The new Itami City Museum unites regional history, culture and art

The new Itami City Museum unites regional history, culture and art

Recently opened in April 2022, “Itami City Museum,” known as “I/M,” provides a wholistic picture of the city’s history, culture, art, and more.
One of Itami’s existing museums underwent a large-scale renovation to merge five cultural facilities (Kakimori Bunko, Itami City Museum of Art, Itami City Craft Center, Itami City Itami Gochokan, and Itami City Museum), now reborn as one.

The complex includes the former Okada residence and sake brewery that tell the story of sake production in Itami; the former Ishibashi residence; a Japanese garden designed by one of Japan’s master landscape architects; and exhibition rooms for a variety of fields including arts, crafts, haiku poetry, and history. These shed light not only on the city’s development but also the culture and arts of the region. Workshops and hands-on classes are offered in the atelier and the haiku poetry community is very enjoyable. Craft works are exhibited and sold at the Itami Gocho Craft Shop.

First, we headed to the Former Okada Residence and Sake Brewery.
The former Okada family residence holds a shop and sake brewery. The shop, in particular, is one of the few 17th-century townhouses remaining in the country. Along with the brewery, the structure was designated as a National Important Cultural Property in 1992.

Former Okada Residence and Sake Brewery

Here you can learn about the sake brewing process in Itami.

Sake barrels

Tools of the era used in sake brewing are on display.

Cleansing area and well

Above is only a small sample, but many other tools are on display, as well as a large screen showing the history of sake brewing in Itami.


Next, we headed to the Former Ishibashi Residence.

Former Ishibashi Residence

The former Ishibashi residence has the facade of an old-fashioned townhouse, with a mid-19th century main building that once housed a well-known general store.
This retro shop space has become the “Itami Gocho Craft Shop” where traditional crafts are exhibited and sold.

The Former Ishibashi Residence
Kitchen of the former Ishibashi residence

The 2nd floor is also open, offering a scenic view over the Japanese garden.

2nd floor of the former Ishibashi residence

Other materials on display show the history of the Ishibashi family and the area.

2nd floor of the former Ishibashi residence

We ventured on into the Japanese garden.

Japanese garden

The Japanese garden was created by Kando Shigemori, one of Japan’s preeminent garden designers, and partially renovated by Kando’s successor, Chiaki Shigemori. The sight of the beautiful garden was deeply relaxing.


Finally, we entered the exhibition room.

Displays in the exhibition room

The exhibits deepen our understanding of how Itami City has evolved through the ages from the Jomon period more than 10,000 years ago to modern day.
A model of early 18th century Itami also provides a feel of life in those days.

Model of historic Itami City

Despite the range of fascinating experiences I enjoyed, all the places introduced here were, surprisingly, completely free of charge.
Some special exhibitions and experiences in the atelier require a fee. Check the website for details.
I/M is a great place not only for people interested in the history of Itami, but for anyone who loves sake, culture or the arts.

【For related articles】
For more on what Itami City has to offer, check here!
Shirayuki Brewery Village Choujugura   
For other great spots in Itami City♪

This article was originally published on Tourism Guide of Hyogo Hokusetsu.
Follow the official SNS accounts of VISIT HANSHIN (Hyogo Prefectural Hanshin North Area Tourism)♪

Address 2-5-20 Miyanomae, Itami City
Access 6-minute walk from JR Itami Station
Business hours 10:00-18:00 (admission until 17:30)
Regular holiday Mondays (when Monday is a national holiday the facility is open, but closed the following weekday), New Year holidays

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The information herein is as of December 2022

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