【Chiba】Hoki Museum – The world’s first museum dedicated to realistic paintings and its unique Architecture


The Hoki Museum, located in Chiba City, Chiba Prefecture, is a rare museum in the world that specializes in realistic paintings. There are not many opportunities to see realistic paintings in Japan, and – to be honest – at first, I was not very interested in them. I had always thought : “Realistic paintings are a bit of a thing of the past, while Contemporary paintings are more original and interesting”…

But I had read and saw pictures of the Museum itself and wanted to see the unique building by myself… In the end, it turned out to be a wonderful museum that changed my point of view on realistic paintings.

Hoki Museum

The Hoki Museum opened in November 2010 in Midori-ku, Chiba City, Chiba Prefecture, as the world’s first museum specialized in realistic paintings. The collection consists of approximately 500 realistic paintings collected by the late Masao Hoki, the museum’s first director. Most of the works are by currently active Japanese artists, and many of them were drawn especially for the Hoki Museum! So it really is an art museum that deepens communication with artists and grows together with them.

The interior of the museum is specifically designed for the collection of realistic paintings, with picture frame-free exhibition rooms, LED and halogen lighting embedded in the ceiling, and rubber flooring to prevent fatigue after long hours of viewing, making it a state-of-the-art museum.

The entire space is designed to allow visitors to enjoy the paintings in a relaxed manner. The ceiling lighting is beautiful like the Milky Way, and that alone was very relaxing. It is a pity that I can’t show you the inside of the museum because photography is prohibited, but the less you are distracted by taking pictures, the more you can concentrate on the artworks.

I have not had much opportunity to see contemporary realistic paintings, for example, Western realistic paintings of the Renaissance period, but when I actually saw them, I was simply amazed by their superb technique. The artist takes his time to carefully and painstakingly create each artwork in great detail, and can only create a few per year, depicting reality as he sees and feels it.

The works on display are all so detailed that they could easily be mistaken for photographs, but when viewed up close, the brush strokes are completely different from one work to the next and it is very interesting to see.

From my shallow knowledge, I am aware that after photography was born, different ways of expression were created to break away from realism, but I felt that photography – which captures a moment in time – and realistic painting are completely different genres. Realistic painting is more elaborate and expresses the artist’s thoughts more strongly. Of course, I think photography also expresses the photographer’s intention and intent, but the freedom of expression seems greater in realistic painting.

I recommend the Hoki Museum to those who already love realistic paintings, as well as to those who, like me, have little initial interest in them, as they will be astonished by the skill of the painters and will discover something new.

Unique Architecture

The reason I wanted to visit the Hoki Museum in the first place was because of its unique appearance. This museum seems to be floating in the air, as if no part of the building is supported by anything else.

Isn’t it amazing? It floats 30 meters above the ground! It is said to have a specific metal structure so that you don’t mind the swaying when you walk on it, but when I actually walked around the museum, I didn’t feel any swaying and had no idea where it was floating or where it was resting on the ground.

It floats from every angle…so cool! For those who love architecture, it is probably worth a visit just to see the exterior.

Please visit this museum specializing in realistic paintings, which is rare in the world.

Hoki Museum

Address3-15 Asumigaoka Higashi, Midori-ku, Chiba-shi, CHIBA
Open Hour10:00 – 17:30 (Last entry at 17:00)
CloseTuesday (If it’s holiday, it will be the following day)
Admission Fee【General】1,830 yen
【High school & College student】1,320 yen
【Junior high school student】910 yen
【Elementary school student】Free
Website (Japanese ONLY)