1. Big Pumpkin is Sitting at the Historical Place in Gion

Big Pumpkin is Sitting at the Historical Place in Gion

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Forever Museum of Contemporary Art in Gion-Kyoto 

Yayoi Kusama



Kyoto is the second home of Artist Yayoi Kusama.



She studied Japanese painting at the Kyoto City University of Art. After she moved her base from Japan to New York City, she gradually became a world-famous Japanese artist. She is still the kind of artist who is at the forefront when it comes to work for creativity.


“My Soul Forever” – the title of the exhibition comes from her important massage.


Forever Museum of Contemporary Art (FMOCA) is the first museum displaying contemporary artist in Akita. After 10 years of operation, FMOCA was moved to Gion Koubu Kaburenjo Theatre – Yasaka Club.





Gion Koubu Kaburenjo Theatre?


Gion Koubu Kaburenjo Theatre was built in 1913. Because of its historical significance, it has been recognized as one of the tangible cultural properties of Japan since 2001. The building is known as the stage of Miyako Odori, an annual dance performance by all maiko and geiko of Gion Koubu district.


Gion Koubu is the biggest one of the five maiko/geiko districts in Kyoto. It’s located close to Yasaka Shrine. In the beginning of 17th century, many people around the country visited Yasaka Shrine and girls served tea and snacks to visitors. Those tea girls started to dance and sing to gather many visitors to Gion, the area around the Shrine. This is the begging of the culture of maiko/geiko.

The Gion Koubu Kaburenjo Theatre is located in the middle of the Hanami-koji Street.  

The street is very crowded with tourists who are waiting for a moment to see maiko and geiko. However, maiko and geiko don’t usually appear at a street until time for a dinner reservation, ozashiki. If you want to see a maiko at the street, you should visit there around 18:00 or later.


Please keep in your mind that taking a picture of maiko or geiko without their permission is considered as a rude behavior, so when you do so, ask the maiko whether it’s okay to photograph or not.


Signs of FMOCA at the Hanami-koji street





What’s special about FMOCA?


The big pumpkin is a sign that you arrive at FMOCA finally; it seems like the pumpkin is welcoming visitors. It’s one of Yayoi’s major works. The exquisite combination of the traditional architecture and the piece of modern art is something I’ve never seen before.



Pumpkin/ in 2007, Mixed media


The entrance to the museum is on the right side of the pumpkin. A ticket is available for purchase with the bending machines.



A great number of her artworks are organized in a chronological order, according to a place when she draw and themes of the works. There are four exhibition rooms, the museum cafe and the shop in the building. In 2017, the Exhibition Room 5 will be open for other significant works by Yayoi Kusama.

Guests are only allowed to take a picture by a smartphone camera at Exhibition Room 1 and 4 (the last section of the room). Both of the two rooms desplay Yayoi’s world-famous woks, Yellow Trees and A Boat Carrying My Soul.


Yellow Trees/ in 1992, Acrylic on canvas


A Boat Carrying My Soul/ in 1989, Mixed media


There are three words that Yayoi always keeps in her mind when she begins to work. They are eien (forever), mugen (limitless), and tamashii (soul). By each of her works, we can faintly read her massages related to the three words. Visiting the museum will be a memorable time on your day when you learn why she became a world famous artist. Enjoy her unique tastes, such as dots, nets and color variation!




■Basic Information


Forever Museum of Contemporary Art. Gion-Kyoto

YAYOI KUSAMA “My Soul Forever”


Date: June 10th ー October 29th without closed days


Hours: 10:00AM ー 6:00PM / entrance opens until 5:30PM


Ticket: Adult/ 1,200 yen, Students (- high school)/ 800 yen


Location: Gion Koubu Kaburenjo Theatre – Yasaka Club Google Map


Station: Gion Shijo Station (Keihan Main Line)


English Website: http://www.fmoca.jp/en/index.html


In the heart of Gion, where history meets contemporary art, stands a striking pumpkin installation by Yayoi Kusama, inviting a blend of tradition and modernity. This artistic landmark is complemented by the “Hochoshiki Knife ceremony,” a venerable event celebrating the artistry of Japanese knife-making. Together, they offer a multifaceted experience of Kyoto’s rich cultural tapestry.


A sacred place for Japanese food, a treasure house of ingredients, Minami-Boso Takaya Shrine Kitchen knife ceremony "Ryumon-no-Koi" long story: edited by Minamiboso City Tourism Association Channel




Forever Museum of Contemporary Art, Gion-Kyoto. (n.d.). Retrieved July 06, 2017, from https://www.timeout.com/tokyo/art/forever-museum-of-contemporary-art-gion-kyoto
FMOCA フォーエバー現代美術館 祇園京都. (n.d.). Retrieved July 07, 2017, from http://www.fmoca.jp/


Thank you for reading!


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