“New Museum of Modern Art” coming soon!

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The first of its kind – a museum which brings together art and design

The “Museum of Modern Art, Toyama” will be moving its collection, which includes works by world-renowned artists such as Picasso and Milo, to a brand new location near Toyama Station, in the Fugan Canal / Kansui Park area. The new museum is slated to open in summer 2016.

Since 1981, the “Museum of Modern Art, Toyama” has been displaying its collection, which includes 20th century greats such as Picasso, Milo, Delvaux and Shikō Munakata. Highly praised both in Japan and abroad, the museum houses notable collections such as its 12,000 posters and a rich array of design pieces that include an eclectic assortment of 240 chairs.

However, the museum’s current home is 33 years old; inadequate earthquake resistance and the building’s sprinkler system prevent it from qualifying for governmental aid programs geared towards the arts. As a result, the museum has been increasingly forced to act in isolation, and opportunities to cooperate with other museums have been limited. A move has been discussed for some time, and museum is taking advantage of this opportunity to secure a wonderful location near Toyama Station, in the western section of the Fugan Canal / Kansui Park area.

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The “New Museum of Modern Art”, as it is being provisionally called, promises to bring together the worlds of art and design in a way that has never seen before. The museum plans to showcase its world-class collection inventively, exploring new perspectives and innovative styles of display. As well, with the addition of a new workshop space, the museum will provoke interaction; it will be dedicated not only to the appreciation of art, but also to inspiring creativity in patrons.

The new building will have 3 floors, and its design incorporates huge glass windows to create a wide-open feel that overlooks the Fugan Canal and Kansui Park. The rooftop garden will be directly accessible from Kansui Park via a grand staircase, allowing park-goers to appreciate views of the Tateyama Mountain Range and Jinzū River at their leisure. The 1st floor will feature a gallery showcasing local works such as Takaoka caste bronze, Inami wood carvings, and other traditional crafts unique to Toyama in addition to a cafe, restaurant and museum gift shop. The 2nd floor promises something new for patrons visit after visit with its ample space for temporary exhibitions, as well as the creatively presented 20th century collection. Concerts, fashion shows and other events will also be held in the 2nd floor foyer.

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The 3rd floor will explore the fusion of art, design and music, and feature a workshop area where patrons can feel the joy of creating art themselves. Patrons will also be able to dine in style at the first Toyama appearance of the famous Tokyo restaurant “Taimeiken”.

Toyama residents eagerly anticipate the summer 2016 open. With the popular Kansui Park nearby, the museum is sure to become a place for people of all ages to gather and experience a unique blend of culture, art, and nature. Make sure to check out the museum when you visit Toyama!

Source: (Article and images) Toyama Just Now

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The year of the Toyama Marathon!

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Originally written for the Vol.9-No.1 edition (Feb 3, 2015) of the Toyama Hot News e-newsletter.

Scheduled for November 1st of this year, Toyama Marathon 2015 will be a full marathon on the largest scale held in Toyama Prefecture up to date. Held during the same year as the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen and marking the first annual “Toyama Marathon”, this will certainly be an event to remember. Part of this event’s allure is the scenery; the catchphrase for the marathon is “Mountains, ocean and towns – run along the beautiful Toyama Bay!” Contestants will feel the tradition and culture of the area as they run past harbor towns and experience the amazing natural beauty of the bay and Tateyama Mountain Range.

In addition to the full marathon, there will be 10K, 5K, 3K and 2K races as well as a wheelchair 10K, ensuring that all runners can participate. It promises to be a grand sports event for all Toyama citizens, regardless of handicaps or age. Of course, participants from outside the prefecture are welcome to come and share in the excitement, finding energy from supporters along the way as they get a taste of Toyama’s air and scenery.

The marathon hopes to attract around 12,000 participants. While general entry begins in late April, from the beginning of April early entry begins in categories for Toyama citizens, domestic tour entry, and Toyama Marathon supporters. The entry fee for the full marathon will be 10,000 yen, and will include a commemorative T-shirt as a gift for participants. Other races will cost between 1,000 and 3,000 yen, and participants will receive a commemorative towel.

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                    “Marathon for Beginners” class

Let’s see what is in store for the marathon course! Starting in the Takaoka area, runners will make their way through the beautiful coastal area of Imizu and finish out their 42.195 km in Toyama. In Takaoka, runners will be seen off from the beautiful greenery and stunning moats of Takaoka Kojo Park, the former site of the Takaoka Castle. In Imizu runners will have a chance to look out over Toyama Bay, a member of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World, before crossing Shinminato Bridge, the largest cable-stayed bridge on the Sea of Japan coast. Since the bridge is normally only accessible to vehicles, this rare experience is sure to leave an impression on participants! Finally, in the Toyama area runners will pass Toyama’s streetcar lines on their way to the finish line at Kansui Park. Connected to the Fugan Canal, Kansui Park is an oasis in the middle of the city which celebrates Toyama’s cultural connection to water.

Along the route, events are being planned to cheer on contestants. Gorgeous floats including Takaoka’s Mikurumayama and Shinminato’s Hikiyama will be on display, and traditional cultural practices such as the gallant yabusame (archery on horseback) and Genpei Taiko drumming will excite the crowd and lead the cheers. In addition, junior high and high school student orchestras will add to the energy with their performances. All of this support from Toyama citizens is sure to help runners find their strength and push through the fatigue.

Countdown timer lighting ceremony (Takaoka Kojo Park)
                                   Countdown ceremony (Takaoka Kojo Park) 

As the marathon approaches, preparation is already in full swing. On October 26th, 2014, nearly a year before the marathon’s scheduled date, a rally was held around Takaoka Kojo Park. The event included the starting of a countdown timer and a mini practice run. As well, “Marathon for Beginners” classes were held in summer and fall last year. Not only did participants learn about running form and breathing techniques, they also motivated each other, pledging to finish the marathon.

For those in Oregon interested in participating in the marathon, a representative said that event details and information on how to enter should be available in English on Toyama Marathon’s official homepage by the end of March, so make sure to check the site at that time!

Source: (Article and image) Toyama Just Now