ARCUS Project




Around ARCUS Studio



Moriya City and Surroundings


ARCUS Studio, where ARCUS Project is based, is located in Moriya City, which lies in the south of Ibaraki Prefecture and has a population of around 68,000. About 40 kilometers from central Tokyo (and around 40 minutes by train on the Tsukuba Express), it is regarded as the city in Ibaraki closest to Tokyo. Completed in 2005, the Tsukuba Express is a very unique railway line connecting Tokyo’s Akihabara with Tsukuba Science City, where various science research institutes are found. Located immediately after passing the Tone River if coming from Tokyo, Moriya Station is the gateway to Ibaraki.

Surrounded by the three rivers of Tone, Kinu, and Kokai, Moriya was once a castle town and then a farming village. After the Tsukuba Express opened, Moriya’s convenient proximity to Tokyo led to its rapid development as a commuter town and construction on new condominiums continues today. Elegant agricultural villages can still be found around the outskirts of the city, creating a contrast with the residential areas where the newcomers live. One of the major features about the city is that it is home to the Asahi Beer Ibaraki Factory, which produces 740 million bottles of beer a year. Tours of the factory are available to visitors.

Facilities in the South of Ibaraki Prefecture

Moriya City, where ARCUS Studio is located, is in the south of Ibaraki Prefecture. This area hosts a wide range of exciting cultural and artistic activities.

Photo credit: T+

Tsukuba City

Tsukuba City is home to the University of Tsukuba, a major center for science and technology in Japan, as well as various other research institutes, including the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK). The University of Tsukuba’s School of Art and Design has 14 areas of specialization, from art history and art environment support to calligraphy, plastic art and mixed media, and different kinds of design, and among its alumni are such unique artists as Maywa Denki, Ryota Kuwakubo, and Yoichi Ochiai. The campus facilities include T+, a student-run art space where the work of young students is on view.


Photo credit: Toride Art Project “HARAPPA 2007”

Toride City

In Toride City is a campus of Tokyo University of the Arts with the interdisciplinary Department of Inter-Media Art. Featuring a teaching staff of eminent artists and curators, not least Katsuhiko Hibino, Tsuyoshi Ozawa, Kazuhiko Hachiya, and Natsumi Araki, the department nurtures the next generation of talent who will lead the art scene in the future. No introduction to art in Toride is surely complete without also mentioning the Toride Art Project (TAP). This highly acclaimed art project is led by local residents and was held as a large festival-style event until 2009, receiving the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Prize in honor of its success in harnessing contemporary art to contribute to regional promotion.


Photo credit: Ushiku Contemporary Art Exhibition

Ushiku City

Adjoining Ushiku Swamp, Ushiku City hosts various vibrant activities by local artists. The annual Ushiku Contemporary Art Exhibition is a large event at which their work can be viewed. The city also offers many surprising and exciting places to visit, including the Ushiku Daibutsu, which, at a height of 120 meters, is the largest Buddha statue in the world, and Ushiku Chateau (Denbei Kamiya Memorial Museum), which was the first winery in Japan.

Bando City

Bando City has the Ibaraki Nature Museum, located around 15 minutes from ARCUS Studio by car.

Museums and the Art Scene in Ibaraki

Tenshin Memorial Museum of Art, Ibaraki

Tenshin Memorial Museum of Art, Ibaraki

Tenshin Okakura (1863-1913) who played a key role in the establishment of Japanese modern art, moved to Izura coast area in Ibaraki after publishing his three books “The Ideals of the East” (1903), “The Awakening of Japan” (1904), “The Book of Tea”(1906). He aimed at rebuilding Nihon Bijutsuin (Japan Institute of Fine Arts) in Izura and invited his follower artists, Buzan Kimura, Shunso Hishida, Taikan Yokoyama and Kanzan Shimomura. Izura, the place described as “Oriental Barbizon” by Tenshin himself was an important part of the process which Nihon-ga (Japanese-style painting) became established as a genre of Japanese modern art. Collection of the Tenshin Memorial Museum of Art includes a number of first-class Japanese paintings by these artists. There are other places to visit around the museum: Nihon Bijutsuin site, Izura Institute of Arts & Culture, Ibaraki University (Rokkakudo, former house of Tenshin) and Tenshin’s grave.

The Museum of Modern Art, Ibaraki

The Museum of Modern Art, Ibaraki

Located in Mito, the prefectural capital of Ibaraki, the Museum of Modern Art, Ibaraki collects and exhibits a number of modern art works of Japan and West including the artists, Taikan Yokoyama and Usen Ogawa who were associated with Ibaraki. On the site of the museum, there is a restored studio of the painter Tsune Nakamura, which was located in Shimo-Ochiai, Shinjuku, Tokyo. Tsune Nakamura (1887-1924) developed his own style of painting influenced by those western artists Rembrandt van Rijn, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Paul Cezanne, and left remarkable works in the field of Yo-ga (western-style painting) during Meiji and Taisho era. Yaroshenko-Zo (Portrait of Vasilii Yaroshenko) (1920), one of his representative works is in the collection of National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo as a national important cultural asset. Museum of Modern Art, Ibaraki houses Nakamura‘s selected works such as Ratai (Nude) (1916), Kiji no seibutsu (Still Life with Pheasant) (1919) and Calpis no tsutsumigami no aru seibutsu (Still Life with Wrapping Paper of Calpis) (1923).


Photo credit: ART TOWER MITO Contemporary Art Center


Art Tower Mito opened in 1990. A comprehensive cultural facility with an art gallery, concert hall, and theater, it features Arata Isozaki’s striking architecture and iconic 100-meter tower. Since opening, the gallery has held many large exhibitions of leading figures in contemporary art, including Christian Boltanski, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Jenny Holzer, James Turrell, Daniel Buren, Ilya Kabakov, and Claude Lévêque. In recent years, the gallery has presented ambitious interdisciplinary exhibitions with a contemporary art focus, including “Rei Naito: on this bright Earth I see you” (2018), “Resistance of Fog: Fujiko Nakaya” (2018), “Shinro Ohtake: BLDG. 1978–2019” (2019), “Publicness of the Art Center” (2019), and “Michikusa: Walks with the Unknown” (2020). It also organizes educational programs for various ages, including the kodomo korabo rabo summer holiday program for students, the Art Bus shuttle service for schools, tours for the visually impaired, and, since 2005, the Asatte Asagao Project for locals to grow morning glory plants. Its “Criterium” series of solo exhibitions showcasing younger artists has surpassed 97 editions and established itself as an event that attracts attention each time. In the past, Art Tower Mito’s staff has included such talented curators as Eriko Osaka, Yuko Hasegawa, Kenji Kubota, Tsukasa Mori, Shin Kurosawa, and Mizuki Takahashi, and its current team features edgy and leading curators like Yuu Takehisa.

Near the museum is Mito Kiwamarisou, a modestly sized yet highly distinctive space run by the artist Hidekado Goto. Kiwamarisou is used in a variety of ways as a shared event venue by the PLAYROOM artist Tohru Nakazaki, the photographer Mieko Matsumoto, and others, contributing to the lively art scene in Mito.