HIMEJI, Japan -- This coastal city in southwestern Japan, famous for its centuries-old castle, lies just to the west of the big commercial hubs of Kobe and Osaka. Himeji is home to some of Japan's most interesting institutions, such as the Japan Toy Museum and the Himeji City Museum of Literature. Here, too, the Mitsuyama Taisai takes place every 20 years at the Itatehyozu Shrine; this colorful festival, last held in 2013, summons the Shinto religion's entire pantheon of deities in a large-scale purification ritual for the entire nation.
Himeji was also the home of Minoru Onoda (1937-2008), one of the younger members of Japan's post-World War II Gutai group of avant-garde modern artists. Now, through June 20, "Minoru Onoda: My Circles," a career-spanning retrospective of the artist's work in various media, is on view at the Himeji City Museum of Art.