Miho Museum

Top choice in Kansai

Secluded amid hills and valleys near the village of Shigaraki, this knockout museum houses the Koyama family collection of Japanese, Middle Eastern, Chinese and South Asian art, and beautifully displayed special exhibitions. The facility is at least as impressive as the collection. The IM Pei–designed main building, reached from the ticket centre via a footpath and a long pedestrian tunnel opening onto a gorge, feels like a secret hideout in a futuristic farmhouse.

The museum's construction was quite an engineering feat: the top of the mountain was removed, the glass-and-marble building constructed, and the ground replaced as before around and above it, down to the massive red pine (a video explains it).

Teisan buses depart several times a day from JR Ishiyama Station for the museum (¥820, approximately 50 minutes). Check the museum calendar and bus times on the website before setting out. If you're driving here, note that the road is very curvy and narrow.