To commemorate 120 years (a grand age known as Dai Kanreki) since the building of Dōgo Onsen Honkan,
an art festival commenced at Dōgo Onsen in 2014.
Since then, Dōgo has attracted many more tourists and citizens, appealing a new Dōgo Onsen not only within Japan,
but to the world, by bringing in art to a local resource, Japan’s oldest hot springs.
In 2016, Dōgo Art is going strong, welcoming Akira Yamaguchi as the main artist.
His second series of works is set up to give Dōgo even more appeal,
with the unique and overwhelming presence of his works blended into the town.
At the entrance of Dōgo Onsen arcade connecting Dōgo Onsen Station with Dōgo Onsen Honkan, guests are welcomed by this gate. It is decorated with seven sizes of lanterns that are lit up at night. It gives rhythm to the scenery, as though the varying lanterns are playing a melody. Not only that, it gives you the feeling of entering into a different world, as it leads you to the Dōgo Onsen Honkan.
The gate gets its name from the wish to “ring in” (suzunari) people to the shopping arcade to make it lively.
This is a utility pole about 10 meters in height, installed in front of Shinrotei.
When building this utility pole, the idea was for it to become a “Kaname” or essential place that, passing through it, would give a different view or way of seeing things, just like the flow between Dōgo Onsen Honkan and Shōninzaka or Yu-jinjya did.
It is decorated with detail, such as the square transformers and signs that have green and blue roofs just like Dōgo Onsen Honkan.
Miharashi-goya is a stairway-like lookout part way up Kanmuri-yama on the south side of Dōgo Onsen Honkan.
Like Kaname-denchū, the pavilion with the green roof helps to visualize how the area spreads out from Dōgo Onsen Honkan.
Take a break as you sit on a bench or lean on a handrail and enjoy the view of Dōgo below.
This year marks the 100th year since the great writer Natsume Sōseki passed away, and 110 years since his novel Botchan was published.
Just like the outsider Natsume Sōseki, wrote Botchan with irony and humor, Yamaguchi also illustrates Dōgo from the view of an outsider.
In this work, Yamaguchi introduces Dōgo with his own drawings of ten places that got his attention while going through the town, with comments reminiscent of Natsume Sōseki.
Yamaguchi guides you to what he calls his “shiteki meisho,” or personally famous and unique places.
Duration: early May 2016 ~
Vendors: Shops along Dōgo Shopping Arcade and Hotels/Inns in Dōgo (200 yen including tax).
Not only paintings, but also the free use of three-dimensional or architectural techniques and installation mix
with each visitor’s memory of a familiar town and emerge as mysterious figures.
These are the types of works popping up here and there throughout the city.
Through these works, the beholder travels back and forth through time and space between the past, present, and future,
wandering into a strange world that is somewhat nostalgic and somehow strange.
Artistic works scheduled to be increased in number gradually throughout the festival period.
Organizer: Dōgo Art Executive Committee
Born in Tokyo in 1969, Yamaguchi was raised in the city of Kiryū, Gunma Prefecture. He graduated with a master's in oil painting from the Graduate School of Fine Arts at the Tokyo University of the Arts in 1996. Yamaguchi won the 12th Kobayashi Hideo Prize for his 2013 book, Henna Nihon bijutsushi ('A Strange History of Japanese Art;' published by Shodensha). In addition to his famed bird's eye views of cities and battles, Yamaguchi utilizes diverse modes of expression, including sculptures, manga comics, and installations. Yamaguchi engages in a wide array of creative activities, such as public art projects for Narita International Airport and Nishi-Waseda Station on the Fukutoshin Line.