The Sumida Hokusai Museum houses the works of Hokusai — one of Japan’s most famous artists. Opened in 2016, this museum follows the life of the ukiyo-e artist, and explores his relationship to Sumida Ward where the museum is located.
The museum was designed by Kazuyo Sejima, an award-winning Japanese architect. In her design, she aimed to make the museum blend in with the surrounding neighborhood, and feel welcoming and accessible to locals. It was also important to make sure the building could properly store and exhibit fragile artworks.
The permanent exhibit is divided into seven sections, with each section dedicated to a different part of Hokusai’s life. Displays are informative and there are lots of English translations. There are also touch screens available in other languages. We really liked the video that explained how to make Nishiki-e, and the life-sized model of Hokusai’s art studio.
Special exhibitions are often held at the Sumida Hokusai Museum. They usually feature artworks by Hokusai or his students, and last for one to four months. For example, in 2023 there was a special exhibition called “The Hokusai Bird Park”. Artworks in this exhibition all had birds in them and were painted by Hokusai and his students.
You will find a small museum shop, a lecture hall, and a library at the Sumida Hokusai Museum. The museum shop mainly has products with Hokusai’s artwork on them, including postcards, t-shirts, and artprints. There’s also a small selection of books, some of which are in English. But, unfortunately there’s no café.
How to buy tickets for the Sumida Hokusai Museum
Tickets for the permanent exhibition cost ¥400 adults. Special exhibitions have an extra fee, usually from ¥700 to ¥1,000. You can buy tickets in person at the museum, but not online.
There are a surprisingly number of ways to get discounts at the Sumida Hokusai Museum. First, entry to the permanent exhibition is free with the Grutto Pass or the Tokyo Pass. If you visit during the month of your birthday, you’ll get 20% off the entry price. You can also get 20% off discounts in several other ways — find out more here (link in Japanese).
How to get to the Sumida Hokusai Museum
It’s just a 5-minute walk from Toei Ryogoku Station, or a 10-minute walk from JR Ryogoku Station.
Frequently asked questions
How long do you need to visit the Sumida Hokusai Museum?
1 to 2 hours is enough for the permanent exhibition. Allow more time if you’d like to see the special exhibitions.
Does the Sumida Hokusai Museum have English information?
Yes, most signs and information boards in the museum have English translations.
Middle School students: Free
Elementary School students: Free
Has wheelchair accessible toilets
- 0.7 km from Ryōgoku Station
- 1.0 km from Morishita Station
- 1.1 km from Kikukawa Station