By Kelleen Haddad, Semester at Sea, Spring 2017

An art museum? You’re kidding me, right? Don’t get me wrong…I love art BUT visiting one was not part of my ideal itinerary during my limited 5-day stay in Japan.  Let me back track a bit. This past week I toured around Japan with a Semester at Sea program. We visited the best spots around the Kyoto and Tokyo. On the last day, our original plan was to eat lunch on a pirate ship followed by a gondola ride. Due to unfortunate weather, we ended up going to an art museum instead – now you understand my frustration.

Well let me tell you something, this will be the last time I will complain about a “change in plans.” This art museum was my overall favorite stop in Japan. There was tons of open land with different types of art structures everywhere you turned. They were unique and creative – not your typical dot on a white canvas piece of art. In case you ever chose to visit, I will highlight my top three pieces of art.

The first is clear bubble-looking structure made as a play-place for kids. It is pretty much a McDonalds play area 2.0 version. The sign may say only for kid’s ages 6-12, but I took that as a suggestion and climbed right to the top. I recommend trying it out for ALL ages – totally worth breaking the rules.

The next piece of art is an underground life-size maze made of stone. I suggest playing hide-and-go-seek, it was quite fun. The name of the art is called, “Garden of Stars” although I wasn’t able to reach high enough to see the star, so the picture probably looks like a jumbled mess – sorry about that.

The last and my personal favorite piece of art was a 6-story building. The outside seems bland and grey, but when you walk in, the entire inside walls (again SIX STORIES HIGH) filled with stained-glass-windows. That wasn’t even the best part. As you walk up the flights of stairs, admiring the inside, you reach the top and get to look out onto the entire art museum with beautiful mountains in the background; what a sight. I purposely did not include a picture of this beautiful image as an incentive to make you want to come yourself to experience the view.

In the end, the little surprise and change of plans turned into one of the best trips of my life. Embrace the change, be open to unknown adventures, and seize the day.