Ukiyoe Small Museum: “Open When I Wake Up and Close When I Must Go to Sleep”

Located in Kyoto, Japan, the Ukiyoe Small Museum has extremely flexible hours, at least for its owner/operator, artist Ichimura Mamoru, whose sign explains: “When I’ve had enough the store is closed.”

In big black block letters on a white placard, the message contrasts with the historic facade and is hard to mess. For years, the signage was only in Japanese, but a kind tourist translated it for him into English, at least roughly, so foreign visitors could also get with his unusual program.

Inside one will find woodblock prints in the traditional ukiyo-e style, which dates back to the 17th Century. These “pictures of the floating world” capture everyday scenes with recognizable perspectives.

Though less popular now, Mamoru and others like him still make work along the same lines — he learned from his grandfather, and is one of the last few dozen artists of his kind in Japan.

Those who manage to catch him during his hours of operation can tour the museum, shop and his workshop as well to see how the artwork gets made.