all the major important pieces of the past century all in one place?
Certainly worth the trip! I could not wait to bring my kids here.

Date of experience: October 2017
2  Thank chunjihw2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 17, 2017 via mobile

1.1000+ quality replica of the world famous artists at one place.
2.Before and after the restoration of 'the last supper' and you can see them closely, not like the original you can only see far and above.
3.No queue. You can take photos without other people's heads.

There are more reasons but three is enough, i think.

Date of experience: May 2017
8  Thank 979midiy
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 11, 2017

Nice collection of art, but all just copies. Way to spend so much when you can just put a similar poster on the wall.
They have spent so much money on this museum, they should have had some nice original art in there too.
Entry price is way too expensive.

Date of experience: April 2017
4  Thank Shlomi T
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 6, 2017

Where else but in Japan would a billionaire spend half a billion setting up an enormous art museum and then fill it with fake art? But somehow it works. We spent most of the day here and had to rush to finish seeing every room. The full-size reproductions are exceptionally presented and the settings (e.g. full-size Sistine Chapel) are incredible. The 1000+ works on display cover a sample of all of Western art from antiquities to modern. Unfortunately almost all of the interpretive signage is only in Japanese, so you have to rent the English audio package. Restaurant and cafe are good. Overall, it was a very unusual but exceptionally enjoyable day. Don't miss it, even if the whole idea does seem too weird to be believed.

Date of experience: January 2017
5  Thank Craig C
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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