Momogusa is a haven for Minimalists. I first came across the gallery 3 years ago, trawling the internet for design inspiration for our upcoming buying trip later in the year. Learning that is was not too far from one of our regular stops in Gifu-ken, I convinced our agent, Katoh-san, to make a slight detour one afternoon so we could pay the gallery a visit.
The road to Momogusa is inconspicuous and narrow, winding between a hill of lush greenery and a shallow river littered with granite boulders. Up a short but steep hill, you pass through a suburb much like any other you would see in this part of Japan - a slap dash mixture of manicured gardens and corrugated iron store houses, with the only real oddity being a forgotten collection of Volkswagen beetles rusting away in the Japanese weather. A little further along you cross a small bridge and eventually you'll be met with a series of beautifully renovated Showa-era (1927-1988) buildings, partially obscured by gardens and the surrounding forest.
The first floor is home to a small cafe and gallery space with exhibitions changing monthly under the direction of the owner and artist, Masanobu Ando. This is a place to interface with the art more personally - the work is displayed in rooms with traditional tatami and earth floors, as opposed to an artificially lit white cube, so commonplace in modern galleries.
"Momogusa is an exercise in thoughtful simplicity"
The second floor acts as a showroom for Ando's studio creations - monochromatic expressions of function and refined beauty. Surrounded by these stunning forms you have very little options other than to move very slowly and admire each and every piece.
Every aspect of Momogusa is an exercise in thoughtful simplicity. The cafe’s menu is hand-written and does not read to impress. Rather, the food relies on the freshness of its ingredients and the considered combinations of flavours to prove its quality.
The gallery’s staff are informed and attentive but never overbearing, allowing you to experience the space in a relaxed, meditative way. The atmosphere does not feel stuffy but instead weighted in a way that makes the silence more focused.
That first time I visited Momogusa, time felt so rushed that I bought a small keep-sake and waved goodbye to this Minimalists’ paradise, not knowing when I would be back. Who'd have thought that in 3 years time I would be living down the road and the visits would be plentiful.
Planning a Visit?
2 Chome-8-16 Toeicho, Tajimi,
Gifu Prefecture 507-0013, Japan
Phone +81 572-21-3368