Kondo Museum | Mamiya Shinichi Design Studio

| 14 : 00 – 8 April 2018 |


Dedicated to renowned master of Japanese ceramics – Yuzo Kondo, the Kondo Museum was recently renovated by Mamiya Shinichi Design Studio.

Situated in ancient city of Kyoto, the memorial museum houses traditional blue and white ceramic works of the Yuzo and his next three descendants. Bamboo, stone, traditional Japanese paper, and plaster has been used effectively through out the museum. Using appropriate lighting techniques and display design, the renovated Kondo museum by Architect Shinichi Mamiya seeks to emphasize importance of local art and culture for generations to come. The eye-catching facade features his one his most famous work piece as a par of its window display with a striking yellow entrance door.

Window display showing the artists masterpiece

From the architect – 

Kondo Museum, situated near the main gate of Kyoto’s Kiyomizu-dera Temple, by the Chawan-zaka approach to the temple. It is believed that the ancient city of Kyoto is guarded by four mythological creatures in four separate quarters. The area surrounding the temple, is called Higashiyama district. This eastern region of Kyoto has long been known as a holy place of pristine water under the reign of Seiryu, the azure dragon and guardian of the city’s east.

In this sacred area, a traditional local craft, known as Kiyomizu ceramics has continued to evolve since the Edo period. This museum was originally established in commemoration of Yuzo Kondo, the renowned master of Kiyomizu ceramics. Our project was to refurbish this memorial museum.

Blue and white ceramics

Blue and white ceramic works

The memorial museum was reborn as Kondo Museum, featuring several major ceramic works crafted by Yuzo Kondo, Living National Treasure in the field of blue and white ceramics. Aside from Yuzo’s works, Kondo Museum features the work of three of his descendants. His eldest son Yutaka Kondo, his second son Jun Kondo, and his grandson Takahiro Kondo, who have received international acclaim for his artwork.

Artist work area

Artist photographs at display

Museum sections – 

This museum comprises four sections as follows:

  1. The entrance window in which Yuzo’s masterpiece, the grand ceramic plate decorated with a drawing of a Japanese apricot is displayed. Although this piece was previously rarely on display to the public, now anyone can appreciate this work of art while passing.
  2. The exhibition area features work by each of Kondo family’s four members: Yuzo, Yutaka, Jun, and Takahiro. The lively style of Yuzo’s blue and white ceramics known as Kondo Sometsuke became the family’s creative standard. The same  has been carried on and further refined by his descendants.
  3. Yuzo’s original workshop built in 1924, in which his valued materials are preserved. A variety of sake cups that he crafted for pleasure are also exhibited.
  4. The newly built area, hosting the Museum bar, Ryusui. Next to the exhibition area, Ryusui offers a selection of sake, as Kiyomizu is known as the place of pristine water. By providing a sake-tasting experience, Ryusui brings all visitors a profound opportunity to feel and learn more about the history of Kiyomizu through both art appreciation and sake savoring.

Bright yellow door entrance

Entrance to the museum

Museum Interiors – 

The interior atmosphere of the museum is produced using various tints of dark gray and dim lighting. On the walls, ceiling, and floor, the feel of each material, such as bamboo, stone, traditional Japanese paper, and plaster is effectively accentuated. In addition to displaying each work, we aimed to create a space to experience these art pieces in the context of local history and culture.

Artworks at the entrance


Exhibit design in dim light and grey interiors

Dim lighting and grey interiors

The main feature of museum is flat artwork having width of seven meters, created by Takahiro Kondo using his signature technique, silver mist over-glaze. This striking art piece stands out in this dimly lit place, producing the feel and shimmer of water, with its strong cultural ties to Kiyomizu. The ability to express the characteristics of water in this world of ceramics makes this an extraordinary museum experience.

Japanese bar at Kondo Museum

Sake-tasting experience at Ryusui


Museum bar, Ryusui

Museum Bar area – Ryusui

We hope that this museum will become a new attraction among the bustle of the Chawan-zaka approach as well as a landmark in the culture of ceramics.

Ceramic work



Ceramic exhibit in Kondo Musuem

Sake bowls/cups at display

Project details –


Project Name – Kondo Museum

Architect  – Mamiya Shinichi Design Studio Co., Ltd. | www.m-s-ds.com

Lead Architects – Shinichi Mamiya + Fukushima Takuya

Project location – 1-287 Kiyomizu Shinmachi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto Pref. , Japan

Project type – Memorial, Museum, Bar, Renovation

Completion Year – 2017

Built up Area – 89.35 m2

Photography Credits – © Yasuko Okamura, © Hiroshi Tanigawa

Structure – Steel

Consultants –

Lighting design – EOS plus

Graphic design – Issei Kitagawa (GRAPH)

Japanese PaperWataru Hatano

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