Matsushima Bay

Sugimura Jun Museum of Art

塩竃市杉村惇美術館 | Shiogama City Sugimura Jun Museum of Art

English-friendly workshops and a gateway to the local community

Photo by Shiogama City Sugimura Jun Museum of Art

Photo by Shiogama City Sugimura Jun Museum of Art

Photo by Shiogama City Sugimura Jun Museum of Art

  • Encounter the nucleus of Shiogama City’s vibrant and ever-changing cultural scene at the Shiogama Sugimura Museum of Art. Though called an “art museum,” so many cultural events and experience programs are hosted here that locals think of it more as a hip community center. Better yet, the museum warmly welcomes visitors from near and far into its community, and English support is available at nearly all their workshops and special events.

Established in 2014 and named after the late still-life painter Jun Sugimura, the museum acts as a springboard for learning about the city’s history through the lens of culture and the arts. The museum building, with its eye-catching arched architecture, was home to a thriving downtown community center during the mid-Showa era. It continues to fulfill that same function, of bringing people together—not only local residents, but also people from overseas who come to Shiogama, regardless of language or ethnicity.

Fun and interactive events are offered all year round at the museum. Kurashi no Ichi is a semi-annual open-market event which brings together local artisans of diverse backgrounds, while the Voyage Exhibition series showcases up-and-coming independent artists from the Tohoku region. The museum also hosts events associated with the Reborn Art Festival, a sprawling, two-month-long art biennale that takes place every other summer.

Like the exhibitions, nearly all of the events and workshops here are English-friendly. Some, like the English-friendly lacquer-brooch workshop, are available on a walk-in basis—no reservations required. English-friendly hands-on cultural programs include Japanese cultural experiences, like kimono dressing, and seasonal traditions like hanami. At the museum’s spring hanami event, visitors can sip wine and mingle with locals while viewing cherry blossoms.

  • Last Update
    March 18, 2020


  • The museum also runs a local volunteer group with members (including yours truly) from all walks of life, who meet up to help make workshops and events accessible to international visitors. The group, called JUNBI Supporter, also invites people to join in cozy community language-exchange events, and is always eager for more volunteers to join the group. For more information on events and the JUNBI Supporters, check out the museum’s English-language website.

    The community cafe Danwashitsu (lit. “The Lounge”) is also part of the museum. While serving as a cafe, it’s also a dynamic social space where you can meet new people and make new friends. A visit to the Shiogama Sugimura Museum of Art and nearby downtown area here will leave you with a special feeling: a feeling that you also are part of the community—one which continues to evolve with the times, and a global community which, in turn, makes Shiogama’s rich cultural heritage even richer.

    Special thanks to Aya Takada and Naoko Sakazume for their help with this article!


  • Matsushima Bay




985-0052 8-1, Motomachi, Shiogama, Miyagi


9-minute walk from Hon-Shiogama Station (Senseki Line)


¥200 adults


Not accepted




10:00–17:00 (last entry 16:30)


Mondays*, New Year's holiday period
*If Monday is a national holiday, the museum will be open Monday and closed the following day.



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