Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art is one of the lesser known attractions in Haifa. And though it is not a big museum, we enjoyed our visit a lot. So let’s begin the tour!
Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art is located at 89 HaNassi Avenue, Haifa.
Map of the area:
How To Get There
You can reach the Tikotin museum by a variety of buses depending on your starting point. Here is a preset Moovit, where you can get the suggested route. If you are in Haifa downtown, then you can take the Carmelit, Haifa’s underground funicular railway, to the Carmelite station, and walk from there.
The museum does not have parking for visitors. Moreover, as I continued driving the street and saw Dan Carmel Hotel’s paid parking, I entered the parking lot, but they did not have parking spaces. A little further ahead, at Sderot HaNassi 57 we saw a turn right and found free public parking there. That public parking also has an entry and an exit to Yefe Nof 46, which is close to Bahai Gardens viewing balcony.
Tikotin Museum Of Japanese Art is part of six Haifa Museums. Thus, you can buy either a combined ticket or only to the Tikotin Museum. Here is a screenshot from the official site.
Currently, there are discounts for Mizrachi Tfahot card members and American Express customers. But, they are changing over time. Thus I would suggest searching the web for discounts and coupons before your visit.
Sunday – Thursday: 10:00 a.m. – 07:00 p.m.
Fridays: 10:00 a.m. – 01:00 p.m.
Saturdays: 10:00 a.m. – 07:00 p.m.
Before rushing to the museum, there are two things that you should keep in mind. First of all, exhibitions change from time to time. And when they prepare new displays, the museum is closed. Secondly, opening hours can also vary, thus check the official site before your visit.
Note: currently the museum is temporarily closed due to Exhibitions installation, until February 23, 2019.
Felix Tikotin, an architect by profession, was an internationally renowned collector and dealer in Japanese works of art. For more than forty years he amassed his valuable and rare collection and organized exhibitions of Japanese art in many museums. During the Second World War, because he was Jewish, Felix Tikotin fled from the Nazis. He hid his collection in the Netherlands to prevent it from falling into their hands. After the war, Tikotin decided that his unique collection should be taken to Israel, and in 1956 he came to Israel and donated the collection to one of Israel’s museums. During a visit to Haifa, he met Mayor Abba Hushi and decided that the collection should remain in Haifa and that he would build a pavilion specifically for exhibiting it here.
Tikotin traveled to the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, France, England, and Japan to organize support for his idea. He engaged the help of museum directors such as Nagatake Asano (1895–1965); academics such as Chisaburoh Yamada (1908–1984) of the Tokyo University of the Arts, who was also chosen to be the first Director of the Japanese Museum in Haifa; spiritual leaders such as Victor M. A. Suzuki, son of the famous Zen philosopher, and others. During the years 1966-1992 the museum was directed by Eli Lancman, who received a prize from the Japanese government in 2001.
The Creation Of The Museum
At a meeting of the Haifa Municipality on May 18, 1958, it was decided to acquire the “Kisch House” and its surrounding land. Brigadier Frederick Kisch, Chairman of the Zionist Workers’ Committee in Israel and Head of the State Department from 1923 to 1931, built the house. He lived in the house from 1934 to 1939. Kisch, who commanded the Engineering Brigade of the British Eighth Army, fell in battle during the North African Campaign in April 1943. The Kisch House is still the home of the offices of the Museum, the library, the creativity workshops, and a Japanese room. The library – the largest of its kind in Israel – comprises some 3,000 books and publications relating to Japanese art and culture.
In February 1959 plans were approved for a Japanese pavilion, and construction began on the exhibition hall following the ideas and plans of Felix Tikotin, supervised by the architect M. Lev. The exhibition hall was designed in the Japanese spirit. It is spacious, and has sliding doors of paper leading to the garden, conveying a Japanese atmosphere. On May 25, 1960, the Japanese Museum was opened to the public with an exhibition of works from the donor’s collection. Following Tikotin’s wishes, a Board of Trustees of the Museum was set up, headed today by his daughter, Ilana Drukker-Tikotin.
Source: the two quotes above were taken from Wikipedia.
Collection and Exhibitions
The museum has made it its golden rule to make traditional and contemporary Japanese Art accessible to art lovers and the general public. The museum’s collection displays over seven thousand Japanese art items, including paintings, prints, sketches, painted screens, textiles, decorated antique books, ceramics, miniature sculptures (Netsuke), lacquer and metal work, antique swords, and functional art. Most of the items on display date back to the 14th through the 19th century. Moreover, the museum also holds a collection of modern Japanese art. Throughout the years, the museum’s collection has vastly expanded as new collections were donated to the museum: L.B. Guttmann Collection, D. Labov Collection from New York, and A. Horodish from Amsterdam.
The museum’s exhibitions change every three months and focus on diverse elements of the Japanese culture while offering a wide-ranging glimpse into the luxurious fabrics of this both traditional and modern art. Illustrated catalogs and texts also accompany many exhibitions.
The museum also has an educational team, which helps spread Japanese culture and its uniqueness. The classes in the “Kisch House” offer art workshops designated for kindergarteners, school students, university students, teachers, and a wide variety of groups. Moreover, it also offers classes on Japan’s culture, including the Japanese language, calligraphy, and ink wash painting, the Japanese flower arrangement Ikebana, Japanese cookery, and classes for children on Japanese culture. As part of the warm relations with the Japanese people, once a year the museum celebrates Japan day in cooperation with the Japanese embassy in Israel. A colorful and celebratory atmosphere enfolds this festive day and makes it possible for the general public to experience a unique encounter with the Japanese culture, tradition, and spirit.
Note: unless stated otherwise, all quotes were taken from the official site.
Educational And Children Activities
Tikotin Museum Of Japanese Art offers a variety of activities. We visited the museum on a Friday morning during Sukkot, and there was a holiday activity for kids. My daughter enjoyed about one hour workshop where they prepared decorations in Japanese style for Sukkah. Here is what they created:
Each ball represented a season of the year and was decorated accordingly. It was a delightful and not too expensive (AFAIR 20 NIS) workshop.
The museum offers a range of tours in different languages. We joined guided tours in Hebrew and Russian. These tours are free to participate once you purchase entrance tickets. I do not see a timetable on the site, but once we entered the museum, the cashier told us about the next tour. If you are interested in joining one of the tours, which I highly recommend, then you can fill up the contact form at the official site.
At The Museum
While my daughter was at the workshop, I joined the Hebrew tour at the museum. But I attended only the first 15 minutes as the workshop was about to end. Afterward, we both joined the tour in Russian. In both cases, the guides were friendly and shared a lot of knowledge. We saw only Japanese pottery and porcelain exhibition and learned many interesting things. I said “only” since the other two presentations were removed due to moisture problems in the building. Thus, it is a good idea to call the museum in advance and verify what exhibitions are currently on display and what tours are available.
Note: usually, my posts have many photos. But you are not allowed to photograph inside the Tikotin museum.
Since the Tikotin Museum is not a vast one, you can combine it with other nearby attractions for a half or even a full day getaway. If you are visiting with children or love animals, then Haifa Educational Zoo is a short walk from here. You can also walk along Louis Promenade at Yafe Nof street and get a spectacular view of Bahai Gardens and Haifa.
We spend about two and a half hours in the museum. But, if you will not be attending workshops, then a typical visit will take 1 – 2 hours. Both my daughter and I enjoyed the visit as we learned something new and participated in a nice children activity. If you love art or learning new things, then I would recommend visiting the Tikotin museum. Moreover, join a tour and it will upgrade your visit.
And my last tip would be combining the visit with nearby attractions for a pleasant half day experience.
Have you ever been to Tikotin Museum Of Japanese Art? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.
That’s all for today, and I’ll see you in future travels!