Unique Nagano

Mile-High Utsukushigahara Open Air Museum

Matsumoto & Northern Alps


Mile-high art. Actually, more than a mile -- Utsukushigahara Open Air Museum is located at the top of a 2000km altitude on top of a plateau towering over the Matsumoto and Shiojiri valley. Fantastic artwork at a breathtaking location.

"Unique Nagano" Recommendation

Utsukushigahara Open Air Museum is located on top of the 2000-meter tall Utsukushigahara plateau. The museum features outdoor sculptures by such famous international as Alexander Lieberman that are enhanced by the breathtaking background as well as the colorful wildflower foreground. Access is via the scenic "Venus Line", the road that traverses the plateau. "Venus" refers to an artifact from the prehistoric Jomon era found in the area. It is a figurine that, with a little imagination, is similar to the famous Venus de Milo statue. The Open Air Museum pays tribute to that heritage with one gallery dedicated to replications of famous Venus statues from the world.

"I love art, and I love mountains. The Open Air Museum at Utsukushigahara is the best of both worlds -- inspiring outdoor sculptures and the Utsukushigahara plateau. A lot of these types of sculptures seem to find themselves plopped down in front of a skyscraper or stuck in an urban park. But by displaying them here at this high elevation ridge above the clouds seems to do them proper justice. There are fanciful and whimsical sculptures as well. Our children (and their parents!) had a blast for pictures with them." (T.L., America)


By Car from Matsumoto: From Matsumoto IC on the Nagano Expwy, drive east to the city center, then Route 67 -> Azalea Line -> Venus Line. 70 minutes. Access is also possible from Okaya IC (Nagano Exwy) and Suwa IC (Chuo Expwy). By Car from Ueda: From Tobu Yunomaru IC on the Joshin'etsu Expwy, take Route 81 -> Route 152 -> Route 62, approx. 70 minutes. Either way, GPS navigation system highly recommended. By Train: From Matsumoto Station, Alpico Bus from Matsumoto Bus Terminal to Utsukushigahara Kogen Bijutsukan, 2 runs per day, 1 hour 40 min., Weekends and holidays from mid July to early August.


If going by car, the museum is best enjoyed in conjunction with a drive on the Venus Line. Restaurant and gift shop on the premises.


address :
Utsukushigahara Kogen, Kamihoniri Takeshi, Ueda City, Nagano Pref. 386-0507
tel :
url :
hours :
09:00-17:00 (last entrance 16:30)
closed :
Mid-November through late April. (Open daily from late April to mid-November.)
cost :
1000 yen (800 yen for highschool and university students, 700 yen for middle and elementary age). Children with adults free on Saturdays. 
reservations :
participants :