Learn the calligraphy culture and world

Collection of about 25,000 items including art and cultural works, featuring Chinese calligraphy and paintings

Kampo Museum is a calligraphy museum with the theme of “Learn the calligraphy culture and world,” operated by the Japan Calligraphy Education Foundation to disseminate calligraphy culture. As one of the major museums that introduce calligraphy culture in Japan, Kampo Museum was opened in October 1995. The museum has a collection of as many as 25,000 items, which the late Kampo Harada, the founder of Japanese calligraphy, took more than 30 years to collect. They include calligraphy and paintings in modern China, as well as documents on Chinese calligraphy culture, and are displayed in turns in permanent and special exhibitions.

About Kampo Harada

Kampo Museum was named after the founder of Japanese calligraphy, Kampo Harada (whose real name was Kotaro Harada; Kampo was his pseudonym).
Advocating “proper and beautiful calligraphy of love,” Kampo Harada launched a business to provide correspondence calligraphy courses in 1953. Since then, the business has developed to cover the whole country.
In 1985, the organization operating the business was turned into the Japan Calligraphy Education Foundation, a public-interest corporation, and now runs calligraphy classes across Japan for many people to learn calligraphy by modeling Kampo’s works.

After the death of Kampo Harada in July 1995 at the age of 84, Kampo Museum was opened in October 1995 in Higashiomi-shi (former Gokasho-cho), Shiga to display a large number of cultural and educational materials including calligraphy-related materials that he took 30 years to collect.
Tanpakukeisei Hall
Tablet reading “Summer Villa”
Tablet with poem by the Qianlong Emperor (2nd Floor)

Guide to the Exhibits First Floor, Main Building

The large room is a reproduction of Tanpakukeisei Hall, the “Hall of Simplicity and Sincerity.” This is the main hall in the large complex of Chinese imperial palaces and gardens known as the Mountain Villa; built at the beginning of the Qing Dynasty. In this temporary residential palace, the emperor fulfilled political duties while escaping the summer heat of the capital city. Tanpakukeisei Hall was built for the Kangxi Emperor (r. 1661-1722) and later rebuilt for the Qianlong Emperor (r. 1735-1796). The architecture is a magnificent example of the stately and sophisticated beauty of the Qing Dynasty era. It is also known as Nanboku Hall, a word derived from the wood used in its construction. The original hall was used to hold various official functions, to handle court affairs, and to receive foreign envoys. The doors, decorated ceiling and backrest of the throne are all carved with exceptional craftsmanship and are decorated with auspicious symbols. The framed board hanging behind the screen is an inscription written by the Kangxi Emperor.

Large Rubbings and Stone Drum First Floor, Main Building

At the entrance of the exhibition area, a pair of large lion statues welcome guests. Behind the lions is a giant ink stone. This type of ink stone is excavated exclusively in the region of the Xi River in China. On the back wall is a wooden framed sign for Hishosanso, the Qing emperors’ Mountain Villa. On the next wall is a masterwork painting of “The Old Pine” by Dong Sho Ping, a leading contemporary Chinese brush-and-ink painter. In the large alcove is the Museum’s collection of immense rubbings from Jitaishan Inscription and Shitai Xial Jing (Shitai Book of Filial Piety). There is also an actual size replica of a stone drum engraved in an ancient seal-style script. The atmosphere of the room is further enhanced by additional furniture and other Chinese objects.
Incense burner

Fourth and Fifth Floors

These floors hold special exhibitions that change periodically, displaying selected items from the collections of the Kampo Museum. The Japanese Book and Textbook Collection; assembled by Kampo Harada and spanning the Edo, Meiji, Taisho and Showa periods (17th to 20th centuries); contains about 1,700 “wabon” or oldstyle Japanese books (approx. 5,100 separate volumes), and about 2,400 writing textbooks (approx. 6,000 separate volumes).
Fourth Floor
Fifth Floor
Replicated Steles

Replicated Steles

Displayed here, thanks to the extensive cooperation of the Xian Beilin Museum in China, are actual size replicas of eight stone steles that are of great importance to the history of calligraphy. These huge stone tablets with beautifully carved writing are fascinating and awe-inspiring objects to behold. Visitors are invited to try their hand at stone rubbing. Please inquire at the front desk.
Giant inkstone made of Xi River stone
View of the Main Building from the replicated Chinese courtyard

Courtyard House and Garden

This part of the museum resembles Siheyuan, a classical style of Chinese house. In this style, a central courtyard is surrounded by buildings on all four sides. A traditional garden graces the courtyard. In one corner is a reproduction of an emperor’s writing alcove, the Sanxitang.

Traditional Chinese Writing Alcove, Sanxitang

The Sanxitang is a small study situated in the Hall of Mental Cultivation in the Forbidden City of Beijing (now the National Palace Museum). It was used by the Qianlong Emperor (r. 1735– 1796). This tiny room is only 3.3 square meters (about 35 square feet). “Sanxitang”, Room of the Three Rarities, was named after the fact that three extremely rare and highly respected writings of 4th century scholars came into the hands of the Emperor. In the study, there is a low desk made of rosewood on which writing implements are displayed. Above the desk is a plaque with the word Sanxitang in the handwriting of the Qianlong Emperor.

Western Antiquities

This room showcases a variety of curious items from around the world. There are precious antique music boxes, classic cars, a square piano, French rococo furniture and old maps of the world.
Rococo-style furniture
Antique music box & Antique cars


Facility name
529-1421 136 Gokasho Tatsuta-cho, Higashiomi-shi, Shiga
Parent organization
Japan Calligraphy Education Foundation


Access by train/bus

Get off at JR Notogawa station → Take Ohmi Railway Bus (towards Yokaichi) and get off at Kondo Tatsutaguchi stop → Walk approx. 15 minutes (approx. 25 minutes in total) Get off at Ohmi Railway Gokasho station → Walk 10 minutes

Access by taxi

10 minutes from JR Notogawa station
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