This last week, I just learned of another museum in Japan that might be of interest. It’s not a large museum, and for most people, it probably wouldn’t make for an important destination. But, for a ship modeler interested in traditional Japanese watercraft, particularly ones of the larger variety, this one has something of special interest.
The museum apparently consists of a lobby entrance with some exhibition areas that surround a large courtyard. There is one main level and a smaller exhibition space upstairs. But, it is on the main level that there is a collection of what I believe are eight 1/10-scale models of sailing ships from Japanese history.
Among these are a few bezaisen, or coastal transports, a later period ship that, from photos I’ve seen, appears to be a schooner, a pair of Edo period warships and a pair of gozabune.
The warships are a large atakebune and the smaller sekibune. I don’t have any specific information about the gozabune, but those are what I’m really interested at the moment since I’m building my 1/32-scale kobaya model. By the way, though my model is of a gozabune too, it is essentially a converted warship, and if you didn’t know, the kobaya is the smallest class of warship.
I discovered the museum through my friend Mr. Sekiguchi, who sent me the following photo he took at the museum showing one of the gozabune models.
He explained that the models were built by the late Mr. Y. Kondo of Shizuoka. They were apparently painted with Japanese urushi lacquer, which is the reason the photo was sent to me, as I was considering trying to use urushi on my kobaya model.
Given that the museum is located in Shizuoka prefecture, I decided to ask my friend at Woody Joe about the place, as the model kit manufacturer is located a short distance to the south. She then sent me another photo of the same model and gave me the following link to the museum’s website (Japanese language only):
If you happen to be in the area, the museum is open every day except Mondays from 9:30am to 4:30pm.
Address is: 2-8-11 Minatomachi Shimizu-ku, Shizuoka city
Note that in Japanese, the museum is called フェルケール博物館 or Verkehr Hakubutsukan (Verkehr is actually a German word meaning “traffic”).
Next trip to Japan, which I hope won’t be too long from now, I will try to pay the place a visit, particularly since Woody Joe isn’t all that far away. The models look very interesting and maybe I can learn something from a good examination of them. If anyone manages to visit the place, please let me know what you think. Ω