Looking for a dose of art and culture? A trip to Kutchan town will deliver. Enjoy a visit to the Shu Ogawara Museum of Art, Kutchan Museum of Natural History, and stop off for a coffee at Sprout Espresso. Time permitting, visit TSUTAYA Bookstore and pick up a souvenir to take home. This is a perfect half day itinerary any season of the year, and particularly friendly for rainy days when hiking or exploring are off the cards.
Kutchan is located 10-15 minutes' drive from your MnK accommodation. Buses run frequently throughout the year between Hirafu and Kutchan, however we recommend hiring a vehicle to optimise your free time. Alternatively, you can walk approximately 10 minutes to the Hirafu Train Station from Country Resort, and alight at the next stop, Kutchan Station.
Shu Ogawara Museum of Art is located in Kutchan town. Shu Ogawara was an avante-garde artist born in 1911 in Kutchan, later graduating from Tokyo Art School. Ogawara returned to Kutchan after WWII ended and continued making art. The museum opened in 1999 to commemorate the painter's life and work. Discover the permanent gallery of work by Ogawara from his time at Art School and his last days as an artist. Temporary displays rotate through the year, simply check their annual schedule here. Admission is ¥500 for adults, ¥300 for high school students and ¥100 for junior high school and elementary school students.
The Kutchan Museum of Natural History opened in 2002. The exhibition space is divided into two areas, Natural History and Human History. Learn all about the nature that exists in and around Kutchan, view a remnant of an Imperial Japanese Naval Flighter Plane, learn about Kutchan's history, and walk over a huge aerial map of Mt Yotei and the Niseko Range. General admission is ¥200 with high school students and those younger free of charge. However there is a special discount for visitors who also enter Shu Ogawara Museum of Art.
Located on the main street of Kutchan, Yoshi and Yukiko Toge opened Sprout Outdoor Espresso in 2009. By 2017 they started roasting their own beans. No matter the time of year, we recommend a visit to Sprout for one of, if not the best, espresso coffee or drip coffee in town. The atmosphere is welcoming and relaxed, so bring a book or feel free to visit Fuji Sweets next door and pick up a choux cream.
A recent addition to the area, and Yoshi and Yukiko's latest project lies next door to Sprout. Camp&Go is a shared retail and gallery space that combines an organic bulk food and plant store, bicycle store and trail running shoe store. From time to time you can also catch art exhibitions, talks and special pop up events.
TSUTAYA Bookstore marks the final stop on this itinerary. Here you will find a wide selection of Japanese magazines, Japanese books, music, a limited range of English books, and many take home souvenirs. The Kutchan store of the famous chain also has a cafe located inside.