Yoshiya Nobuko Memorial Museum – Kamakura, Japan - Atlas Obscura
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Kamakura, Japan

Yoshiya Nobuko Memorial Museum

The former home of queer novelist Yoshiya Nobuko memorializes her contributions to modern-day manga. 

The Yoshiya Nobuko Memorial Museum preserves the legacy of a trail-blazing writer from the early 20th century.

Just a 10-minute walk away from the Kamakura Literary Museum lies the former house of one of Japan’s most celebrated and prolific novelists. Nobuko Yoshiya was a pioneer of Japanese lesbian literature and wrote prolifically about intense emotional relationships between young girls. She built this house in Kamakura for her and her lifelong partner, Monma Chiyo, and there they entertained numerous other female artists and writers.

After Yoshiya died in 1973, her house was converted into a museum containing memorabilia from her life. Most rooms were preserved just as she left them, with Yoshiya’s own original furniture and artwork. The museum also contains handwritten manuscripts of her work and a gallery of photos from her life. And the house itself is beautiful, with maple and elm trees cresting a tranquil garden that serves as an oasis from the bustle of the city. 

If you want to make another stop in Kamakura, Yoshiya’s grave can be found at the town’s temple of Kōtoku-in. It’s also near the Daibutsu of Kamakura, an enormous bronze representation of the Amida Buddha.

Know Before You Go

The museum is only open on select days during the year: every Saturday in April, May, June, October, and November; every Sunday in May and June; the 1 through 3 of May, June, October, and November; as well as Golden Week, which lasts from April 29 through May 5. Entry is free.

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