Everything you ever wanted to know about teeth and a little bit more is waiting for your discovery at the Ha Art Museum in Takamatsu City. “Ha” means tooth in Japanese and when you say it together with the English word “art,” you get something that sounds like “heart.” This play on words from two languages has in effect, given the museum two names.
Nestled on the spectacular Seto Inland Sea coastline of Aji-jo, from a distance the museum could easily be mistaken for a resort hotel. The swimming beach at the ground level and the boats anchored offshore add to its vacation get-away feel.
Ha Art Museum’s coastal location means that it is fairly isolated and secluded, with only one steep private road in. It takes you to the visitor’s parking area, which like everything on this cliffside, has a sea view.
You can enjoy this vista from the comfort of one of the “hand chairs” along the parking lot’s lookout point. There is also a large dish at this spot with two oversized bubble making rings. Once you start making long bubbles that arc in the air like a rainbow or huge spheres that seem to go up in the sky forever, you’ll find it difficult to stop.
Right on the cliff’s edge is is what is heralded as the toilet with the best view in Japan. It has an extremely wide window that looks out onto the water without obstruction. It’s very clean with a kitsch style to it that is surprising pleasant.
As you walk down the path that leads to the entrance of the museum you will see dozens of sculptures arranged on the hillside. There is a decidedly teeth motif, which is capped off by murals of a tooth fairy on two walls leading to the front door.
The museum’s entrance is actually on the fourth floor, and this is where the cafe, the main art gallery and the gift shop are located.
The third floor is home to an exhibit of over 200 classic cameras, some of which date back to 1910. It also has an international mask display and a kids play area.
Perhaps the most fascinating section of the museum is on the second floor because it is there that you can see the true meaning behind the “ha” or tooth in the museum’s name. Its founder and Takamatsu native, Hiroki Wada, is also the founder of the nationally prominent Wada Precision Dental Laboratories.
This level of the museum details the international history of dental technology, in particular the evolution of dentures and implants. The showstopper is a massive clear cube containing around 5000 used dentures donated by satisfied users from around the country. Estimated to have cost about 3 million dollars all in total, you begin to understand how important they must have been to their owners.
The Ha Art “Heart” Museum is a truly unique place with an eclectic mix of exhibits, a cafe, a great view and friendly staff.
About the Area
Takamatsu City is the commercial center of Shikoku and has a urban feel that is befitting to the title. Its lovely boulevards and well-developed port area create an ambiance that is truly cosmopolitan.
Must-see spots for visitors include, Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu Castle, the central shopping arcade and the port area art installations.
Yakuri Station is the entry point to the Yashima district of Takamatsu City, which is well-known for its temple near the summit of the unique and iconic table top-shaped Mt. Yashima. The vista from the mountain is highly-prized and well worth the effort to get there. However, to best appreciate its entire shape, the view from Sunport Takamatsu Symbol Tower is recommended.
Yashima is notable for its eateries, many of which serve the renowned local specialty, udon noodles.
Access: Take the Marine Liner from JR Okayama Station to JR Takamatsu Station. Walk for about 7 minutes to Kotoden Takamatsu Chikko Station. Take the Nagao Line from Kotoden Chikko Station to Kotoden Kawara-machi Station. Take the Shido Line from Kotoden Kawara-machi Station to Kotoden Yakuri Station.
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