The Monkey Mountain Craft Beer brewery is one of those pocket-sized delights that Japan as a whole…
Artegio defies easy classification but this elegant intimate yet eclectic space is a unique expression of Yufuin’s discreet charms. On a rise in the low foothills of Mt. Yufu-dake, Artegio is set apart from the low-key hubbub of Yufuin’s popular main street. Here Japanese modernist and traditional concepts, classical, jazz and avant-garde music, pictorial art and sculpture, tea room, sweet and gift shop are blended into a tranquil ensemble.
Artegio is tucked into the grounds of Sanso Murata, one of Yufuin and Japan’s top-class ryokan inns. An initial unassuming and open approach up a few rustic wrought stone steps quickly transforms into a modern, minimalist atrium; a narrow but soaring passage way. Its long gentle ascent bathed in sunlight streaming through ceiling-high windows provides a simple but stylishly evocative entrance. Within is Artegio’s small exhibition hall, a simply adorned space that is lent an expansive bright aura by its nave-like towering height. Designed by Fukuoka-based architect Toshiaki Tanaka, the gallery houses a collection of 20th Century visual art inspired by music. These included work by Cy Twombly, John Cage, Man Ray, Andy Warhol and Akira Kanayama. The gallery is also reputed to have excellent acoustic qualities, which composer and experimental musician Volker Bertlemann - who is also known by his moniker Hauschka - utilised in making his first live album 2.11.14.
Immediately aside Artegio’s gallery space are thé théo tea room and théomurata chocolatier shop. The former serves light lunches along with its signature hot chocolate drink in surroundings that are a modern echo of late-19th Century, when the Japanese orchestrated contemporary Western design ethics with their own traditional artistic sensibilities. The chocolatier serves some of the finest chocolate found anywhere in Japan. These artisanal cocoa confections satisfy the stomach as much as the eye with their spare yet stylish packaging, a contemporary allusion to Japan’s traditional art of gift wrapping.
At a glance
A beautifully curated eclectic small gallery, tea room and chocolatier.