Virtual Gallery Tour Saitama – If you didn’t get a chance to come to Japan this year, maybe you even had to cancel a booked trip, you are probably feeling like you lost out. There is no real way to make up for that, but thanks to an increase of virtual tours online you can still “see” Japan from the comfort of your home own, until you get a chance to see it in real life.
There are dozens of articles popping up now showcasing virtual tours for various tourist spots. Japan Travel have a good summary of some of the more famous ones in this article here featuring places like Mt Fuji, the Kyoto distellery and some cheeky monkeys form Jigokudani. But, currently, the only information on virtual tours for Saitama Prefecture (in the English language) is the Nemophila or Baby Blue Eyes virtual tours showcase here.
Saitama Museums during COVID-19
The vast majority of Saitama’s museums and galleries have been closed since March 2nd 2020. Some closed a couple of days before that, some a few days after that. A few reopened after the loosening of the initial round of restrictions on March 19th. However, on April 8th Saitama Prefecture went under a State of Emergency advisory and all museums and galleries have been closed since then.
Reopening dates have not yet been set for most of the museums and galleries. The official period of the State of Emergency is from April 8th to May 6th. Therefore, all museums and galleries should in theory be closed for Golden Week. However, as several do not state when they plan to reopen, there is a very slight chance that some will reopen before the advised date.
However, in reality, I think it will be at least May 7th before we can visit a museum or gallery again. And I am going to go out on a limb and speculate that it will be even longer, possibly even 2021, before all museums and galleries are open to the public again.
Virtual Gallery Tours
So what to do during this period of closures? Are you fed up looking at your own four walls? Maybe you have kids who refuse to homeschool? Do you long for a bit of art, culture, history or just a change in pace? A virtual gallery or museum tour can offer a brief respite from the doldrums of lock down.
For a virtual tour you can sit in the comfort of your favorite armchair and get taken through a museum or gallery via the lens of a 360 camera, live cam and / or virtual tour. A virtual tour is usually a type of promotional video using still images and / or video footage of a location to give the viewer a taste of what the attraction has to offer.
There are hundreds of videos on Youtube that showcase the inside of museums and galleries around the world. But for the purpose of this series of articles (yes I will be introducing more!) I want to concentrate on the official sources. Official sources of virtual tours and / or live cams and / or 360 video footage specifically for Saitama’s museums and galleries and tourist spots.
First up, as I am missing art myself, a virtual visit to MOMAS…
A Virtual Gallery Tour
The Museum of Modern Art Saitama
The Museum of Modern Art Saitama, known fondly as MOMAS, is located in Kita Urawa Park. It was the first museum that Kurokawa Kisho designed. During this State of Emergency there are two different ways to bring the gallery to your home, and one of them (the second one) even showcases park too:
The first is through a series of short Youtube videos on the gallery’s official Youtube website. A sample of one linked above.
②Google Arts and Culture
The second way is with the excellent Google Arts and Culture. Admire the architecture, “walk” through the park and admire 99 pieces of the gallery’s offerings for free in this virtual tour from MOMAS. Beautifully presented on the easy to use Google Arts and Culture resource site;
Take a walk in the park and admire the architecture
For a ‘walk’ in the park and to admire the architecture click here.
⇈ How to use ⇊
From a laptop: click on the image to move forward. Use the curved arrows on the bottom right of the image to move up / down / left / right or you can grab the image by holding down with the left click and use the mouse or sensor pad with your right hand to swipe up / down / left / right.
From a smart phone or tablet: its a little trickier to operate from a phone or tablet. You need to use your two fingers to manipulate the street view to move up, down, left or right. Expand your two fingers to zoom out and pull them close together to zoom in.
Tour the inside of the museum
To tour around the inside of the museum click here. Navigate as explained in the grey box above, or click on each piece of work in the photos at the bottom. And then use the mouse to navigate further or click on another photo instead. Please note that not all art is on display in the virtual tour.
Includes for example:
- Modern Art Collection
- Post-Impressionist works
- Paul Gaugin
- Claude Monet
- Auguste Renoir
- Maurice Denis
- Jules Pascin
…to name but a few
We’re all doing the best we can to make our lock down / isolation / quarantine / cocooning time as productive and enjoyable as possible. Hopefully by sharing ideas we can alleviate some of the tediousness and find ways to enjoy our time ‘lock down‘ time as best we can.
Virtual tours are a great way to spend part of your day while cooped up at home. They a welcome chance to mix it up. Online tours also afford the opportunity to plan for future outings, when the Coronavirus is behind us. You can get an idea of places you’d like to see in real life or possibly realize somewhere that was on your bucket list doesn’t quite live up to your expectations.
Information for visiting in real life!
The featured image was taken from the official website.
|Address:||9 Chome-30-1 Tokiwa, Urawa Ward, Saitama, 330-0061|
|Hours:||10 am to 5.30 pm |
*currently planning to reopen on May 7th
|Cost:||Adults – 200 yen|
High school students – 100 yen
Children – free
Minutes walk from the Keihin Tohoku Line’s Kita Urawa station West exit.
There is no car park at MOMAS, but you can park at Mitsui Repark Saitama Kenritsu Kindai Museum coin parking. There is a discount available if you are using this car park. Please inquire at reception.