The only Japanese museum in the Middle East is located in Haifa and is called the Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art.

The museum offers a true look at the historical culture of Japan and was founded by a Holocaust survivor who stashed his collection of Japanese antiques in Holland during the war. The Tikotin museum is a home away from home for everything Japanese, from the razor-sharp samurai swords that governed Japan with razor-sharp accuracy to the meticulously built fans that permeate much of Japan’s tranquil culture.

The Tikotin museum is perched on the summit of Haifa’s Mount Carmel, above the Bahai Gardens’ main entrance. It is easily accessible from several of the city’s hotels and close to other Haifa attractions including the Louis Promenade and the Haifa Zoo. For visitors taking public transit, the museum is a short distance from the last and highest stop of the Carmelit subterranean railway. The Tikotin Museum also has a free, once-weekly open library of Japanese texts; it is essential to contact ahead to confirm the hours and availability.


From the initial beginning by a Holocaust survivor to the engagement of Haifa’s municipal council and subsequently, ambassadors from Japan itself, the history of the Tikotin museum is remarkable in and of itself. The museum, which was founded by Felix Tikotin, is a real-life success story of conserving culture for future generations to enjoy. Felix, who was born in Holland in 1893, studied to be an architect. He gathered a sizable and priceless collection of Japanese artwork and antiques during his free time. His collection, which included exceptional and rare pieces of art from the tiny Pacific island of Japan, was frequently displayed in museums. Everything changed when World War II broke out.

Due to his forced exodus, Felix had no choice but to conceal his magnificent collection in Holland. He returned after the war, regained his collection of priceless Japanese artifacts, and wanted to exhibit them in Israel. He met with Abba Khoushy, the mayor of Haifa, and with his assistance, he started making preparations to build the museum in Haifa. Felix then on the road and traveled from nation to nation recruiting advisers and supporters for his museum. Prestigious Japanese academics, spiritualists, and museum directors made up his committee, including Mr. Nagatake Asano, Professor Chisaburoh Yamada, and Victor M. A. Suzuki.

The museum where it is presently was created by Felix in 1959. It is a distinctive structure that incorporates Japanese design, including the recognizable shji screen inner doors and walls, which are made of translucent paper over a frame of wood. Donors started making contributions, and after years of extensions, upgrades, and formal occasions, the museum today has an outstanding collection of 7,000 items, including swords, fans, pottery, paintings, and much more. More than merely realized was Felix’s vision of a center for the study of Japanese culture and fine arts. His daughter is still the executive director now, carrying on his legacy of preserving Japanese culture.

Since the museum’s reopening in December 1995, there have been about 145 new exhibits, the majority of which were curated by the chief curator, Dr. Ilana Singer Blaine. She has received awards from the Japanese minister of foreign affairs (2014), the minister of science and culture (2007), and the Japanese emperor decoration “The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Rosette,” which was given by the country’s prime minister of Japan (2021). The Japan Foundation Special Award, given yearly to organizations that significantly contribute to cultural relations with Japan, was given to the museum in 2000.


Sun – Thurs: 10am-4pm
Sat and Holidays: 10am-3pm
Friday: 10am-1pm


Adult: NIS 30
Child: NIS 20

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