The National Museum of Art, Osaka

The National Museum of Art Osaka, NMOA

Art Hour at NMOA

I love art museums. I think that they cultivate creativity and enrich their visitors lives. They also add great character and value to a city. The National Museum of Art Osaka, NMOA, is no exception to this.  Located in a relatively bland business block of Nakanoshima, NMOA adds some much needed pizzazz to area’s skyline. With a striking wing-like frame at the building’s entrance the first piece of art to be admired at NMOA is the building. Once inside, you’ll be able to see what other wonderful architecture and art Osaka has on offer!

Exhibition Space

Although it’s not labeled as such, to me, NMOA is very much a modern art museum. It’s pretty hard to think otherwise with a permanent collection made of up of works by Rothko, Miro, Calder, and Suda Yoshihiro. I personally think this is great and tend to visit more because of it. However, if contemporary art isn’t really your thing – don’t worry. NMOA’s exhibitions change frequently so you won’t have to wait long before something else comes in. 

National Museum of Art, Osaka

Although NMOA isn’t small, their permanent collection definitely is. I’d say, that with an average pace, you could easily all the pieces in 45 minutes. This leaves ample time to check out both of the other exhibition areas. Even though there is a fee for each, it’s almost always worth paying to see both as the shows usually vary greatly in content. On my most recent visit, this couldn’t be more true, as B2F exhibited THE PLAY since 1967  (Kansai based art group making temporary art pieces for over 50 years – I highly recommend this one!) and Venetian Renaissance Paintings on B3F. 

National Museum of Art, Osaka

In addition to the exhibition areas the museum also boasts a little restaurant/café, and a gift shop for quirky gifts and nice art books. The staff are very friendly and will try to do the best answering your questions. Although it depends on the exhibition, in general, all of the displayed pieces  have both the artists name and title of the work in English. For larger international shows, I’ve also seen rental audio guides.

National Museum of Art, Osaka

Overall, NMOA is a really nice place to visit if there is a worthwhile exhibition on or if you have an interest in architecture. Don’t go expecting to see a large permanent collection because they really don’t have one. Instead, go when you have an hour to kill or are after a speedy art fix. 


Prices vary by exhibition. You can find exact fees as well as information about upcoming exhibitions and hours on the official NMOA website here.

Definitely look out for discounted tickets, or collaborative tickets, like the Osaka Amazing Pass.


From Higobashi Station, it’s about a 10 minute walk out of Exit #3.